Through a series of writing symposiums – 2 a year over the life of the grant – Science for Youth Ministry will help seed the national conversation between science and faith. Each symposium will feature 6 youth ministry practitioners and thought leaders and their work will be highlighted here on our site when published. Prior to attending the symposium, each group will be provided a book about science and faith to inspire their writing.

Upon completion of each symposium, hosted at Luther Seminary, contributor bios will appear here and links to their published work will also appear as available.

APRIL 2017 – “BORN BELIEVERS” by Justin L. Barrett, PhD






















Laura Addis has been involved in youth ministry since 2000 in both staff and volunteer roles. She currently works as the Operations Director at Life in the Trinity Ministry and as a staff consultant for Ministry Architects. Laura lives in Asheville, NC with her favorite husband, Tate, and is most spiritually disciplined in the fall when she is busy praying and fasting for her beloved LSU Tigers.



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.


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.


Blair Bertrand is an ordained Presbyterian minister living in Super:Natural British Columbia, loving his wife and parenting their three kids (ages 12,8,4). Some of his academic work has focused on the role of camping ministry within the larger church. Earlier in life Blair was a canoe trip guide and had many (mis)adventures on the rivers and lakes in northern Ontario and Quebec. Now he is busy introducing his kids to hiking in the mountains.

megan-dewald-sqMEGAN DEWALD

Megan DeWald has been a devoted practitioner of youth and young adult ministry in a variety of contexts and traditions, from camps and congregations to nonprofits and social movements, from Roman Catholic organizations to Southern Baptist churches. Prior to working at the Institute for Youth Ministry, Megan served as the Site Coordinator of the PCUSA’s Young Adult Volunteer Program in Nashville, Tennessee. Believing in the power of personal story to transcend the boundaries we build between us, Megan is also a writer, poet, activist, and musician. She holds a B.A. in communication from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.


Emily Dumler-Winckler is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Notre Dame in the Center for Theology, Science, and Human Flourishing. She earned her M.Div., Th.M. and Ph.D from Princeton Theological Seminary. She specializes in moral theology (historical, doctrinal, and systematic) with a particular interest in virtue, moral philosophy and psychology, aesthetics, politics, science, and social change in the modern era. Her research brings ancient and medieval thought to bear on modern and contemporary debates in religious ethics. Her dissertation, Modern Virtue: Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft and a Tradition of Dissent, challenges the narrative of the virtue’s modern demise by offering an account of modern virtue, specifically the virtues of democratic social criticism and friendship. In her work with the Center, she is developing a theology of home-making, which examines how the practices of modern science and religion have shaped our relationship to the natural world for better and worse. This project considers the virtues needed to perfect these practices and so make a home of the shared world we inhabit.


Wes Ellis is the Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Toms River in New Jersey. He has an M.A. in Christian Education and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and he is pursuing a Ph.D. in practical theology from the University of Aberdeen. Wes lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amanda, and their son, Henry.



As an environmental educator and STEM trainer of teachers, Heidi works to boost nature play, creative science, and climate literacy in communities. She founded Growing Green Hearts LLC in 2012.  Also as a child of God, follower of Jesus, wife of a Lutheran pastor, mother of two – she questions, wonders, explores creation, prays for sanity, laughs, cries and carries on.  While many have described these roles as a complicated snarl of their own; Heidi feels tightly wrapped in a security blanket woven out of both faith and science.  Just a few common threads in both are:  questions are good, God is the source of everything, patterns and laws explain some of it, systems are parts working together, life is complex and we’ll never know all of it.


Kristin Franke spent 5 years as the youth director at Union Church in Hong Kong. She graduated with her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in May 2015. In the fall of 2016, she began as the Director of Youth Ministries at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington DC. In her free time, she plays and coaches ultimate Frisbee.



Dan Haugh is the Associate Pastor at Round Hill Community Church, an independent and ecumenical congregation located in Greenwich, CT. He oversees the children and youth programs as well as community service and engagement. Dan also serves as an adjunct professor for the Youth and Family Studies department at Nyack College and regularly teaches on issues relating to culture, adolescence and faith formation. He and his wife Lauretta have twin toddler boys, Jack and Blake, and when he is not busy chasing after them, enjoys baseball and being outdoors.


Jeffrey Kaster has served as the Director of the Youth in Theology and Ministry program at Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota since 2000 and the Coordinator of the Lilly Youth Theology Network ( since 2013.  He teaches practical theology courses at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Christian education and youth ministry.  Prior to his work at St. John’s, Jeff served as the St. Cloud Diocesan Youth Consultant for ten years and as a parish youth minister for twelve years. Jeff’s publication, Youth Ministry, Revised Edition (2016) was published by from the Liturgical Press.


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.


Aqueelah’s passion is to minister to and encourage young people, with the center of her attention directed toward the spiritual, physical, mental, and social health of young girls, women and ultimately the family. Aqueelah is presently serving in three areas of ministry: staff consultant with Ministry Architects; Field Staff for Racial Ethnic Young Women and the Site Coordinator for the Young Adult Volunteer Program of New York City (the latter two both ministries of the Presbyterian Church USA Mission Agency).


Kermit Cornell Moss, Sr. is a Ph.D. student in the area of Practical Theology (Christian Education and Formation) at Princeton Theological Seminary. Research interests include Black liberation theology, critical race theory, philosophies of practical reason, pneumatology, the spirituality of urban youth and hip-hop culture.

Prior to matriculating to the Ph.D. program, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Long Island University-Brooklyn campus, with a B.A. in Political Science. In addition, Kermit also graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity.

Kermit also currently serves as senior pastor of Manhattan Bible Church which is located in the Inwood neighborhood in Northern Manhattan (NYC). In addition, he served as senior pastor in a congregation in the South Bronx New York, has served on pastoral staff in congregations in New Jersey and Virginia and ministered for six months in the Philippines. He is married to Antoinette Gaboton-Moss and they have three wonderful children: Kermit Jr., Sebastian, and Chloe.


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).

sarah-ritchie-sqSARAH RITCHIE

Sarah Lane Ritchie is currently finishing up her PhD in Science and Religion at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. A Michigander by birth, she completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Religion at Spring Arbor University, a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Master of Science at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on all things related to theology and the science of human consciousness; the focus of her dissertation is divine action and the human mind. When not geeking out on science and theology, Sarah loves running, devouring podcasts, hiding out in bookstores, sampling such Scottish delicacies as white pudding, and debating politics with her Scottish hubby.

Andrew-Root-squareANDREW ROOT

Andrew Root (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is the Olson Baalson associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. A former Young Life staff worker, he has served in churches and social service agencies as a youth outreach associate and a gang prevention counselor.



Abigail is the director of the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has over 10 years of experience working with youth and young adults. She is passionate about fostering community and resource development for those working in the field of youth and young adult ministry. Abigail is blessed to have two daughters, and a husband who loves to cook.


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.


Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. His latest books is called Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan, Sept. 2014). Tim often writes for the Religion Section of The Huffington Post, and his work has been featured at The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and Immerse Journal. Tim is the author of An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011), and Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012). Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. Tim has a BS from Kansas State University, and an MDiv. from Nazarene Theological Seminary. Tim has planted three flourishing churches over the past 15 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. He and his wife, Kristin, live in Kansas City with their two boys, Nicholas and Lewis.

Jon Wasson PhotoJON WASSON

Jon Wasson is ordained in the PC(USA) and serves as the Associate Pastor for Discipleship at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. He earned his M.Div. and M.A. from Princeton Theological Seminary and is primarily interested in Christian ethics and formation. He also cheers regularly for Arsenal. You can follow him on Twitter @jonwasson.



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


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.