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Judith Tiersma Watson

Senior Associate Professor of Urban Mission

BA, Westmont College
MA, PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary

Courses Taught

MM500: Spirituality and Mission

MM568: Self-Care in Mission

MN520: Encountering the City

MN534/634: Complex Urban Environments

MN536: Urban Immersion: Transforming the City

MN540: Urban Church Planting

SP500: Spiritual Traditions and Practices

Campus Affiliations

Areas of Expertise

Urban mission and contemplation, self-care and member care for urban workers, spirituality and mission, healing paths for urban youth

“The problem with a lot of us is that we spend so much time learning about all the things that are happening in the world—we spend a lot more time there than in the Bible. So what does it mean to listen to God not just at Saint Andrew’s Monastery, but also in MacArthur Park or walking down Alvarado Street?”


Dr. Tiersma Watson, reflecting on the value of silence in urban contexts, in a video reflection available here.


Judith (“Jude”) Tiersma Watson is Senior associate professor of urban mission in the School of Intercultural Studies. Born in the Netherlands, Tiersma Watson immigrated with her family to the United States as a child. After college, she taught fifth grade to the children of migrant farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley for three years, followed by five years in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Katmandu, Nepal. As a missionary with Dilaram House Ministries (a division of Youth with a Mission), she was active in discipleship, counseling, and rehabilitation through Dilaram’s intentional communities.

After returning from overseas and completing her MA in Intercultural Studies in 1988, Tiersma Watson moved to the Westlake/Pico Union Neighborhood of Los Angeles, sharing life with recent immigrants from Central America and Mexico. Since 1992, she has been a member of InnerCHANGE, a division of Novo. Tiersma Watson and her husband, John Watson, are elders with InnerCHANGE and share a passion for loving and mentoring neighborhood youth and young adults. Her current roles include staff care and formation as she desires to see missional workers thrive.

Tiersma Watson deeply desires her students to experience the joy, as well as the suffering, in the city—to “see the flowers in the sidewalk”—and her classes reflect this passion. In 1994 she coedited the book God So Loves the City with Professor Chuck Van Engen. Tiersma Watson serves on the executive committee for the Fuller Youth Institute and recently completed a self-care tool for urban youth workers, “Sabbath Rest in a 24/7 City.”

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