The Graduate Residency in Youth Ministry is unique to the Center for Youth Ministry Training. The residency program creates a whole-person learning environment by nurturing residents academically in the classroom, vocationally in the local church and through personal coaching, as well as emotionally and socially through peer interaction in a cohort of fellow graduate residents.
Graduate residents in the program gain experience in a 3-year supervised practicum as a youth director in a local church while earning a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry through our partnership with Memphis Theological Seminary. Acceptance to the residency program is competitive and is limited to a cohort of 12 graduate residents per year.
The CYMT graduate residency in Youth Ministry includes:
CYMT partners with churches from different denominations in Nashville and Memphis regions including North Alabama, North Mississippi, Eastern Arkansas, Southern Kentucky, and Middle and West Tennessee.
Graduate residents are matched up with partner churches following acceptance to the CYMT. Several factors determine which partner church is a good match for each graduate resident, including denominational background, theology, personality, and experience. Graduate Residents do not choose the partner church, but they do have the opportunity to participate in an informal interview with the church to make sure it is a good fit prior to starting the CYMT program. Partner churches apply to the CYMT program as well. We are looking for churches that have a heart for youth ministry. We expect our partner churches to meet certain expectations as well as agree to be a part of the CYMT coaching process.
Our residents live, work, and study in driving distance of our headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, or Memphis Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. Housing is provided by the local churches residents serve.
The Graduate Residency at CYMT is designed to blend theological training with practical experience in the local church—a unique approach that develops youth ministers who are not only practical theologians but also theologically informed practitioners in youth ministry. On-the-job training combined with theological education will allow you to fully live into your call.
“Some youth ministry programs emphasize the learning of theory, others focus on practical skills, and still others emphasize internships or working in a church. What is unique about CYMT is our commitment to equip our graduate residents through balance and integration of all these foundations for youth ministry expertise.” – Andrew Zirschky, CYMT Academic Director
Burnout rate: Youth directors burnout rate is 3.9 years. CYMT’s training and coaching teach graduate residents how to sustain and thrive as a youth minister.
Staying power: Many youth ministers leave after 18-24 months, but many stay for years. There is a direct correlation between youth minister tenure and the health of a youth ministry. 70% of CYMT residents have continued to serve their churches beyond the length of the program.
Education matters: Only around 17% of paid youth workers have theological training, CYMT graduate residents are prepared both theologically and practically to develop strong youth ministries in your church.
Accountability: CYMT coaches hold both our residents and our partner churches accountable to developing the best youth ministry we can together. Open lines of communication allow for development and growth in the ministry.
Support: All CYMT coaches have over 12 years experience in a local church. Your coach and CYMT’s full time staff is there to ensure that youth ministry happens and to help when other “stuff” happens.
Community: A community of peer support and relationships are essential to youth director sustainability.
Debt Free: CYMT residents don’t get paid a lot of money, but they don’t build up debt from student loans either. At the end of the program, you will have 3-years solid experience, a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry, and a reference from the top youth ministry training program in the country.