Kenda Creasy Dean | State of Youth Ministry interview part 2

We were blessed with a moment to sit down with Kenda Creasy Dean, who is one of the foremost researchers, authors and challengers of how our youth ministry is and needs to be. You can get more involved with Kenda’s work through the ministry of the Institute of Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary.


  1. Alwysy enjoy hearing Kenda’s comments –

    Is not seminary an elitist form of education spurred by the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians (those two Protestants groups who have the highest educational level and the highest income level of any Protestant Churches according to the Pew Foundation – and others). So why should Methodists (my tradition) and others try and emulate that style of education?

    Why not a focus on “ministry” at the undergraduate level, especially since well over 20,000 United Methodist churches cannot afford a “full-time seminary educated elder”?

    Why not more coaching and mentoring instead of “traditional class work” AND is not that style a better way of creating faith formation in teens anyway?

    Let’s all do three minutes a Sunday about how our structures are really doing ministry – such as UMCOR

  2. Now let’s address the issue specifically that Kenda rasies – if the research is stating that the way we have been doing youth ministry has not produced teens of faith, it is also stating that the church has not been producing adults of faith either. (So why look to the seminaries which have been educating the paid leaders of the church for generations?)

    So what is working according to the research Two things – first parents. So parents needs to spend the time to help their teens with faith and with life and stop giving that duty over to the church or to youth leaders. Even something as simply as sharing evening meal together AND having focused conversation around such things as where was God today in your life, what did you do where God was not present etc. (see Kara Powell’s work on “sticky faith”)

    Second is connecting teens lives with the story, the narrative, of the faith. This role, I think, the church and youth workers can be engaged in BUT to do so they have to help teens make sense of the whole of God’s narrative, using theological categories, and help teens identify their story in God’s story. And if semianries could do this for their students perhaps they have a significant role to play.

  3. Seminary training doesn’t have to be seminary degree. The training that I received at Wesley Theological Seminary for certification for youth ministry was outstanding and has totally changed my ministry. Unfortunately, this program was discontinued because there were not enough students. I was fortunate because my conference picked up the tuition that was not covered by the GBOMHE but still with travel, housing, meals and books, I had to come up with about $500 for each course. Youth workers are often paid a few thousand dollors a year for a job that wil often take 15 or more hours a week.

    We need to have more oportunities for youth and young people ministry workers. We need to value these people and thier ministry. I don’t see this happening in too many places.

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