APRIL 2017


For our symposium in April, 2017, our writers read “Born Believers” by Justin L. Barrett, PhD, to inform their writing as they worked on a submission based on science and youth ministry. “Born Believers” explores the possibility that we are predisposed to believe in God, or at least in entities with godlike qualities. Our contributors for this symposium are at the bottom of the page, and as their papers publish, links to them will appear below their bios.

While they were with us at Luther Seminary, we sat down with our writers to hear their thoughts on science, faith, and the book itself. Hear what they have to say in the video:





Andrew holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.


I’m the Acting Director of Youth Specialties, which means I get to lead an incredible team of people who are committed to youth workers and teenagers. I’ve been involved in youth ministry for several decades on a variety of levels: youth pastor, youth ministry professor, speaker, consultant and writer. I have a long history with YS as a presenter, Thought Partner and an author of two YS books Teenage Girls: Exploring Issues Adolescent Girls Face and Strategies to Help Them, as well as Youth Ministry Management Tools 2.0, (with Mike Work).


Read Jason’s article, Blood Red Scars: Incarnation, Evolution, and Self Harm

Jason Lief is Associate Professor of Religion and Youth Ministry at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He is the author of Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting them Go, and the forthcoming book Transgressing the Sacred: Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred with the Secular West. Jason is also co-editor of the journal Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought. He is married to Tamara and they have three children: Naomi, Christian, and Savannah.



Read Kevin’s article, Telling Our Children the Untellable Story of Faith

Kevin Alton is a youth ministry veteran and a writer, author, and speaker on all things spiritual and age-level Christian ministry. He’s the co-creator of the Wesleyan lectionary curriculum website Youthworker Circuit and serves as content curator for the Science for Youth Ministry grant. Kevin lives with his wife and two boys in the Georgia woods just outside of Chattanooga, TN. You can connect with him on most social media as @thekevinalton.


Read Morgan’s article, It Takes Faith & Science to Tango

Morgan is the Director of Teens & 20-Somethings at First Presbyterian Church in Bend, Oregon and serves the Director of the Bend Youth Collective: a progressive, ecumenical, collaborative youth ministry that encourages teens to follow in the peacemaking way of Jesus. She is passionate about cultivating teenagers’ desires to be more whole people who help make earth more like heaven. Morgan received her M.Div. from the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, but doesn’t remember any Greek. She is also the author of Woo: Awakening Students’ Desire to Follow in the Way of Jesus, and a contributing author to various blogs including the Princeton Institute for Youth MinistryShe loves working and playing in Bend with golden retriever, Buddy.


Read Rozella’s article, The Scientific Method as a Tool for Faith Formation

Rozella Haydee White is a life and leadership coach accompanying people as they figure out how to live their most meaningful life. As a writer, teacher, preacher, and public theologian, Rozella is a known presence on social media, boldly engaging issues of faith, justice, mental illness, and the radical and transformative love of God as embodied in the person of Jesus. She is committed to the pursuit of justice and is a co-founder of #ResistHouston, a community of connection, empowerment, and support for resistance against injustice. Rozella is desperately seeking justice, mercy, humility, and love. She believes that everyone is gifted and has the power to transform themselves, their communities, and the world when they tap into their most authentic self. Connect with Rozella at www.rozellahwhite.com.


Read Steven’s article, Youth Ministry’s Pivot in the Faith and Science Conversation

Steven Argue, PhD [Michigan State University] is the Applied Research Strategist for the Fuller Youth Institute and Assistant Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. Steve researches, speaks, and writes on adolescent and emerging adult spirituality. He has served as a pastor on the Lead Team at Mars Hill Bible Church [Grand Rapids, MI]; coaches and trains church leaders and volunteers; and has been invested in youth ministry conversation for over 20 years.