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 works closely with Princeton’s Institute for Youth Ministry and the Farminary (the seminary’s initiative in restorative agriculture and theological formation). In 2013 she founded Ministry Incubators with fellow youth pastor and serial entrepreneur Mark DeVries, which helps Christian leaders get their entrepreneurial ideas for ministry up and running, and engages congregations and communities in faith-based social innovation.
Kenda is the author of numerous books, including Knee-Deep in Flotsam: Why Churches Innovate and How to Start; and Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (full list below). She hails from a long line of Ohio farmers and Kentucky coal miners, although she herself is a P.K.—a politician’s kid. At 15 she attended a church missions camp on Lake Erie that pretty much changed everything.
A Buckeye by birth, Kenda graduated from Miami University (Ohio), Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC), and Princeton Theological Seminary (New Jersey). She served as a pastor and campus minister in Arlington, VA and College Park, MD before earning her doctorate in 1997. In addition to Netflix binging, she and her husband Kevin love digging their toes in the sand on the Jersey shore and hanging out with their hilarious grown kids.
- Knee Deep in Flotsam: Why Churches Innovate and How to Start (Market Square Publishing, 2021).
- Delighted: What Teenager Are Teaching the Church about Joy, with Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Abigail Rusert (Eerdmans, 2020).
- Consensus and Conflict: Practical Theology for Congregations in the Thinking of Richard R. Osmer, with Blair Bertrand, Amanda Hontz Drury and Andrew Root (Wipf and Stock, 2019)
- How Youth Ministry Can Change Theological Education—If We Let It, with Christy Lang Hearlson (Eerdmans, 2016).
- 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).