Our team of seminar presenters offer many years of youth ministry, counseling and parenting experience – and they are all excellent communicators!

Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each  Jim Burnsyear. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books include: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; two sons-in-law, Steve and Matt; and two grandchildren, James and Charlotte.

Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and ValuesCreating An Intimate MarriageTeaching Your Children Healthy SexualityConfident ParentingConfident Parenting

Doug Fields

 Doug FieldsDoug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Doug speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Fresh Start: an invitation to a loving GodWhat Matters Most—when “no” is better than “yes”; and, Refuel: an uncomplicated guide to connecting with God. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he also writes a daily blog at and consults for Youth Specialties—a global organization committed to training those who work with teenagers. Doug has been married for 28 years to his wonderful wife Cathy and they live with their 3 children in Southern California. You can read more about him here.
Understanding Your TeenagerCreating An Intimate MarriageConfident Parenting

Chuck Neder

Chuck NederChuck is a respected youth ministry expert with over 35 years of experience. As CEO of PFR (Presbyterians for Renewal) Youth Ministry, he conducts dozens of national conferences each year for youth, youth workers, and parents. Chuck has served as a youth pastor in several churches, an associate pastor, a high school teacher and a college dean. Chuck and his wife Susan live in Chattanooga, Tennessee and have three grown sons and two grandchildren.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 Generation

Dave Curtiss

 Dave CurtissDave Curtiss is an experienced and accomplished ministry veteran.  He is the Vice President of Faith Engagement at CRISTA, a family of seven ministries (, and a much sought after speaker for retreats, camps and conferences, as well as, a national trainer for Homeword Seminars.  He is known for innovative ministry in local churches, various denominations, organizations, and ministries.Most importantly he is married 38 years to his beautiful wife, Sarah. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

Dave Veerman

 Dave VeermanFor 26 years, Dave worked with Youth For Christ in Illinois and Louisiana, and served as the National Director of Campus Life. He has authored more than 65 books, many on youth ministry and parenting, including Dave’s Complete Book of Junior High Ministry, Dads that Make a Difference, Getting Your Kid to Talk, Tough Parents for Tough Times, Parenting Passages, and Letting Them Go. He was also editor of The Student Life Application Bible. Dave and his daughter, Dana, have authored Sports Trivia Devotional and The Runner’s Devotional. He and his wife, Gail, live in Naperville, Illinois and have two grown daughters.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 Generation

David Olshine

David OlshineDavid is the director of the youth ministry program at Columbia International University’s Bible College Division. He gives some leadership and oversight to youth and parent ministry in a local church.In addition to his teaching, he travels extensively speaking to youth, youth workers, and parents of teens. He has authored or co authored many books including Down But Not Out Parenting and The Revelation Letters. He and his wife Rhonda live in Columbia, South Carolina and have two children, Rachel (a young adult) and Andrew (a preteen).
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

Duffy Robbins

 Duffy RobbinsDuffy has worked with teenagers for more than 25 years and teaches youth ministry at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has authored many books for youth workers and teens including The Ministry of Nurture, Youth Ministry Nuts and Bolts, and This Way to Youth Ministry. He is also a member of the Youth Specialties “Core” training team and a popular speaker at youth gatherings and Christian festivals all over the world. Duffy and his wife Maggie live in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and have two grown daughters.
Understanding Your Teenager

Gary Sivewright

 Gary SivewrightGary pastors a church in Apple Valley, OH while maintaining a speaking/writing ministry in the area of family and youth. He is the former Chaplain, Vice-President for Campus Ministries and Professor of Religion teaching youth ministries and Christian education at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Mount Vernon, Ohio. Gary also served five years as Director of Youth Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene. He speaks to thousands of teens (and their parents) each year in camps, retreats, revivals, conventions and conferences. Gary and his wife, Carol, have been married for over thirty years and are the parents of two adult sons, Chad and Jason, a daughter-in-law, Brittany, and a grandson, Penn.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

Jim Liebelt

 Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Familyat Azusa Pacific University. Jim has 30 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim is contributing author of culture and parenting articles to and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
Building Healthy Morals and Values

Joel Lusz

 Joel LuszJoel has ministered for the last 25 years with both Young Life and the local church. Currently he is the Youth Pastor at Suntree United Methodist Church in Melbourne, Florida. He has authored or co–authored numerous books including Just Shoot Me and Youth Ministry Lemonade–Turning Sour Experiences Into Leadership Success. Joel is the founder and president of “GoYouthMinistry,” a ministry based web–site that provides churches and student ministries with resources, ideas, and encouragement. Joel and his wife, Angie, live in Melbourne with their two daughters, Koral and Willow.
Understanding Your TeenagerBuilding Healthy Morals and ValuesTeaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality

Kelly Fellows

 Kelly FellowsKelly heads-up a national network of leaders who work with children, tweens, teens and young adults. He has over 20 years of experience pastoring multi-generations. He is a husband and father. The Fellows family is committed to leading a generation to discover and become exactly who God has created, called and commissioned them to be. Kelly Fellows [National Minister] Foursquare NextGen Ministries – International Church of the Foursquare Gospel NextGen Pastor – New Hope Christian Fellowship (Simi Valley, CA).
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationConfident Parenting

Les Christie

Les ChristieLes was born in Liverpool, England and is currently Chair of the Youth Ministry Department at William Jessup University. He has worked with teens for more than 40 years, serving as youth pastor at one church for 22 years. A popular and enthusiastic speaker with a love for teenagers and parents, he has spoken to audiences in 48 states and 11 foreign countries (so far). He has written over 200 articles in national magazines and has authored more than a dozen books. Les and his wife Gretchen live in Rocklin, California and have two grown sons.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 Generation

Leslie Snyder

 Leslie SnyderLeslie Snyder has been working with youth and families for the last 17 years in various roles including school districts, church ministry, and national youth ministry leadership. Her relationship with HomeWord began in 1997 when she first met Jim Burns at a ‘Trainer of Trainers Workshop.’ Since then, she has come alongside HomeWord as a contract author, counselor, and speaker. She has most recently served on staff with Youthfront as the founder and director of theYouthfront Parent Network. She completed a Master’s Degree in Christian Education with a specialization in Youth Ministry from Nazarene Theological Seminary in 2005 and received the Certificate of Excellence in Youth Ministry by the Board of Youth Ministry Educators in April, 2005. She has led numerous parenting seminars, youth worker trainings, and helped many youth ministries redesign their own ministry with parents. She currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and three children but will soon be making a move to the great state of Washington.
Building Healthy Morals and Values

Mark DeVries

 Mark DeVriesMark has served as the Associate Pastor for Youth & Their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee since 1986. He has authored or co authored a number of books including “Family-Based Youth Ministry,” “Sustainable Youth Ministry,” and a marriage book called, “The Most Important Year in a Man’s/Woman’s Life”. Mark is the founder of “Youth Ministry Architects,” a consulting service which helps churches move their youth and children’s ministries strategically forward. He and his wife Susan live in Nashville and have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

Marv Penner

Marv PennerMarv’s been working with families for almost 40 years now, A veteran frontline youth worker, college professor, speaker, author and family counselor, he understands what makes families tick. Marv is a dad who has seen three of his own children through their teen years. They’re all married now and the grandkids have started to arrive. He and his wife Lois direct Youth Specialties Canada, oversee the Canadian Center for Excellence in Youth Ministry, and All About Youth – an organization committed to providing resources and encouragement to people who influence teens – especially parents. Marv’s written half a dozen books including “Help, My Kids are Hurting” and “The Youth Workers Guide to Parent Ministry.”
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 Generation

Megan Hutchinson

 Megan HutchinsonMegan is a follower of Jesus, a wife, proud mom, youth minister of 20+ years, national speaker and author who is energetic and passionate (some use the word crazy) about being real in a broken world. Their home church is The Following, where they are earnestly learning what it means to be apprentices of the Master. Megan is all about going to the deep end of the pool. So, if you’re willing, jump!
Understanding Your Teenager

Tim Smith

 Tim SmithTim is a family coach and speaker who has been involved in youth and family work for more than 25 years. He is the founder and president of “Life Skills for American Families,” an organization dedicated to celebrating and empowering the family. Tim has authored many books, including 52 Family Time Ideas and Danger of Raising Nice Kids. Tim and his wife Suzanne live in Newbury Park, California and have two young adult daughters.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

Troy Temple

Troy has served the local church for over 27 years as a pastor and a trainer. He’s served on church staffs in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana. He also taught youth ministry on the faculty and staff at Liberty University for six years. He has a passion to train leaders for global youth ministry, strengthen marriages, and equip parents to raise kids that love God and serve His mission. He continues to serve local church ministries by speaking, training, and consulting in youth and family ministry. Troy is actively involved in developing formal youth ministry at seminaries in Mexico, Ukraine, Nepal, and Indonesia where he has taught as a guest professor. He served 11 years at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY as the Associate Dean for Masters Studies, Associate Professor of Youth & Family Ministry, and Executive Director of the International Center for Youth & Family Ministry. He has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Family Ministry. In 2013, he returned to Liberty University where he serves as the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs in the School of Divinity at Liberty. He and his wife Karla live in Forest, VA with their two daughters…one is high school and one in college. B.S.-Church Ministries, M.A.-Youth & Family Ministry, Liberty University; Ph.D.- Leadership & Family Ministry, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and ValuesCreating An Intimate MarriageTeaching Your Children Healthy SexualityConfident Parenting

Veronica Cross de Tellaeche

 Veronica Cross de TellaecheVeronica is a bilingual, multicultural communicator. She is a licensed Family Therapist and has certificates in Psychology, Teaching, Theology and Human & Science Studies. Veronica’s passion is to teach and equip families in our culture by applying Christian values. Veronica and her family live in Tijuana Mexico.
Understanding Your Teenager

Wayne Rice

 Wayne RiceWayne is the founder and director of Understanding Your Teenager seminars. He began working with teenagers in 1963 and has authored numerous books for youth workers, parents, and teens including Junior High Ministry, Cleared for Takeoff, Enjoy Your Middle Schooler and Read This Book or You’re Grounded. He is also the co founder of Youth Specialties and a pretty good banjo player. He and his wife Marci live in Lakeside, California and have three grown children.
Understanding Your TeenagerGeneration 2 GenerationBuilding Healthy Morals and Values

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)