Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry
Princeton, NJ
April 23-26, 2013


Lynn Barger Elliott serves as the instructor for youth ministry at Calvin College and a lead consultant for Youth Ministry Architects. Lynn has over 20 years of youth ministry experience in churches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and Illinois. A graduate of Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary, she currently lives with her husband, Mark, and kids, Brendan, Auden and Halley in Grand Rapids, MI. Faculty


Reginald Blount serves on the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as assistant professor of formation, youth and culture and is pastor of Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church in Chicago, Illinois. Reggie also served as director of Faith Passage, a yearlong spiritual and leadership development program for high school students at Garrett-Evangelical and as dean of the Youth Theology Institute (YTI) summer academy at Candler School of Theology, 1997-1999. He is a contributing author for Making God Real for a Next Generation: Ministry with Millennials Born from 1982 to 1999 (Discipleship Resources, 2003). Theologian-in-Residence


Benjamin Conner has worked with youth for twenty years and currently runs a ministry to adolescents with developmental disabilities in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has taught courses at Union Presbyterian Seminary and at Memphis Theological Seminary through the Center for Youth Ministry Training in the areas of Church History, Christian Education and Mission and is the author of two books: Practicing Witness: A Missional Vision of Christian Practices (Eerdmans) and Amplifying Our Witness: Giving Voice to Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities (Eerdmans). Faculty


Conor Cunningham teaches in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and is co-director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. For 2012-13 Conor is serving as a research fellow at the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ. He is one of a team of fourteen theologians and scientists at CTI for their Inquiry on Evolution and Human Nature. Conor read Law, Philosophy, and then Theology. His most recent publication is Darwin's Pious Idea, a prize-winning monograph on evolution. Conor also wrote and presented Did Darwin Kill God?, a multi award-winning BBC 2 documentary.Theologian in Residence


Dharius Daniels is senior pastor and founder of Kingdom Church in Ewing, New Jersey, a vibrant ministry that impacts people of all ages, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. Kingdom Church was founded in August of 2005 and has grown into a vibrant congregation of several thousand members. He is also the president and founder of the Kingdom Community Development Corporation, an institute that directly addresses literacy, poverty and poor health, and the Kingdom Mentorship Network. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Millsaps College and a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is married to Shameka Daniels and they are the proud parents of two sons Dharius Seth and Gabriel Micah Daniels. Preacher


Mark DeVries is the founder of Youth Ministry Architects (2002) and Children’s Ministry Architects (2010), a hands-on coaching service whose ministries are in (intentional or unexpected) transition. YMA also works with churches that hope to see any of their ministries move to strategically forward. Mark is the author of Sustainable Youth Ministry and Family-Based Youth Ministry. Since 1986, Mark has served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis. Faculty


Elizabeth Drescher is a scholar, researcher, and writer. She is a faculty member in religious studies and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University. Her recent research and writing has focused on the spiritual and pastoral implications of the increasing integration of digital social media in everyday life. Her research on the prayer practices of religious “nones” will find its way into her latest book project, Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of Religious Nones (Oxford University Press, 2013). Learn more at and follow her on Twitter @edrescherphd. Lecturer


Robert C. Dykstra is the Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Bob’s academic interests include pastoral care and counseling, psychoanalytic theory, developmental psychology, contemporary issues impacting children and adolescents, human sexuality, pastoral preaching, and the integration of biblical and theological precepts with research in the human sciences. His publications include The Faith and Friendships of Teenage Boys (Westminster John Knox Press, 2012), with Allan Hugh Cole Jr. and Donald Capps; Losers, Loners, and Rebels: The Spiritual Struggles of BoysFaculty


Tara Lamont Eastman is the director of youth and family ministry at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown, NY. She teaches art and music in after school programs, small groups and retreat settings. Tara will complete Princeton Theological Seminary's Certificate in Youth and Theology program in January 2013 and is currently enrolled with Wartburg Seminary, focusing on Emerging/Arts Ministry and Mission. She will earn a M.Div. to serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America as an ordained minister. She was a contributing author for the Connect Bible, published by Sparkhouse. She lives in Southwestern NY with her husband: Ian, daughter: Heather 19, son: Nigel 16 and dog: Aggie. Faculty and Artist


Beverly Roberts Gaventa is the Helen H. P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary and Extraordinary Professor of New Testament at Stellenbosch University. Her scholarship and teaching focus on the Pauline epistles and Luke-Acts with an emphasis on theological interpretation. In addition to numerous articles, reviews, and lectionary resources, Dr. Gaventa has written Our Mother Saint Paul (Westminster John Knox, 2007), The Acts of the Apostles (Abingdon, 2003) and I and II Thessalonians (Westminster John Know, 1998). Beverly is currently working on a commentary on Romans. Theologian-in-Residence


Christy Lang Hearlson is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a third-year doctoral student in practical theology in the Christian education and formation program at Princeton Theological Seminary. She previously served The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, and she also worked as a youth director at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA. Christy has extensive experience in writing curriculum and working with children and youth. She is married to Adam Hearlson, who works in the field of homiletics. Faculty


John Roberto is president of LifelongFaith Associates, editor of the journal Lifelong Faith, and coordinator for the Faith Formation 2020 Initiative. John also works on the Vibrant Faith Ministries team as project coordinator of the Faith Formation Learning Exchange. John works as a consultant to churches and national organizations, teaches courses and conducts workshops in faith formation, and has authored books and program manuals in youth ministry, family ministry, and intergenerational faith formation. John is the founder and was director of the Center for Ministry Development, where he worked for 28 years. Theologian-in-Residence


Andrew Root is the Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. He is the author of a new four book series with Zondervan called A Theological Journey Through Youth Ministry (titles include Taking Theology to Youth Ministry, Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry, Unpacking Scripture in Youth Ministry, and Unlocking Mission and Eschatology in Youth Ministry). Andy has worked in congregations, parachurch ministries, and social service programs. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Kara, two children, Owen and Maisy. When not reading, writing, or teaching, Andy spends far too much time watching TV and movies. Theologian-in-Residence


Nicholas M. Shepherd is CEO and Team Leader for CYM – the Centre for Youth Ministry. CYM provides theological education and professional training for Christians working with children and young people and produces resources and research to support this work. Nick holds a PhD from King’s College London, where he undertook research into young people’s participation in youth ministry. A former Youth for Christ staff worker, Nick has been involved in youth ministry for over twenty years. He is the former editor of the Journal of Youth and Theology. Nick is married to Bridget and lives in South London. Lecturer


Olivia Stewart Robertson is director for the worship-based program Young Children and Worship. She travels the country leading workshops, bringing this joyful way of worshiping with children into churches, schools, and homes. She graduated from Hope College in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also served as Director for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Pottstown, PA. Olivia enjoys the laughter, curiosity, and energy that children and youth bring to their faith and the church. Faculty


Nate Stucky hails from central Kansas but lives in Princeton, N.J., where he works as a fulltime student and part-time youth ministry consultant for Youth Ministry Architects. He has a special interest in the role of community formation and Sabbath in the education of pastors, youth ministers, parents, and teenagers. A musician, frequent retreat speaker, and former farmer, Nathan holds a B.A. in music from Bethel College (Kansas), and a M.Div. from Princeton Seminary. Before starting his Ph.D. at Princeton Seminary, Nathan simultaneously served as a youth pastor for Mennonite, Brethren, and Presbyterian churches on the eastern shore of Maryland. He and his wife, Janel, are the happy parents of Joshua (9), Jenna (5) and Isaac (3). Faculty


Martin Tel is the C. F. Seabrook Director of Music at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. At the seminary Martin conducts the seminary choirs, teaches courses in church music, and administers the music for the daily seminary worship services. He served as senior editor of Psalms for All Season: A Complete Psalter for Worship (Faith Alive, 2012). He is currently serving on the editorial committee producing a new hymnal for the Christian Reformed Church and Reformed Church in America denominations, Lift Up Your Hearts (June, 2013). With his wife, Sharilyn, he is raising three children in Princeton. Musician and Worship Leader