Reverend Sherri E. Barnes will lead Pfeiffer University’s Youth Theological Institute

April 27, 2016

Sherri_Barnes-smMisenheimer, N.C.Rev. Sherri E. Barnes has been named director of Pfeiffer University’s Youth Theology Institute (YeTI). An intensive two-week summer experience for theologically minded high school students supported by Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, YeTI will launch this summer, July 10-24. To learn more and register for YeTI, visit

Designed for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who seek to become highly qualified servant leaders and may consider church vocations, YeTI will offer an opportunity to explore longstanding theological ideals and put faith into action through hands-on learning and community service. Time will be divided between Pfeiffer’s undergraduate campus in Misenheimer, N.C., where students will learn the basics of Wesleyan theology, examine God’s call in their life and participate in community service and leadership training, and serving the Haws Creek community with The Foundation for Missional Wisdom in Asheville. With funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc., in place through 2019, the program will grow from 12 students in 2016 to 36 in each subsequent year. The number of communities and nonprofit organizations to be served by YeTI will also increase annually.

“Pfeiffer University’s strategic commitment to growing the church, most notably by nurturing future generations of church leaders, reflects Lilly Endowment’s approach to grantmaking, which by design supports people’s religious lives,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, Pfeiffer’s president. “Rev. Barnes, with extensive experience in youth ministry and development, is uniquely qualified to lead and administer the Youth Theology Institute as it becomes a reliable catalyst for developing high-quality church and community leaders.”

Rev. Barnes, since 2012 has served as Pfeiffer’s associate director for university and church relations and associate pastor of The Village Church, has been lead pastor of two North Carolina congregations, Marshville United Methodist Church and Bethel United Methodist Church and associate pastor for First United Methodist Church, Salisbury. She holds a master of divinity from Duke University, a bachelor of science in business administration from Youngstown State University (Ohio) and a leadership graduate certificate from Pfeiffer University. She is an Elder in full connection in the Western North Carolina Conference.

Pfeiffer University is one of 82 schools participating in the Youth Theology Institutes Initiative. The schools are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions. These include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches as well as Roman Catholic, nondenominational, Pentecostal and historic African American Christian communities.