Tim Essenburg

Job Title

  • Professor of Economics Emeritus
    Economics College of Arts and Sciences


Teaching and scholarly interests in macroeconomics, urban community revitalization, socioeconomic inequality, and reconciliation in a racialized society.

Started at Bethel



  • Covenant College - B.A. in Economics & Finance, 1983
  • University of Tennessee - M.A., 1986
  • University of Tennessee - Ph.D. in Economics, 1991


Tim is Professor of Economics and has keen interests in

  • the revitalization of central city neighborhoods, demonstrated in his commitment to research and teaching, but also in his personal life-he and his family have lived in the East Phillips Neighborhood of south Minneapolis for 26 years. He co-authored [2014] a two-volume set titled The New Faces of American Poverty: A Reference Guide to the Great Recession. After his spring 1997 sabbatical (during which he studied five community development corporations-one in Minneapolis, one in Chicago, one in Atlanta and two in Jackson, MS) he developed and has taught "Redevelopment of Central City Neighborhoods." He is the co-founder of and scholar in resident at the Banyan Community, a community development organization in the East Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis.
  • understanding and challenging our racilized society. For 25 years he has team-taught, for 18 years with Karen McKinney, "Reconciliation in a Racialized Society" and has joined her in facilitating Anti-Racism workshops for Bethel, local churches, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Service. Twenty-seven years ago Tim began a concerted engagement with race, socioeconomic class and culture and considers himself to be a different and better person today for the journey. He welcomes learning, organizing, and action that lead to greater primary justice-the upholding of the human dignity of each person and the groups to which they belong according to the best values and capabilities of a society.
  • a thoughtful and critical understanding of the ever changing macro economy (money, entrepreneurial, market economy) in which we live

Courses Taught

  • ECO201-Principles of Economics
  • ECO225L-Redevelopment of Central City Neighborhoods
  • ECO302-Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECO499-Senior Seminar
  • GES450P-Reconciliation in a Racialized Society


  • Movement of Hope Award-Living Out Faith as a Neighbor 2013. (with Joani Essenburg). Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
  • Faculty Excellence in Service Award 2004. Bethel University.




  • New Faces of American Poverty: A Reference Guide to the Great Recession. With Lindsey Hansen (Bethel alumna 2006). Two-volume reference book. ABC-Clio Greenwood Press. 2014.
  • "Investing the Church's Social Capital in the Welfare Reform Economy." Faith & Economics. Spring 2001. pp. 24-30.
  • "Urban Community Development: an Examination of the Perkins Model." Review of Social Economy, LVIII (2). June 2000. pp. 197-223.


Works in Progress

  • Killing Me Softly: Dying to Race, Class and Culture and Living for Shalom. Outline calls for 10 chapters-four have good drafts; two have good starts; three have outlines; 1 chapter yet to be outlined. No publisher secured.


Working/White Papers

  • "Situating the Social Science of Economics." 2014.

  • "A Philosophy of a Christian Liberal Arts Education and Some Implications of It." 2013.

  • " "The "Scientification' of Economic Choices: A Story of Political Economy (favoring Market Economies), Utility, Preferences, and Rationality." 2011 (updated 2014).


  • "The Challenges of Socio-Economic Mobility," a panelist (with Ed Goetz-Director, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and Myron Orfield-Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law, Humphrey School of Law; Director, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity) and moderated by Adam Belz, Star Tribune, Business and Economy reporter, Hey Banyan! event, Banyan Community. Minneapolis. March 7, 2017

  • "The Role of Collective Efficacy in Community Development." Deloitte. Minneapolis. September 14, 2016.

  • "Lessons Learned from My Ivory Tower and Our Neighborhood." SOCI470-Inequality and Urban Life. Rice University. Houston, TX. April 5, 2013.

  • "Reconciliation at Bethel University College of Arts & Sciences." Not Yet Ready for Prime Time. Co-sponsored by Faculty Development and Friends of the Bethel University Library. Bethel University. April 5, 2012.

  • Anti-Racism workshop (with Karen McKinney) for managers and/or leadership team members. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. November 8 and 20, 2017; February 15, 17 and 24, 2017; October 30, 2015; May 31 and June 1, 2012; March 17, 2011; December 2 and 4, 2009; April 9 and 10, 2008

  • "Faith-Based Organizations." Public Affairs 8203. Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies & Theories. Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. University of Minnesota. Fall 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

  • "A Call to Service: Economics, a Reformed Worldview, and Nouwen's Cup." Excellence in Service Award, Faculty Retreat, North Heights Lutheran Church and Bethel Seminary. August 25 and 26. 2004.

  • "Conceptualizing Racial Conflict in Minneapolis: Some Preliminary Thoughts to the 'Black and Blue" Discussion." University of Minnesota, Walter Mondale School of Law. The National Lawyers Guild. "Black and Blue: Beyond Conflict & Toward Healing a City's Wounds." November 4-7, 2002.

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Boards


  • American Economic Association, 1987 - present.
  • Association of Christian Economists 1990 - present.

Hobbies and Interests

Watching futbol and basketball at East Phillips Park.

Areas of expertise

The redevelopment of central city neighborhoods; publications include "Investing the Church's Social Capital in the Economy of Welfare.


I go by "Essenburg," orient my life towards shalom, and encourage critical thinking which leads to behaviors and feelings more congruent within Christian life!