Doug Fields: pastor, author, speaker & youth ministry Yoda

is currently the Youth/Parent/Marriage Pastor at Mariners Church in So. CA. He’s most well known for his longevity and influence in youth ministry (35+ years as a youth pastor) and for writing the award-winning book Purpose Driven Youth Ministry—which is a youth ministry textbook translated in over 30 languages. He’s the author of 60+ Marriage/Family/Youth books including Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry, Speaking To Teenagers, and Intentional Parenting. He’s the co-founder of where he currently helps lead a team of resource providers ( and youth ministry training events ( In addition to youth ministry, he speaks at Marriage Events thru, where he shares stories of his 40 years of marriage to Cathy and displays too many photos of his children and grandchildren.

Josh Griffin: junior high pastor, speaker & YMU co-founder

is another trusted leader at Download Youth Ministry. He is one of the leading voices in youth ministry with over 25 years experience in the trenches. He is currently the junior high pastor at Mariners Church in So CA. Prior to co-founding DYM, Josh was the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church and the leader of the PDYM global movement. He has created more than 100 youth ministry resources and authored several books. In addition to training thousands of youth workers yearly, he is in demand as an emcee and all-around-great-guy. He’s been married to his college sweetheart (Angela) for 25 years, has 4 children, and more dogs than most kennels.

Dr. Chap Clark

is an amazing youth ministry thinker and prolific author of several ground-breaking books including Adoptive Youth Ministry, Youth Ministry in the 21st Century, Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers and Sticky Faith. He was the Chair of the Youth, Family, and Culture department in the School of Theology at Fuller Seminary until recently becoming a Senior Pastor at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. As a well-known practitioner, adolescent and family scholar, and author, Chap has more than 30 years experience in direct ministry, including 15 years with Young Life, Youth Specialties, and was the Senior Editor of Youthworker Journal for seven years. 

Katie Edwards

has been in Student Ministries for over 20 years. She is currently the Pastor to Students at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. She has a passion for teenagers and a love for equipping & encouraging youth workers. She’s an author, a conference speaker, and a trusted voice on the Podcast.

Heather Flies

is the Junior High Pastor at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, MN.  She began her ministry at Wooddale when she joined the staff as the Junior High Associate in 1996 (25 years in the same church). In 1998, she joined the pastoral staff. Outside the walls of Wooddale Church, Heather spends a great deal of time as a communicator. She is invited into local junior and senior high schools to present on a variety of topics, like self-esteem and abstinence. Heather also brings truth, hope and fun to students at various camps, seminars and retreats locally and across the nation. To get her adult fix, she also speaks to parents and youth workers.

Jonathan Mckee

is the president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of numerous books including Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation, and the award winning book Do They Run When They See You Coming? Jonathan speaks and trains at conferences, churches and events across North America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites and

Dr. Virginia Ward

is the Dean of the Boston Campus Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Executive Director for the Northeast Region, Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry and Leadership. She also serves as the Youth Pastor at the Abundant Life Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts where her husband, Rev. Lawrence Ward, serves as the senior pastor.

Virginia is co-author on the book It’s Personal: Five Questions You Should Answer To Give Every Kid Hope, and she conducts research on ethnic/multi-ethnic youth and family ministry. Her national involvement includes her membership on the Ministry Council of the National Network of Youth Ministries and as a trainer for the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, a national, faith-based urban youth leadership venture founded by the DeVos families.

Dr. Jim Burns

is a renowned youth and family expert, an acclaimed author, and the founder of HomeWord, a radio program that reaches more than a million people across the country each day. In partnership with Azusa Pacific University, he established and now provides leadership for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family, a research and training institute offering biblically based resources for parents and youth. Under Burns, the center has become the largest provider of Christian parenting and youth seminars in the United States. His passion is communicating to adults and young people practical truths to help them live out their Christian lives. Burns is a three-time Gold Medallion Award-winning author and has written books for parents, youth workers, and students. He also speaks in person to thousands of people each year around the world. 

Scott Rubin

After 27 years in youth ministry at Willow Creek Church in Chicago, recently relocated to Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, California. He's the NextGen Pastor overseeing JH, HS, Young Adults, and kids ministry.

Dr. Walt Mueller

Walt Mueller is the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and has been working with young people and families for over 35 years. As a result of his work with CPYU, Walt has become an internationally-recognized speaker on contemporary youth culture. He is also the author of several books including Youth Culture & Youth Culture 101 and Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture.

Dr. Kara Powell

Kara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch”, Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including Growing Young, Sticky Faith, & Deep Justice in a Broken World.

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. I am passionate about leadership development in the church. As a veteran youth pastor for several years his ministry focuses included: evangelism, discipleship, missions, teaching, community, and service, but one thing made all of these focuses better: students leading them. He is one of the primary voices in empower students to lead.

Josh McDowell

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. After being challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, he discovered compelling and overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After his conversion, Josh committed his life to telling a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. Working with Campus Crusade for Christ and founding the youth outreach, Josh McDowell Ministry, Josh has shared the gospel with more than 25 million people in 125 countries. He is the author or co-author of 147 books including More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict

Dr. Sean McDowell

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, and in particular young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He is an associate professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Biola University and the author of 18 books including So The Next Generation Will Know, A New Kind of Apologist and Understanding Intelligent Design). Sean is the general editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and blogs regularly at

Mark Oestreicher


Marko has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. He has had a broad experience working in churches in roles ranging from Junior High Pastor to Executive Pastor. The author of dozens of books, including Youth Ministry 3.0, Middle School Ministry, and Youth Ministry in Seasons of Disruption. Marko runs a popular coaching program for youth workers thru The Youth Cartel

Karl Romeus

Karl has been in youth ministry for 17 years most recently at Bayside Church, a vibrant church with 20,000 people in weekly attendance. He oversaw children’s, middle school, high school and college ministry across all campuses. He studied Christian Leadership and Biblical Theology at Grand Canyon University.