Teachers and Topics

NOTE: Teachers are carefully chosen based on their education, expertise, character, and communication skills. Topics are carefully chosen based on prayer, youth pastor recommendations, board & staff recommendations, and the questions Christian teens are asking (and being asked) as reflected in our survey results. 


Luke Bobo Ph.D.
"Imago Dei, Imagination, and Imagineering: A message for college bound students"
Listening is Loving: The Art of Listening and Asking Questions (Panel Discussion)

Dr. Bobo (Dr. B) serves as Director of Resource and Curriculum Development for Made to Flourish (madetoflourish.org). He is the former associate professor and department chair for Lindenwood University of St. Charles, MO in the school’s Christian Ministry Studies Program. And prior to Lindenwood, Luke also served as Assistant Dean for both the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute and Youth In Ministry Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary. He has spoken and/or preached in Cape Town, South Africa and Goiânia, Brazil.

Dr. Bobo holds a PhD in Rabbinic Andragogy from the University of Missouri St. Louis. He holds a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO); a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Professionally, Dr. Bobo worked as an Electrical Engineer for fifteen years prior to his work with the Institute. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Institute (washingtoninst.org). He sits on several national boards including the University of Kansas Alumni Association, Consortium of Christian Study Centers (CCSC) and The Culture House. And he is the author of "Living Salty and Light-filled Lives in the Workplace" (Wipf and Stock, 2014) and "A Layperson's Guide to Biblical Interpretation" (Wipf and Stock, 2016).



Christopher Buckles
Logic, Reason, Critical Thinking & The Gospel

Chris Buckles is a Literature, Composition, Logic, and Rhetoric teacher at Providence Classical Christian Academy here in St. Louis. He received his B.S.E. in Secondary Education English from Hannibal La-Grange University, where he met his pretty and witty wife Lindsey, and is finishing his M.A. in Educational Leadership at Saint Louis University. During undergrad, he traveled locally and internationally with a ministry team called The New Edition, ministering to students at various events and camps, while also performing Biblically based dramatic sketches. Chris enjoys reading theology, being involved in theatrical productions, and the music and films that are a product of the infamous 80s.



Chris Gadsden Ph.D.
Epistemology: How Do We "Know" Anything At All?

Chris Gadsden hails from the Sunshine State where he acquired a passion for college football while attending Florida State University. For over 20 years, he and his amazing wife Kristin have worked with Cru to serve the spiritual needs of students and professors, with a special emphasis on helping people overcome intellectual obstacles to faith in and intimacy with God. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola University and a Ph.D in Philosophy from Mizzou; his publications include a chapter in the recent edition of Doctor Who and Philosophy.



Dawn Jones
Pornography: The Problem is Bigger Than You Think (Panel Discussion)

Dawn is the Women's Ministry Director for First Light, a St. Louis based ministry that helps couples and individuals align their lives with Biblically informed sexuality and sexual expression. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Trauma Studies Certificate from the University of Missouri. She obtained her Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary and is currently in the process of completing a Master of Divinity.

Dawn was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She both teaches and speaks throughout the area. She has a deep desire to help those who are broken to find wholeness and those who are afraid to find peace.



Kyle Keating
Theologically Conservative Sexual Ethics
Navigating LGBTQ... Conversations Inside & Outside The Church

Kyle Keating is a history and theology teacher at Providence Classical Christian Academy here in St. Louis. He received is B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and his M.Div. from Covenant Theology Seminary. He served for three years with the campus ministry Cru at Ball State University before moving to St. Louis. He has served with the ministry FirstLight St. Louis teaching about Christian sexual ethics at local churches, and taught biblical theology in Athens, Greece with Training Leaders International. He has been married to the wonderful Christy Keating for five years. Together they enjoy reading, traveling, watching sports, and playing board games.



Jean Kovatovich

Jean Kovatovich is a Missouri girl who earned a BA in Speech Communication from Mizzou, married her high school sweetheart, Matt, and together wandered six states and fifteen cities. Along the way, she enjoyed a successful decade-long career in medical sales for a Fortune 500 company before choosing to be a homeschool mom to Adam and Sarah, who are each currently excelling at Webster University here in St. Louis. Over the past twenty years, Jean has hosted organizational workshops, spoken at homeschool conferences, and coached competitive speech and debate. She currently owns her own small business, serves on the Parent Council at Webster University, and loves to read and garden. Jean and Matt have been married 27 years, live in Kirkwood, and are on the brink of being empty-nesters.



Randy Larson
What Do Atheists Actually Believe? 

Randy Larson graduated from Biola University in California in 2004 with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. After he received his Master of Arts in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics from Biola in 2007, he and his wife moved from California to the Midwest. Randy received his Juris Doctoris from Washington University in 2010 and his LL.M in Taxation in 2011.

When Randy is not playing with his children or watching “The Office” with his wife, he enjoys riding his YZF 450R dirt bike and studying theology and philosophy. Randy and his wife also serve as youth leaders at his Church in St. Louis, Missouri.



Sean Maney
Pornography: The Problem Is Bigger Than You Think. (Panel Discussion)

Since 2010, Sean Maney has served as Director of FirstLight Ministries, a para-church ministry helping Christians align their sexual lives to the teaching of Scripture. Since 2003 FirstLight has been helping men and women who are struggling with sexual brokenness, as well as their families, find hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Before serving with FirstLight, Sean served as an assistant pastor and as a chaplain over the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s program for sexual offenders.

He holds a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary and is a teaching elder in the P.C.A.



Michael J. McClymond Ph.D.
In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity 
Singleness & Celibacy: The Last Sexual "Perversion"

Michael J. McClymond Ph.D. is Professor of Modern Christianity at Saint Louis University. He was educated at Northwestern University (B. A. in Chemistry), Yale University (M.Div.), and the University of Chicago (M.A. in Religion, Ph.D. in Theology). In addition to his work at Saint Louis University, he held teaching or research appointments at Wheaton College – Illinois (1988-89), Westmont College (1989-96), University of California – San Diego (1996-98), and Emory University (2001-02). 

McClymond's book, Encounters With God: An Approach to the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 1998), received the 1999 Brewer Prize from the American Society of Church History. He was editor of Embodying the Spirit: New Perspectives on North American Revivalism (Johns Hopkins University Press,2004), and author of Familiar Stranger: An Introduction to Jesus of Nazareth (Eerdmans,2004; winner of the Award of Merit in 2005 from Christianity Today magazine). He is the sole editor of a two-volume reference work that incorporates the contributions of one hundred and twenty scholars, Encyclopedia of Religious Revivals in America (Greenwood Press, 2007).

McClymond is the co-author of The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2012). Comprising forty-five chapters, this work is the most in-depth academic study yet published on Edwards’s thought and won Christianity Today's 2013 best book award in the category of theology and ethics.

Michael is an advisory board member, a resident instructor, and a seminar speaker for Faith Ascent Ministries. 



Brent's Image Coming Soon!

Brent Roam

Brent holds a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Anthropology from Arizona State University and a JD from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. Brent studied divinity and philosophy at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and public policy at Princeton as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. In November, 2013, Brent resigned from his law practice at the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP to devote his full attention to the pastorate at U-City Family Church in University City, MO.



Ron Quick
Why Trust The Bible? Accuracy, Archeology, History, Honesty, and Cannon

Ron and his wife Shona have been married for almost 20 years. Their family includes their three children, Shelby (10), Ronald (9) and Ada (7) along with 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 birds and numerous fish. Ron graduated from Johnson Bible College in 1988 with a BA in Bible and a minor in counseling. He also graduated from St. Louis University in 1995 with an MSW and will complete his Master degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Knox Theological Seminary in 2016.

Ron has worked in the counseling field for over 20 years. He has served as the director of the counseling program at Christian Family Services in St. Louis, Missouri and currently counsels adolescents who have unsuccessful in the public school environment due to with behavior and emotional problems. He is also an adjunct professor for Missouri Baptist University.

Ron is currently a board member and a seminar speaker for Faith Ascent Ministries and has been involved with the ministry since 2010. His personal interest and expertise in Christian apologetics focuses on the reliability and historicity of the Old and New Testaments.



John Richardson
When Leaders Fall: How Not To Lose Heart (or Faith) When Pastors & Parents Make Big Mistakes

John Richardson is a professional mediator and pastoral counselor at Level Path Ministries in St. Louis, MO. John also serves as the Pastor of Congregational Care at First Free Church in St. Louis, MO. At First Free, John oversees multiple care ministries including Celebrate Recovery, Visitation Ministry, Pre-Marital Mentoring, and general Counseling. John has a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Fort Wayne Bible College. He is a Certified Christian Conciliator with the Institute of Christian Conciliation and serves on the board of directors for the Association of Missouri Mediators.



Shane Rosenthal
The Resurrection of Jesus: Historically Plausible & Intimately Personal

Shane Rosenthal received a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal-State Fullerton, and an M.A. in Historical Theology from Westminster Seminary California. He is the executive producer of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast, a contributing editor for Modern Reformation magazine, and serves as the assistant pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in St. Charles, Missouri.



Mark Ryan
Cultural Apologetics: Why "One Size Fits All" Answers Are Less Than Loving
Listening is Loving: The Art of Listening and Asking Questions 

Mark Ryan is the Director of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary, Saint Louis, MO, where he also serves as adjunct professor of religion and culture. Mark has worked with L'Abri Fellowship in both Massachusetts and British Columbia and has pastored churches in Australia and the United States. We believe Mark's ministry experience, heart for evangelism, and interest in helping others navigate the cross-currents of religion and culture, qualifies him to engage students in this conversation.



Cordell Schulten
Life Together: The Importance of Christian Community
Living Listening is Loving: The Art of Listening and Asking Questions (Panel Discussion)

Cordell Schulten is an adjunct professor at Missouri Baptist University and serves as pastor for the English Ministry congregation at the Korean Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood, Missouri. Previously, he was an associate professor of American Law at Handong Global University in Pohang, Korea. He also taught at Fontbonne University. Before teaching, he practiced law for ten years, specializing in commercial litigation and death penalty cases. Cordell earned his M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2004 and his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1986. He has also done graduate studies in Theology and Culture at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Cordell and his wife Sandy have been married for 37 years. They have four children and four grand children. 



Andrew D. Shaw Ph.D.
Origin Theories & The Bible

Dr. Andrew D. Shaw Ph.D. is a high school science teacher at Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, and the chair of the science department and the Director of STEM education. His teaching assignment includes advanced chemistry and physics, but he has also taught advanced biology, earth science, forensic science, and astronomy. His passion is studying and teaching the relationship between the Christian Faith and Science.

Dr. Shaw is a graduate of Covenant College (BS in Physics), University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (MA in Science Education) and University of Missouri-St. Louis (Ph.D. in philosophy of science education). His research experience includes 12 summers at the Idaho National Engineering Lab where he primarily studied the detection of chemical weapons with a mass spectrometer. 



Lilian Werner
Lilian Werner is the Director for Women's Ministries at FirstLight Ministries, a para-church ministry helping Christians align their sexual lives to the teaching of Scripture. Since 2003 FirstLight has been helping men and women who are struggling with sexual brokenness, as well as their families, find hope and healing in Jesus Christ.

Lilian has worked as an LPC for 12 years, and has been involved in ministry in various ways. She has worked in church planting, women's ministries, children's ministries and adult Sunday School. Her degree is from Covenant Theological Seminary. She and her husband Brad live in South City have 3 children: Inna who is 20 and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and new baby, Ivan who is in kindergarten, and Anya who just turned 3. 



Jason Wilkins
The Gospel: What it Is, What It's Not, Why it Matters

Jason Wilkins, a St. Louis native and lifelong Cardinal fan, is a graduate of Westminster Christian Academy and Mizzou. He also holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Jason currently teaches worldviews at Westminster Christian Academy.

As a pastor and a student mentor, Jason has a passion for God's Word, for good preaching, and for seeing the saints (young and old) brought to maturity in Christ. He is best known for his starring role as the private investigator, Thomas Magnum, in the hit television series, Magnum PI. (We're kidding.)



Letitia Wong

Letitia is the Co-Director of Ratio Christ at Missouri Baptist University. She holds a BS in Health Sciences with a Minor in Religious Studies from Purdue University in 1997. She went on to complete her Medical Technology certification at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She has had over 15 years of ministry experience including serving as student Evangelism Coordinator for Purdue University’s undergraduate chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and as ministry coordinator and teacher at Arizona State University’s chapter of Campus Ambassadors. In 2009, she attended CrossExamined Instructor Academy at Southern Evangelical Seminary in preparation for public speaking in apologetics. In addition, she co-hosts TruLife Fridays, an internet radio show examining the ethics of the santity of human life. Letitia is currently pursuing her master's degree in theology at Concordia University Irvine.



Past Faith Ascent Teachers / Speakers

Topic: The Importance Of Christian Apologetics in Evangelism

Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor ofThe Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN.

Described in the Washington Post as "one of the evangelical community's most popular apologists," Lee shared the Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie The Passion of the Christ. He also won Gold Medallions for his books The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and the The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate.

Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribuneand other newspapers, winning Illinois' top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International. 

After a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee became a Christian in 1981. He joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, in 1987, and later became a teaching pastor there. He joined Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA, as a teaching pastor in 2000. He left Saddleback's staff to focus on writing. 



Teaching Truth to Today's Teens
Parenting in a Post-Christian Culture

Well known as an articulate speaker, Josh has addressed more than 25 million people, giving over 26,000 talks in 125 countries.

As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless. However, when challenged to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity, Josh discovered compelling, overwhelming evidence for the reliability of the Christian faith. After trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, Josh’s life changed dramatically as he experienced the power of God’s love.

After his conversion, his plans for law school turned instead to plans to tell a doubting world about the truth of Jesus Christ. After studying at Kellogg College, Josh completed his college degree at Wheaton College and then attended Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree.

In 1961, Josh joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ International (now called Cru). Not long after, he started the Josh McDowell Ministry to reach young people worldwide with the truth and love of Jesus.



I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist
Intellectual Predators: The Importance of Aplogetics College Prep

Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of three books: I Don’t have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of CrossExamined.org, Frank impacts young and old alike at colleges, high schools and churches with hard yet entertaining evidence for Christianity. He hosts a hour long TV program each week called I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights at 9pm and 1am Eastern on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 144 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern. Frank also writes a column for Townhall.com and has appeared on many TV and radio programs including:The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith under Fire, Politically Incorrect, The Bible Answerman, and Focus on the Family. He has debated atheist Christopher Hitchens twice. A former Aviator in the U.S. Navy, Frank has a Masters from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Apologetics from Southern Evangelical Seminary.

To help reverse the exodus of young people from the Christian faith, Frank conducts dynamic I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist outreach events on campus. At these events, Frank presents the evidence for Christianity, cross-examines arguments against it, and answers student questions.



Adam McCleodAdam J. MacLeod
Topics: Marriage: Defending Traditional Marriage Without Opening A Bible

Adam J. MacLeod is Associate Professor at Faulkner University, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. He serves as consulting scholar for the Massachusetts Family Institute and a faculty member of the Witherspoon Institute’s annual Moral Foundations of Law seminar for graduate students. He is a former visiting fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and he formerly served as a Deputy Attorney General of Alabama, advising the Governor and Attorney General in defense of Alabama’s marriage laws.

Professor MacLeod writes and speaks in academic and public venues about the importance of the family, religious associations, private property and other foundational institutions of private ordering. He is the author of Property and Practical Reason, published by Cambridge University Press, and dozens of articles, essays, and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. He contributes to the online journals Public Discourse and Library of Law & Liberty.

Before beginning his scholarly career, Professor MacLeod served as law clerk for state and federal judges in Massachusetts and Colorado and practiced law in Boston. He holds degrees from Gordon College and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He is a member of Christ Church in Montgomery, Alabama where he attends with his wife and daughters. A former and founding member of the Pneuma Brass Quintet in Boston, he is a musician, runner, cyclist, skier, hiker, Notre Dame partisan, husband, and father.



Blind Faith vs Informed Faith
Parenting in a Post-Christian Culture

Sean McDowell is a gifted communicator with a passion for reaching the younger generation with the Gospel message. He connects with youth in a tangible way through humor and stories while imparting hard evidence and logical support for viewing all areas of life through a Biblical worldview. He serves as Head of the Bible Department at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools where he teaches Philosophy, Theology, and Apologetics.

As a high school teacher, Sean has exceptional insight into the prevailing culture and imparts his observations poignantly to fellow educators, pastors, and parents alike.

In 2008 he received the Educator of the Year award for San Juan Capistrano, California. His apologetics training was awarded Exemplary Status by the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean is listed among the top 100 apologists. He graduated summa cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary with a double Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Worldview Studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Traveling throughout the United States and abroad, Sean speaks at camps, churches, schools, universities, and conferences. He has spoken for organizations including Focus on the Family, the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth Specialties, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Association of Christian Schools International. Sean has also appeared as a guest on radio shows such as Focus on the Family, Point of View, Converse with Scholars, Stand to Reason as well as shows hosted by Hugh Hewitt, Frank Pastore, Michael Reagan, and others. 




Topic: Why Our Sexuality & Our Bodies Matter

Matthew Lee Anderson is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith. Anderson is the founder of MereOrthodoxy.com and writes periodically for Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and Relevant Magazine. He has been interviewed in media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The Associated Press.

A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, he is now a graduate student at Oxford University.



Topic: Why Bother With Apologetics? 

H.L. Hussmann travels locally and internationally leading mission teams and training Christians in evangelism and apologetics. He is the author of God's Greatest Passion: Every Christian, Everywhere, Sharing Jesus and Letters From a Martyred Christian. 

He has served as a Chi Alpha campus minister at Murray State University since 1996 where he graduated in Engineering Physics. He is a writer on assignment for Outreach Magazine and his wife Kara and three-year-old-son Siler are his life's second delight. 

H.L. is a resident speaker for Faith Ascent and a long time friend of the ministry.

H.L. and his wife Kara will be moving to Louisville, KY in the fall to plant Daylight Church daylightchurch.com.



Gregory R. Perry, Ph.D.
Topic: Christianity & Race Relations

Dr. Perry is the Associate Professor of New Testament & Director of the City Ministry Initiative at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Dr. Perry came to Covenant Seminary in 2003, following over ten years of ministry in local churches and on the mission field. While teaching theology in Australia, Dr. Perry chaired a task force to assess and support Australian church planters. He has also served on pastoral church staffs in Atlanta and Northern Virginia, working with small groups, pastoral care, and ministry to single adults.

Dr. Perry has been involved in several creative nonprofit ministries seeking to embody the Gospel while addressing social challenges in urban Atlanta and D.C. He is currently a board member of Third Millennium, an organization created to bring theological education to church leaders in the developing world. Dr. Perry has a heart to disciple students in creative cultural applications of the Gospel, which he carries out through the Seminary’s City Ministry Initiative.





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