About Your YBL Instructors – Asbury University
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Youth Becoming Leaders is run by Asbury University faculty and students from the Christian Studies and Philosophy department in partnership with Asbury Theological Seminary faculty, Youth for Christ staff, local ministry leaders, and a host of expert guests.

Worship Speakers

Aqueelah Ligonde

Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde is an enthusiastic speaker and leader with a passion for today’s generation of youth and women. Aqueelah holds a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry and a Certificate in Black Church Studies from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In 2011, she was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and became a member of the Presbytery of New York City. Aqueelah has worked with various organizations, institutions, and programs such as the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, Fuller Youth Institute, Urban Youth Workers Institute, Youth Specialties, Holmes Presbyterian Camp, PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer Program, and GenOn/Logos Ministries, plus others. For over a decade, Aqueelah served as Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Aqueelah is an International Coaching Federation (ICF)-trained coach through the Coach Approach Skills Training program.
She is currently the Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Far Rockaway, Consultant with Ministry Architects and the Vice President for Coaching and Training for Ministry Incubators, organizations that are designed to champion congregations and leaders to help them live into their full ministry potential.

Second Speaker TBA


Our 2022 Academic Speakers will be announced in Spring 2022.  Below are the speakers from 2021.

Dr. Brian Shelton is a Professor of Theology at Asbury University. While he’s written books on theology and the journeys of the New Testament apostles, one of his favorite things is to engage high schoolers on theology, the Bible, and leadership. As someone who found identity and purpose in serving others from his own youth group, it is meaningful for him to participate in this great experience in YBL.  Brian loves hiking and he is segmenting the Appalachian Trail, on track to finish if he lives to be 110. He regularly teaches in Rome, Italy, where he enjoys leading college students to the most important sites of church history. With his wife Sally, he has three daughters, which helps him appreciate the value of quality youth ministry programs even more.


Suzanne Nicholson came to Asbury University after teaching New Testament for 16 years at MaloneUniversity in Canton, Ohio. She received her Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from the University of
Durham in England, an M.Div. at Asbury Theological Seminary, and a B.A., magna cum laude, in journalism from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Nicholson is also an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church, where she previously served on the Board of Ordained Ministry in East Ohio. She currently serves on the Council for the Wesleyan Covenant Association, the editorial board of the Journal of Inductive Biblical Studies, and is the Assistant Lead Editor for Firebrand, a new online Wesleyan magazine. Her publications include an 8-week Bible study on Women in the New Testament for Seedbed, a chapter on Ephesians in the Wesley One Volume Commentary, and her book, Dynamic Oneness: The Significance and Flexibility of Paul’s One-God Language. She and her husband, Lee, have two college-aged children.


Dr. Julianne Burnett joined the faculty of Asbury University as the assistantprofessor of Old Testament in 2020. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester and her dissertation is titled “Was Moses Perceived as a Magician?” which delves into evidence of ancient Egyptian magico-religious practices as well as examining the Moses narratives in the Pentateuch.

Dr. Burnett has lived in England, Mexico, and the States and has been involved in theological education in a variety of contexts. She is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Institute for Biblical Research, and is a junior fellow of the Manchester Wesley Research Centre.


Dr. Jay Moon served 13 years as a missionary with SIM, largely in Ghana, West Africa among the Builsa peoplefocusing on church planting and water development, along with his wife and four children. He is presently a Professor of Evangelism & Church Planting and Director of the Office of Faith, Work, and Economics at Asbury Theological Seminary. He authored four books and also edited four books, including  Intercultural Discipleship: Learning From Global Approaches to Spiritual Formation. In addition to his role as a teaching pastor in a local church plant, Jay holds a Professional Civil Engineer’s license and his MBA focused on social entrepreneurship. His hobbies include axe throwing, small business incubation, and tree houses.



Brian HullBrian Hull is the program director and is a professor of Youth Ministry at Asbury University. Brian has over 20 years of youth ministry experience and has been the director of the CALL Conference, a weekend experience for High School students who are called to ministry, since 2009.


James K. Hampton is the professor of youth ministry and practical theology at Asbury Theological Seminary. A veteran of youth ministry for over 25 years, he co-founded Barefoot Ministries, a publishing company in the Wesleyan tradition and served as the coordinator of Youth Ministries (USA/Canada) for the Church of the Nazarene from 1999 to 2001. In addition, he spent nine years on ministerial staff in churches in Ohio and Kansas. He is a well-respected writer, having written numerous articles and chapters for youth and youth workers, including serving as the author and/or editor of seven books, including Worship-Centered Teaching, Everyday Saint, and his most recent book, Sacred Space: Living in the Presence of God. Jim and his wife, Carolyn, have two children.


Kevin Becht is the Southern Indiana Area Director for Youth for Christ/USA. He is a graduate of Asbury University (B.A. Christian Ministries/Intercultural Studies Concentration).

He served as a contributing editor of The YFC Three Story Bible and The Life Bible-zine with Tyndale Publishers, as well as a member of the Leadership Development team as a facilitator of One Heart Retreats (the initial training experience for YFC missionaries serving around the world).

He and his wife Kristi have been married for twenty-five years. They have three children. Joshua (Asbury Class of 2018), Hannah (Asbury Class of 2021), and Caleb (who plans to attend Asbury).


Jenna Brock is the Assistant Director for YBL.  She graduated Asbury Seminary with a Masters of Divinity degree andhas worked with youth, youth pastors, and churches for 16 years.  Jenna is an active member of the community serving in her church and on the board of Leadership Jessamine.  Jenna and her husband Roger have been married for 7 years and have two boys. They all love to be outside as much as possible.