1. Kara Powell
Who: Kara is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member of Fuller Theological Seminary. As a youth ministry veteran of over 20 years, she serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know”, Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including Sticky Faith, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.
Why I Follow Her: Kara has been an author that I started following during college that has really looked at the numbers when it comes to youth ministry. When looking at these numbers, Kara makes sense of why students are leaving the church and their faith. I have loved the Sticky Faith curriculum for students and parents. I had the opportunity to hear Kara speak at the Orange Conference 2014 in Atlanta, GA and the wealth of information this woman has will blow your mind!
2. Kenda Creasy Dean
Who: Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference (United Methodist) and professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry. A graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, she served as pastor in suburban Washington DC and as a campus minister at the University of Maryland-College Park before coming to Princeton Seminary. She is currently appointed as the coordinating pastor of Kingston United Methodist Church in Kingston, New Jersey.
Why I Follow Her: Kenda Creasy Dean is another author that I began to read while in college. Two of my favorite books of hers are, Almost Christian and The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry. Dean brings an idea of teens practicing this “fake religion” which she labels as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Dean challenges myself as a youth director to look at the things I am teaching my kids in youth ministry and making sure that I am promoting a life of faith that God desires.
3. Andrew Root
Who: Andrew Root joined Luther Seminary in 2005 as assistant professor of youth and family ministry. Previously he was an adjunct professor at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington D.C., and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J.
Why I Follow Him: I would be lying if I said I didn’t think Root was a little bit of a nerd when reading his’ stuff. He has so many great thoughts and statistics that back up everything he writes about. I highly recommend reading his book Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. His intelligence and conviction for looking at the aches of youth shine through in his’ writings.
4. Mark Oestreicher
Who: Mark Oestreicher has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. Marko has had a broad experience working in churches in roles ranging from Junior High Pastor to Executive Pastor. For 11 years, Marko was at Youth Specialties in San Diego, an organization that trains and equips church youth workers – the last 8 of those years as president. Concurrently, Marko was also a part of the leadership team of Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI). Marko has authored or contributed to more than 60 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. Marko is a partner in The Youth Cartel, providing resources, training and coaching for church youth workers.
Why I Follow Him: His beard. But seriously, aside from Mark’s awesome beard, he is one of those people you can follow and relate to no matter where you are at in your ministry. I like Mark because of his ability to be transparent through his books and his blog. I recommend his’ book Youth Ministry 3.0 as well as following his blog.
5. Brooklyn Lindsey
Who: Brooklyn has authored numerous books and projects, including Confessions of a Not-So-Supermodel, Opposite Day, Sacred Life, Devo2Go, and The Kingdom Experiment: Youth Edition. She is a pastor and speaker who loves hanging with teens, teaching from the Bible, and leading people to live in response to God’s love. Brooklyn, while named after a city in New York, lives in the sunshine state with her husband, Coy, and their super sweet girls, Kirra and Mya.
Why I Follow Her: I first heard Brooklyn speak at the Orange Conference in 2014. I enjoy following Brooklyn, as she is in the trenches of youth ministry and is a great speaker. Brooklyn offers great insights in the life of a woman in ministry, who is succeeding in her calling and ministry. I recommend following her blog and getting a chance to hear her speak!