2014 Forum Leader Bios


Christian Andrews

Christian AndrewsTheologian in Residence: Christian Andrews is currently lead pastor of Outreach Red Bank Church, which started in 2002 as an outreach to local high school students, and has grown into a multigenerational church. Along with a small group of friends, he worked at sharing the gospel with young people who had never heard it. The church has continued to grow as people come to faith, and become active participants in its mission. In addition to leading at ORB church, Christian serves as adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary, teaching missional theology and practice with his friend Darrell Guder. 


Craig Barnes

M. Craig Barnes Preacher: M. Craig Barnes is President of Princeton Theological Seminary. Before becoming president of Princeton, Barnes was a chaired professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary while also serving as the pastor and head of staff of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. He previously served pastorates in Madison, Wisconsin, and at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. He is a frequent lecturer and preacher at conferences, academic gatherings, and in congregations across the country. He is the author of eight books and serves as a columnist for The Christian Century. His writing and academic work reflect his deep commitment to the theological formation of pastors to lead the church in changing times.
Meet President M. Craig Barnes


Mike Baughman

Mike BaughmanFaculty: Rev. Mike Baughman is the Community Curator and Pastor for Union, a new kind of coffee shop/church plant that exists to care for the well-being of its neighborhood through outstanding coffee, robust community and engaging causes. Through his work at Union, Mike has had the unique opportunity to engage 18-30 year olds who do not attend church. With over 10 years of youth ministry experience, Mike has contributed to, edited and developed a long list of curricula for Sparkhouse, Augsburg Fortress and Abingdon Press. He graduated from the M.Div. / M.A. dual-degree program at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2004 and completed his undergraduate degree at Duke University. Both Mike and his wife, Rachel, are pastors in the United Methodist Church. They have four kids and live in Texas.


Blair Bertrand

Rev. Blair Bertrand Faculty: Rev. Blair D. Bertrand currently serves Calvin Presbyterian Church (Abbotsford, BC) as their senior pastor and, for the time being, attends Princeton Theological Seminary as a Ph.D. candidate in Youth Ministry. Previously, Blair served churches in Ontario and New Jersey and lectured at Tyndale University College and Seminary (Toronto, ON). Recently Blair has started as a Staff Consultant for Ministry Architects focused on Canadian churches.


Reggie Blount

Dr. Reggie BlountTheologian in Residence: Dr. Reggie Blount serves on the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Formation, Youth and Culture. He is also Pastor of Arnett Chapel A.M.E. Church in Chicago, IL. He is the former Director of Garrett-Evangelical’s Faith Passage, a yearlong spiritual and leadership development program committed to nurturing and empowering high school youth in making a “faith passage” from adolescence to adulthood. Prior to serving as Director of Faith Passage, he also served as Dean of the Youth Theology Institute (YTI) Summer Academy at Candler School of Theology from 1997 to 1999. He has spoken nationally and internationally at numerous conferences and workshops helping faith communities envision new and creative ways to minister to, with and on behalf of young people. He is a contributor in Making God Real for a Next Generation: Ministry with Millennials Born from 1982 to 1999 (Discipleship Resources, 2003).


Maria Dixon Hall

Maria Dixon HallLecturer: Maria Dixon Hall is an assistant professor of corporate communication and public affairs at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. She is an academic, consultant, and theologian that believes that strategic communication is at the heart of every successful endeavor!


Jason Byassee

Jason Byassee

Preacher/Theologian in Residence: Jason Byassee became senior pastor of Boone United Methodist church in Boone, North Carolina in July 2011.  He studied at Davidson College and Duke University, where he earned a PhD in systematic theology in 2005.  He is also a contributing editor to The Christian Century magazine, where he served as an assistant editor from 2004-2008, and a Fellow in Theology and Leadership and Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School.  He has also served previously as a Research Fellow in the New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary in New York.  He is the author of five books: Reading Augustine: A Guide to Confessions (Cascade, 2006), An Introduction to the Saying of the Desert Fathers (Cascade, 2007), Praise Seeking Understanding: Reading the Psalms with Augustine (Eerdmans, 2007), The Gifts of the Small Church (Abingdon 2010), and most recently Discerning the Body: Searching for Jesus in the World (Cascade, 2013). His work has also appeared in Christianity Today, Theology Today, Books and Culture, Sojourners, United Methodist Reporter, and First Things.  His work has been recognized with several awards from the Associated Church Press and in 2007 with the American Academy of Religion’s first place award for newswriting for outlets with circulations under 100,000. He is married to Jaylynn Warren Byassee, Director of Mission Pathways for the Western NC Conference of the UMC, and together they have three boys, ages 10, 8, and 6.

Lillian Daniel

Pastor Lillian Daniel Lecturer: Pastor, writer, and teacher, Lillian Daniel has served as senior minister of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn, IL since 2004.  She is the author of the book Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony, the story of one church’s attempt to get mainline Protestants to talk to each other about God. Her newest book, When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God In Surprising Places, Even the Church is a provocative case for why religious community matters. An editor at large for the Christian Century Magazine, and a contributing editor at Leadership Journal, her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Books and Culture, The Journal for Preachers and in the daily email devotionals available at ucc.org, with over 20,000 subscribers.  She has preached at the National Cathedral, Duke Chapel, and the Festival of Homiletics and delivered lectures to clergy at Kings College, London and Queen’s College, Ontario.


Kenda Creasy Dean

Kenda Creasy Dean Theologian in Residence: Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained United Methodist pastor and Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary.  She also supervises the student interns at Kingston United Methodist Church in Kingston, NJ (which is way more fun than it ought to be).  Along with Mark DeVries, she is a Primary Permissionary for Ministry Incubators.  The author of several books on youth and the church, Kenda's current projects include A More Excellent Way: How Youth Ministry Is Changing the Way Churches Prepare Leaders (with Christy Lang Hearlson) and a book on innovation and missional entrepreneurship with Mark DeVries. Her guilty pleasures include watching Sherlock with her husband and digging her toes in the sand in Ocean Grove, NJ.


Mark DeVries

Mark DeVriesTheologian in Residence: Mark DeVries is the founder of MINISTRY ARCHITECTS, a hands-on coaching service for churches whose ministries are in transition or who hope to move their ministries forward strategically.  The company includes the following specialty groups, with others in the works: Youth Ministry Architects (2002), Children’s Ministry Architects (2010), and Small Church Ministry Architects (2011).  Since 1986, Mark has served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis.  Mark's work at First Presbyterian includes a combination of volunteer and staff development, teaching and preaching, relational ministry with youth and their families, as well as regularly participating in the worship and mission life of the church.  Mark and his wife, Susan, live in Nashville and have three grown children (Adam, Debbie, and Leigh) and two granddaughters (Parish and Nealy). 


Jeff Dunn-Rankin

Jeff Dunn-RankinTheologian in Residence: Jeff has been Director of Youth at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, FL since 1998. He has consulted with large and small youth and children’s ministries from California to Florida and is a frequent speaker at events such as the Group/Simply Convention to KidMin.  He is a regular columnist for Group Magazine, and in 2011, Jeff wrote two books, Before You Hire a Youth Pastor and The Indispensable Youth Pastor (Group Publishing), both co-authored with YMA President & Founder, Mark DeVries. Before beginning church ministry, Jeff was managing editor of the Charlotte Sun newspaper. Jeff is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South and has a Master’s in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. He currently lives in Venice, Florida, with his wife Mary Lou, and two children, Matthew and Katie.


Amanda Drury

Amanda DruryTheologian in Residence: Amanda has been in youth ministry for almost a decade. She has ministry degrees from both Indiana Wesleyan University and Princeton Theological Seminary, both of which prepared her for the life of a youth pastor in the local church. Following her time as a youth pastor, Amanda felt called back to school. After completing her Ph.D. in Practical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, Amanda began teaching youth ministry courses at Indiana Wesleyan University. She loves to see teenagers find the empowerment they need to be able to express their faith in words and actions. Amanda balances the life of a professor in practical theology, a speaker, an author, a wife to John, and a mother to Sam and Clara.  


Kenny Jahng

Kenny JahngFaculty: Kenny Jahng is a bi-vocational pastor and digital strategist.  Kenny is founder and CEO of Big Click Syndicate LLC, a communications strategy consultancy helping non-profits and ministries with digital content marketing and social media campaign development. His clients include Bethany Christian Services, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, The United Methodist Church denomination communications agency, and Biblica. He was previously a partner in a venture catalyst firm assisting start-up companies with brand strategy. Kenny’s expertise also draws from experience with product launches at a traditional ad agency, Fortune 100 brand management & PR team, and a training & development group. Kenny also currently serves as Media & Innovation Pastor at Liquid Church, one of New Jersey's fastest growing multi-site churches where he leads the public relations and online community engagement efforts.  He is the internet campus pastor leading six worship services every week via Church Online.  He earned his B.A. in economics from Duke University, MBA in Strategic Marketing & Entrepreneurial Leadership from Columbia Business School, and M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Kenny lives on the internet, but is based in Livingston, NJ with his wife Grace and two children.


David LaMotte

David LaMotteTheologian in Residence: David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, a children’s book author, and itinerate peace activist. He co-founded PEG Partners, Inc., which supports school and library projects in Guatemala, and he continues to lead PEG as a volunteer. In 2008 LaMotte was awarded a Rotary World Peace Fellowship by Rotary International, allowing him to pursue a master’s degree in Peace Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He has returned to limited touring while writing and working with the NC Council of Churches as their Program Associate for Peace. He also recently began a three-year term on the Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee for the AFSC (American Friends Service Committee).


Annie A. Lockhart-Gilroy

Annie Lockhart-Gilroy Faculty: Annie A. Lockhart-Gilroy is a Ph.D. candidate in Christian Education and Congregational Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. For over a decade, she has worked with youth as a teacher, coach, and youth minister. For eight of those years, she designed and executed programs for “at-risk” youth in Trenton, NJ.  She is currently writing on the role of imagination in youth ministry, especially with girls from poor and working-class families. 


Tamieka Moore

Reverend Tamieka N. Moore Preacher: Reverend Tamieka Nicole Moore currently serves as the Executive Minister of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House, PA.  She is a native of Philadelphia, PA, and received her B.A. in Youth Ministry and Psychology from Eastern University in 2004, and her M.Div. from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University.  Reverend Moore was ordained in March 2009 as the first female in the history of Tenth Memorial Baptist Church.  She is actively involved in ministry throughout the city of Philadelphia and in July 2012 she was named one of the 10 People Under 40 to Watch in Philadelphia by The Philadelphia Tribune  


Amy Peeler

Amy Peeler Faculty: Amy Peeler is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College. Her first book is entitled You Are My Son: The Family of God in the Epistle to the Hebrews (T and T Clark, 2014). She presently is pursuing ordination to the Priesthood with the Episcopal Church, USA.


Jeffery Kaster

Gina Yeager-buckley Faculty: Jeffrey Kaster, Ed.D. has served as the Director of the Youth in Theology and Ministry program at Saint John's University School of Theology since 2000. He teaches practical theology courses at Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict in Christian education and youth ministry. He completed a MA in theology (Scripture) from Saint John's School of Theology in 1985 and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Minnesota in 2008. His dissertation was titled "Assessing Christian Discipleship Formation in Catholic Youth Ministry." Jeff also coordinates the Youth Theology Network for the Lilly Endowment. His recent writings include “Evaluating Adolescent Catechesis” (Religious Education, 2011), and “Doing Theology Together to Advance Excellence in Lay Ecclesial Ministry” (In the name of the Church: Vocation and Authorization of Lay Ecclesial Ministry, 2012).