PTS-official-photo-2011-150x150 Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained United Methodist pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference and the Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry.  She also serves as the coordinating pastor of Kingston United Methodist Church where she supervises the student interns. Along with Mark DeVries, she is co-founder and chief permissionary for Ministry Incubators, an accelerator program that helps turn missional ideas into sustainable ministries.

Kenda is the author of numerous books on youth and the church, including Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry with Andrew Root, and The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry with Ron Foster.  Her current book, A More Excellent Way: How Youth Ministry Is Re-inventing Theological Education (with Christy Lang Hearlson), is due out from Eerdman’s next fall.

Kenda hails from a long line of Ohio farmers and Kentucky coal miners, although she herself is a P.K.—a politician’s kid. At fifteen she attended a United Methodist church camp on Lake Erie that pretty much changed everything.

A graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, Kenda served as a pastor and as a campus minister before earning her doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1997.  She and her husband Kevin are the ridiculously proud parents of two grown children, Brendan (a filmmaker in New York) and Shannon (a college senior). Her guilty pleasures include watching “Downton Abbey” and “Sherlock” with her husband and digging her toes in the sand in Ocean Grove, NJ.


  • A More Excellent Way: How Youth Ministry Is Re-Inventing Theological Education, with Christy Lang Hearlson (Eerdmans, in press).
  • The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, with Andrew Root (InterVarsity, 2011).
  • Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (Oxford, 2010).
  • OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, editor/author (Abingdon, 2010).
  • Youth, Religion and Globalization, New Research in Practical Theology, eds. Richard R. Osmer and Kenda Creasy Dean (LIT Verlag GmbH Co., 2007).
  • Practicing Passion:  Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church (Eerdmans, 2004).
  • Starting Right:  Thinking Theologically About Youth Ministry, eds. Kenda Creasy Dean, Chap Clark, and Dave Rahn. (Zondervan/Youth Specialties Academic, 2001).
  • The Godbearing Life:  The Art of Soul-Tending for Youth Ministry, with Ron Foster (Upper Room, 1998; 2d edition, 2010).
  • Covenants on Campus, with Kim Hauenstein-Mallet (Discipleship Resources, 1990).