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Kara E. Powell

Chief of Leadership Formation, Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, and Professor of Youth and Family Ministry

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

Courses Taught

YF507: Youth Ministry Communication

YF519: Adolescent Faith Longevity

Campus Affiliations

Areas of Expertise

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

“Who am I? Where do I fit? What difference do I make? As in previous eras, today’s young people navigate these three key developmental questions. The first is a question about identity. The second is a question of belonging. The third is a question of purpose. While questions of identity, belonging, and purpose cut across all life stages, young people feel them intensely.”


Dr. Powell, in the introduction to her guest edited FULLER magazine on the topic of young people. Read more.


Kara E. Powell is chief of leadership formation at Fuller, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), and 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 began her 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 coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World (2020), Growing with (2019), 18 Plus (2018), Growing Young (2016), 10 StickyFaith 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.

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