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Emerging research on youth formation and worship

A panel of teacher-scholars with research projects focused on youth and formation share the fruits of their research, with a special focus on the implications of their research for worshiping communities.

This panel, moderated by Kathy Smith, was part of the 2021 Virtual Vital Worship Grants Event. Panelists received Vital Worship Grants from CICW to do research that serves worshiping communities by strengthening Christian public worship practices. Panelists are listed below with a brief description of their research project, can be found below.


  • Mimi Larson (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)  
    To gather wisdom from ministry leaders who thoughtfully engage children in worship, seeking to better theological and pedagogical understanding of how children make meaning of their worship experiences.  
  • Tyler Greenway (Fuller Youth Institute)  
    To investigate the perceptions of public worship practices among young people who do not regularly attend worship services, in order to provide insight to Christian worshiping communities as they seek to better understand the life narratives of this population. 
  • Richard Voelz (Union Presbyterian Seminary)  
    To create and field-test a workbook that will equip pastors to walk with adolescent preachers as they prepare to preach in public worship and other congregational contexts. 
  • Nate Risdon (Azusa Pacific University)  
    To study the experience of students of color in chapel programs at Christian colleges and universities, and to assess the influence of chapel worship practices on the stated goals of these institutions with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion.