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Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean and Mr. Wesley Ellis on Friendship

November 2, 2016, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


“The Joy of Untamed Friendship:  Rescuing Youth Ministry from The Little Prince”

Youth ministers have long placed the practice of friendship at the center of youth ministry. But what makes our relationships with young people in church any different from their relationships anywhere else? In this session, Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean and Mr. Wesley Ellis dive headlong into the practice of holy friendship with teenagers, and whether being “tamed” by another is what Jesus had in mind. Is joy the end goal of friendship in youth ministry? Are church relationships “special”? Is this dangerous territory—or precisely the terrain we are on?



Kenda Creasy Dean Kenda Creasy Dean

Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained United Methodist pastor and the Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is the author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church and What Theological Education Can Learn from Youth Ministry—If We Let It (co-editor with Christy Lang Hearlson), among many others. A graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, Kenda served as a pastor and campus minister before earning her doctorate at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1997. In 2013 she founded Ministry Incubators, Inc. with Mark DeVries, a consulting and teaching organization to help churches turn hare-brained ideas into joyful, sustainable ministries. Kenda was blessed by incredible youth leaders and camp counselors as a teenager who saw God at work in her before there was any real evidence that they should, and she’s spent forty years trying to pay that forward. She and her husband Kevin love hanging out with their two grown children, Brendan and Shannon, and to binge-watch every beltway drama on Netflix. You’ll find her hanging out at the beach as much as is humanly possible.

Wes Ellis Wes Ellis

Wes Ellis is a Member in Discernment in the United Church of Christ and an M.Div. student at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has served in youth ministry and adult Christian education in UCC, UMC, and PCUSA settings, as well as evangelical ministry settings. He is passionate about theology and youth ministry and is convinced that the two belong to each other.