Kara E. Powell

Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute and Associate Professor of Youth and Family MinistrySchool of Theology

Contact Information
BA, Stanford University
MDiv, Bethel Theological Seminary
PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary

Biographical Information

Kara E. Powell is the executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and associate professor of youth and family ministry. Prior to coming to Fuller, she was an assistant professor of youth ministry and practical theology at Azusa Pacific University. She completed her PhD in Practical Theology from Fuller Seminary with a focus on pastoral role expectations in 2000, an MDiv from Bethel Theological Seminary in 1994, and a BA in human biology, graduating with honors from Stanford University in 1991.

In addition to her roles at Fuller Seminary, Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and volunteers in student ministries at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. She was also college pastor at Lake Avenue Church (1995–1998) and was the associate youth minister at San Diego First Assembly of God (1991–1995). During college, Kara gained an ongoing commitment to church/parachurch partnerships during her time on Young Life Student Staff in the Stanford area.

Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch,” Kara is the author or co-author of Growing Young (2016), 10 Sticky Faith books or curriculum (2011-2016), Right Click (2015), Can I Ask That? 2: More Hard Questions about God and Faith (2015), Essential Leadership: Training Onramps for Your Youth Ministry Team (2010), Deep Justice Journeys (2009), Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum (2009), Deep Justice in a Broken World (2008), Deep Ministry in a Shallow World (2006), Help! I’m a Woman in Youth Ministry (2004) and Mirror, Mirror (2003). Kara is also a regular speaker at Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Conventions, the Orange Conference, the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, as well as retreats and conferences across the country.

Powell lives in Pasadena with her husband, Dave, who is a medical device engineer, and their children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica.


Get a free chapter from this book from Kara Powell revealing 6 essential strategies to help young people discover and love your church

Courses Taught

  • YF507: Youth Ministry Communication
  • YF519: Adolescent Faith Longevity

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Practical theology, youth ministry, family ministry, junior high ministry, leadership development, youth ministry communication

Selected Publications

  • Can I Ask That? 2: More Hard Questions about God and Faith, self-published by FYI, 2015.
  • The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Zondervan, 2014.
  • Can I Ask That?, self-published by FYI, 2014.
  • The Sticky Faith Launch Kit, self-published by FYI, 2013.
  • Sticky Faith Every Day Curriculum, self-published by FYI, 2013.
  • “Conflict That Changes Your Ministry and Changes You Too,” Youthworker Journal, September 2012 (co-authored with Jeff Mattesich).
  • Sticky Faith Parent Curriculum, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.
  • Sticky Faith Teen Curriculum, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012 (co-
  • authored with Brad Griffin).
  • “Sticky Churches,” Salvation Army Caring Magazine, March 2012.
  • Sticky Faith, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011 (co-authored with Chap Clark).
  • Sticky Faith: Youth Worker Edition, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011 (co-authored with Brad Griffin and Cheryl Crawford.
  • “The Church Sticking Together,” Immerse Journal, September/October 2011.
  • “The Sticky Gospel: More Than the Red Bull Rip Off,” Immerse Journal, November/December 2011.
  • “Silence is Not Golden,” Group Magazine, September/October 2011.
  • “The Path to Sticky Changes,” Youthworker Journal, September/October 2011.
  • “Which Faith Are They Leaving?” Leadership Journal, October 2011.
  • “Moving Away from the Kids Table,” Immerse Journal, August 2011.
  • “Middle School Girls” chapter in Understanding Your Middle Schooler, August 2010 (co-authored with Brad Griffin).
  • Deep Justice Journeys, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009 (co-authored with Brad Griffin).
  • The Good Sex Curriculum, Grand Rapids: Zondervan 2009 (co-authored with Jim Hancock).
  • Deep Leadership, self-published by the Fuller Youth Institute, September 2008.
  • Deep Justice in a Broken World, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008 (co-authored with Chap Clark).
  • “You Make the Call,” CYFM E-Journal, November 2007.
  • “Seniors Speak Out: The Precarious Transition from High School to College,” Theology, News & Notes, October 2007 (co-authored with Cameron Lee and Cheryl Crawford).
  • “Mobilizing Youth for Justice,” Theology, News & Notes, October 2007 (co-authored with Chap Clark).
  • “What Do They Need More?” Restore Journal, October 2007.
  • “Stress in the City,” Journal of Student Ministries, May/June 2007 (co-authored with Cynthia Eriksson and Jude Tiersma Watson).
  • “If We Send Them, They Will Grow…Maybe,” Journal of Student Ministries, March/April 2007 (co-authored with Terry Linhart, Brad Griffin, and Dave Livermore).
  • “Does Your Youth Ministry Make the Grade? Findings from the College Transition Project,” Youthworker Journal, March/April 2007 (co-authored with Cheryl Crawford and Brad Griffin).
  • “Facing the Music…Where is Worship Taking Students?,” Journal of Student Ministries, January/February 2007 (co-authored with Brad Griffin).
  • One Life Revolution Curriculum, World Vision, October 2006.
  • “Holistic Ministry in the Inner City,” Journal of Student Ministries, November/December 2006 (co-authored with Pam King and Kelly Schwartz).
  • “What Type of Students Are We Developing? The State of Our Seniors,” CYFM EJournal, October 2006.
  • “The Deep Design: Practical Integration of Theology and Ministry,” Journal of Student Ministries, July/August 2006 (co-authored with Chap Clark).
  • Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006 (co-authored with Chap Clark).
  • Mirror, Mirror, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.
  • Pulse Junior High Curriculum Series, General Editor, Gospel Light Publications, 16 books total, 1999-2002.
  • “A Review of Postmodern Youth Ministry,” Journal of Youth Ministry, Spring 2002.
  • “Focusing Youth Ministry Through Community,” Starting Right: Thinking Theologically About Youth Ministry, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.


Dr. Powell’s CV

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