Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies: Youth Ministry in the Age of Science

For our symposium in December 2017, our writers read Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies by Dr. Andrew Root to inform their writing as they worked on a submission based on science and youth ministry. Exploding Stars… shows how science overstates its claims on truth, while faith often understates its own claims. Both faith and science frame the experience and reality of teenagers, and both have something valuable to offer as adolescents develop. 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.




Read Grant’s article, What About the Dinosaurs? Questions of Faith and Science.

Grant Vissers is a husband, pastor, and blogger who lives north of Toronto, Canada. Grant is married to Konnie, serves as Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Leaskdale, writes at and hosts the Young Church Leaders Podcast. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter @grantvissers.


Read Justin’s article, Sex, Love, and Science: Let’s Talk About Talking About Science.

Having spent 12 years working for the Young Life organization, and serving locally in his church, Justin brings a broad base of experience across different types of youth ministry to include urban, multicultural, suburban, special needs, and college ministries. He serves as the director of the Youth Ministry program at Flagler College and is a University of Aberdeen PhD candidate. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary, Justin is the co-founder of Kindred Youth Ministry, a youth ministry resource organization, and is a proud foster parent.


Read Lindsey’s article, Science, Youth Ministry, and Prayer.

Lindsey Hankins is a PhD candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary with previous degrees in Historical and Systematic Theology (MA) and Christian History (MA) from Wheaton College and Biblical and Theological Studies from Bethel University, MN (BA). Her MA thesis, Making Martyrs Male: A Reappraisal of Gendered Rhetoric in Ancient Martyrdom Accounts, was written under the support of Wheaton’s Center for Early Christian Studies fellowship grant. She is currently completing a dissertation on Thomas Aquinas and prayer.


Read Mike’s article, I’ve Seen A Thing or Two: Exploding Stars, Dead Dinosaurs, and Zombies.

Mike is in his 42nd year in youth ministry and serves as President/CEO of Youthfront. Youthfront provides youth ministry programs, services, resources and training. Mike has served as an Elder and a Pastor in his church in Midtown Kansas City – Jacob’s Well, and is an adjunct Professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Mike is a Senior Advisor for Museum of the Bible which opened in Washington DC in November 2017. Mike’s book Presence Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation (InterVarsity Press) has received widespread critical acclaim. Mike and his wife, Vicki, live in Kansas City. They have two sons and a daughter, all happily married, and six grandchildren.


Read Nathan’s article, Sleep, Science, and Sabbath.

The Rev. Nathan T. Stucky, Ph.D., hails from south-central Kansas but lives in Princeton, NJ, where he serves as Director of the Farminary Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained Mennonite (Mennonite Church USA), Nate’s work with the Farminary integrates theological education with small-scale, regenerative agriculture at Princeton Seminary’s 21-acre farm. He has a special interest in the role of community formation and Sabbath in the education of pastors, church leaders, youth ministers, parents, and young people.  A musician, frequent retreat speaker, and farmer, Nate holds a B.A. in music from Bethel College (Kansas), and a M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Seminary.  Before coming to Princeton Seminary, Nate worked in youth ministry and farming.  He and his wife, Janel, are the happy parents of Joshua, Jenna, and Isaac.


Read Rachael’s article, Encouraging Curiosity in our Youth.

Rachael McNeal currently lives in St. Augustine, while working as the Director of Youth Ministries at Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – the third largest Episcopal Church in the country. She also has experience in Higher Education and Interfaith Activism. Rachael graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL where she studied Religion and Youth Ministry. She attended Princeton Theological Seminary where she received her Master of Divinity. She was featured on Interfaith Youth Core’s podcast Common Knowledge and has written for OnFaith, Interfaith Youth Core, Faith Line Protestants, Sojourners, and Huffington Post Religion. She lives in St. Augustine, FL with her husband Kevin, and children Esther and Winslow, and enjoys cooking, laughing too loud and drinking too much coffee.