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Chris Yaw Interviews Kenda Creasy Dean: Exploring the Spirituality of Young People

July 23, 2012

Taken with permission from

It's a lament often heard in churches: where are all the kids?

And Princeton Seminary's Kenda Creasy Dean says we often not need look further than parents.

An abundance of research points to the direct link between religiously active adults and religiously active children - so the best place to start - is with parents.

In this interview, Professor Dean tells us why young people look for less play time and more passion in church, and how we might begin to provide it.

Watch the Full Program BELOW.

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The altruism and optimism of youth is something today's church really needs, however the inability of our congregations to truly understand and welcome young people often robs us of this gift. Here are my notes from the interview.

It's Not Like Soccer
Sure, we drop them off at soccer, violin, or dance practice and sit there and watch, and when it comes to church parents often do the same thing. However, church is different, our kids need to see us play - participate - and show them our faith is important to us, otherwise how can we expect it to be important to them?

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
This is today's default belief system for teens, and arguably for adults. If you've not heard of it, it may be worth the whole interview to hear it unpacked.

Show Them Passion
Passion is one of the most compelling ways to evangelize. It's one thing to say we love, but another to suffer for it.

About Kenda Creasy Dean
Kenda Dean is an ordained United Methodist pastor and Professor of Youth, Church and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry. A graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and Wesley Theological Seminary, Kenda served as a pastor in suburban Washington, DC and campus minister at the University of Maryland-College Park before earning her doctorate in practical theology/Christian education from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1997. She is the author of several books including, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. She and her husband Kevin are parents of Brendan, a senior in college, and Shannon, a senior in High School. Her current guilty pleasures include the TV show "Glee" and digging her toes into the sand in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

Resources Prof. Dean Recommends
Sticky Faith - Kara Powell
Sustainable Youth Ministry - Mark DeVries
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations - Roert Schnase


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