Meet the Instructors

Doug Fields

is most well known for his longevity in youth ministry (30+ years as a youth pastor) and the award-winning book Purpose Driven Youth Ministry—which is a youth ministry textbook translated in over 20 languages and used all over the world. He’s also the author of 60+ books, including Your First 2 Years in Youth Ministry and Speaking To Teenagers. He’s the co-founder of where he currently spends his time creating resources like this for people like you.

Josh Griffin

is known as one of the leading voices in youth ministry with over 20 years’ experience in the trenches, most recently as the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church. He's the co-founder of where he serves and trains youth workers and hosts a youth ministry podcast with Doug Fields. He's created more than 50 youth ministry resources and authored several books.

Chap Clark

is an amazing youth ministry thinker--he’s the Chair of the Youth, Family, and Culture department in the School of Theology at Fuller Seminary. 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. He’s the author of several books, including Youth Ministry in the 21st Century and Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers.

Katie Edwards

has been in Student Ministries for over 20 years. She is currently the Junior High Pastor 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.

Reggie Joiner

is the founder and CEO of the reThink Group, a nonprofit organization providing resources and training to help churches maximize their influence on the spiritual growth of the next generation. The reThink Group provides innovative curriculum resources and training for leaders who work with preschoolers, children, families, and students. They have partners throughout the United States and eight other countries. The reThink Group is also the architect and primary sponsor of the Orange Conference and the Orange Tour which provide national training opportunities for senior pastors, church leaders, and ministry volunteers.

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. 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 the new Should I Just Smash My Kid's Phone?, 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 You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. 

Virginia Ward

is the Director of Black Campus Ministries, New England, for Intervarsity, New England. 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. The New Generation Youth Ministries is multi-generational and reaches youth in the Riverside area of Cambridge. She is currently attending Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary (CUME) studying for a Masters of Youth 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. 

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

Scott Rubin has been on staff at Willow Creek Community Church for 18 years, and he’s currently the director of Elevate, the junior high ministry at Willow Creek. Scott, along with an entirely-fantastic team of staff and volunteer leaders, has the privilege of helping young adolescents follow Jesus.

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 and author on contemporary youth culture.

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. He plays a key role in DYM's summer Student Leadership Conference and is one of the leading voices on student leadership & youth ministry.

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. For more information, visit

Sean McDowelll

Dr. Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for equipping the church, especially young people, to make the case for the Christian faith. He is an assistant professor in Biola University’s Christian Apologetics program, a regular speaker for organizations like Focus on the Family, and Youth Specialties and the author, co-author, or editor of over eighteen books. For more information, visit


Mark Oestreicher

Mark has been involved in church ministry his whole life, particularly with teenagers and youth workers. Marko has had a broad experience working in churches in roles ranging from Junior High Pastor to Executive Pastor. He is the co-founder of The Youth Cartel.

Karl Romeus

Karl has been in ministry for the past 17 years. Most recently at 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.