Dietrich Kirk

Executive Director

“Deech” Kirk has been in youth ministry for 20+ years. He served as the youth minister of Brentwood United Methodist Church for six years before becoming the Executive Director of the CYMT in 2006. He continues to serve as one of Brentwood’s associate ministers. He is the author of Raising Teens in an Almost Christian World: A Parent’s Guide and one of the co-authors of Now What? Next Steps in Your New Life with Christ. When he is not leading the CYMT, speaking at youth events, or training other youth workers, Deech enjoys spending time with his wife Keeley and daughters Carlisle and Hallie.

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Lesleigh Carmichael

Associate Director

Lesleigh oversees CYMT’s Southeast Region and directs the coaching process for the CYMT residents. She has been with CYMT from the beginning and transitioned to her role of Associate Director in the summer of 2016 from the many roles she had before. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). When she is not working at CYMT, Lesleigh enjoys spending time with her husband, Jamey, and their two daughters. Lesleigh also serves as a lead consultant with Ministry Architects.

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Andrew Zirschky

Academic Director

Andrew holds a M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He
has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.

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Teresa Kingsbury

Texas Regional Director

Teresa Kingsbury has 25+ years of experience in Children’s and Youth Ministry. Her ministerial experience includes serving as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Laguna Hills United Methodist Church in California as well as Student Ministries Pastor at Bethany UMC in Austin, Texas for 12 years. Appointed to Bethany UMC, she continues to serve on the Pastor staff. Teresa and her husband Chris have 3 children (Chad, Eric and Kellie) and 6 grandchildren (Erin, Meribeth, Shia, Miles, Kate, and Finn). Teresa enjoys the outdoors, cooking, reading and time with family and friends.

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Brady Banks

Development Director

Brady directs development efforts for the fulfillment of CYMT’s mission. He has spent over a decade as a nonprofit manager and development officer in organizations in Tennessee. Most recently, he served as the executive director of The Contributor, Nashville’s homeless street newspaper and magazine, where he led a financial turnaround and strategic revitalization of the social enterprise. He’s a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Mercer University. He’s married to Rev. Kristin Clark-Banks and the devoted father of Thaddeus. He’s a Nashville sports enthusiast, frequent world traveler, and ebullient lay preacher and teacher. He loves being a part of a team dedicated to training youth ministers, making young disciples and creating the Church’s future.

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Kris Konsowitz

Memphis Area Director

Kris served as the Director of Youth Ministries and Young Adults at Collierville United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn. for more than two decades. She is married to Bob and they have three children: Melissa, Chris, and Laura. Kris serves the Memphis region coaching, supervising coaches, and partnering with churches to build foundations for effective youth ministry.

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Dea Wathen

Recruiting Coordinator

Dea Wathen is the Recruiting Coordinator at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kentucky Wesleyan College and then went on to graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as a Youth Minister in Fayetteville, TN as part of CYMT’s Graduate Residency. Shelives in Louisville, KY with her husband David and son Davis. Dea loves running, talking about life, and exploring coffee shops. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

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Anna Kathryn Simmons

Marketing Coordinator

Anna Kathryn (AK) is the Marketing Coordinator at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communication Studies from Mississippi State University. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as the Project Leader and Associate Artist at the Foundation for Hospital Art in Atlanta, GA. She lives in East Nashville with her husband Andrew and two dogs, Piper and Crosby. AK is a singer, songwriter, and plant lover. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

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Corrie Summerville

Business Administrator

Corrie works as the Business Administrator at CYMT. After graduating from Auburn University, she moved to Nashville where she has worked in both the public and nonprofit accounting fields. Corrie lives in Franklin, Tenn. with her husband, Joe, and their two sons, Jack and Ben.

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Mark Devries

Co-Founder

For over 20 years, Mark has served as Associate Pastor for Youth and their Families at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn., where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis. Additionally, Mark is the founder of Youth Ministry Architects, a hands-on coaching service for churches whose youth ministries are in transition (intentional or unexpected) or churches who hope to see their youth ministries move to the next level. He is also the author of Family Based Youth Ministry and Sustainable Youth Ministry.

Lindsay Brooks

Events Operations Manager

Lindsay has a Masters in Religion with a focus in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Clemson University.  She manages CYMT major events for Graduate residents to attend and those where they bring their ministries.  She previously served in student ministry for 12 years, 9 years at Brentwood UMC just outside of Nashville and 3 years at Northbrook UMC just outside of Atlanta.  Her husband is in Video Production and they often have fun making family videos with their two little boys Parker and Preston.  Lindsay loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Email Lindsay

Andrew Zirschky

Academic Director

Andrew holds a M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He
has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.

Email Andrew

Kate Unruh

Managing Director

Kate holds an M.Div and M.A. in youth ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she is also a Doctoral Candidate in practical theology.  Kate co-directs the Innovation Grant and teaches education and formation at Memphis Theological Seminary. Her research interests include youth ministry, confirmation, and the intersection of youth, faith, and culture. Kate is married to Kyle, an architect. When they are not chasing around their two young children, they like to travel, cook, and watch KU basketball.

 

Email Kate

 

Mark Taylor

Research & Resource Coordinator

Mark received his Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary and his bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Spanish from Calvin College.  He has over a decade of working with youth in the church as a volunteer and as a youth minister.  Though Mark resides in Memphis with his wife, numerous dogs, and two snakes, he hails from the North and enjoys Big Ten sports in an otherwise SEC culture.  When he’s not trying to save the world with an awesome CYMT team, he enjoys all things sports, animals, reading, and trying to finish writing his detective series (seriously).

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Lindsay Brooks

Events Operations Manager

Lindsay has a Masters in Religion with a focus in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Secondary Education from Clemson University.  She manages CYMT major events for Graduate residents to attend and those where they bring their ministries.  She previously served in student ministry for 12 years, 9 years at Brentwood UMC just outside of Nashville and 3 years at Northbrook UMC just outside of Atlanta.  Her husband is in Video Production and they often have fun making family videos with their two little boys Parker and Preston.  Lindsay loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Email Lindsay

Dea Wathen

Recruiting Coordinator

Dea Wathen is the Recruiting Coordinator at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kentucky Wesleyan College and then went on to graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as a Youth Minister in Fayetteville, TN as part of CYMT’s Graduate Residency. Shelives in Louisville, KY with her husband David and son Davis. Dea loves running, talking about life, and exploring coffee shops. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

Email Dea

Tiffany Malone

Recruiter

Tiffany is an alumni of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. She graduated from the Northeast Nazarene University and Memphis Theological Seminary. She is the youth minister at Hope UMC in Denver, Colorado.

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Southeast Coaches

Dee Wells

Coach

Dee Moore Wells is a third generation Disciple minister and has spent many years at Bethany Hills as a counselor or director of camps. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and is serving as Senior Minister at First Christian Church in Livingston, Tenn. She is married to Al Wells, and they live together on a 10 acre mountainside with dogs, cats, a brood of chickens and a host of goats. She has two children, David and Dana, and two grandchildren, Lizzy and Clay. Dee enjoys camping, boating, golfing, backpacking, entertaining friends, vegetable gardening, watching good movies, and reading.

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J Nelson

Coach

J Nelson has been the Director of Youth Ministries at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi since August 2013.  J initially began working in youth ministry while in college at Mississippi State University, continued throughout his time studying at Wesley Biblical Seminary and is approaching nearly 18 years in the field all directly associated with the local church. Specific to youth ministry, J has an affinity for Middle School ministry, the creative process and how it can shape what we communicate, as well as one-on-one discipleship opportunities.  J lives in Madison, Mississippi with his wife, Wesley, and their three children.

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Robert Mercer

Coach

Robert Mercer is the Family Formation Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham Alabama.  Robert works with the youth and children staff and leads the confirmation program.  He began working with students in college where he was also known as “Southpaw” the Mascot of the University of South Alabama. Robert has over twenty years experience working with students and families. He was ordained in the United Methodist Church and did his seminary work at Memphis Theological Seminary. Robert is married to Dr. Tracey Mercer and they have two children, Drew and Hannah.
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Lisa Long

Coach

Lisa Long is the Middle School Pastor at Belmont Church in Nashville where she has served Belmont’s Mosaic Youth for nearly six years. She has walked with the group through two youth pastor transitions; during the last transition she served as Interim Youth Pastor for a little over a year. Lisa earned a Doctor of Divinity from Tabernacle Bible College & Seminary where she is pursuing her Ph.D. She has 20 years of experience as an ordained minister. Teaching, training, and shaping youth and young adults is her passion. She enjoys life with her husband, Tom, who is a Worship Director. Her daughter, Bethany, is in college at Belmont University. Her son, Isaiah, graduates from high school this year.

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Kris Lott

Coach

Kris Lott was in the first graduating class of CYMT and has served as the Director of Youth Ministry at Calvary United Methodist Church since 2004. Kris graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in history. He is currently finishing his Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University. Kris is married to Allison and has three daughters, Jenny, Claire, and Molly. When not in school or working, Kris enjoys coaching his daughters’ different teams, playing sports, and relaxing at the lake.

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Jim Hinkle

Coach

Jim is a youth minister at Sycamore View Church of Christ, Memphis, TN. He’s been in full-time youth ministry for 20 years and has been serving in Memphis since 2005. Jim has had the opportunity to adjunct at several universities and seminaries, and he’s passionate about connecting the mind and heart in ministry. Jim lives intentionally in an inner city neighborhood in the heart of Memphis with his wife, Stacy, and their five children.

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Jerrod Gunter

Coach

Jerrod Gunter currently serves as the Youth Pastor at New Direction Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn. Prior to joining New Direction, Jerrod worked for the Urban Youth Initiative serving as an Educational Outreach Specialist. For six years, Jerrod also worked at Youth Villages, working as a Teacher-Counselor, Senior Supervisor, Senior Program Manager, and a Transitional Living Senior Specialist. The Lakeland, Fla., native earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2001 from Tusculum College. He has a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy in 2008 from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn. He is married to Lakeicha, and they have three children, Dezmon, Ariana, and Jalen.

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Joanna Cummings

Coach

Joanna Cummings is the Minister of Children and Spiritual Formation at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN where she has served since 2009. Previously, Joanna has worked in youth ministry, serving churches in middle TN as well as middle school camp ministries. Joanna is an alumnae of CYMT with a Master’s degree in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. Additionally, Joanna is a curriculum writer and enjoys resourcing others in ministry and in faith. She is passionate about nurturing the spirituality of children, their families and bringing generations together in the faith community. Joanna is married to Chris, and they have a dog named Shalom. You can usually find them creating up-cycled art and doing DIY projects around the home.

Email Joanna

Toby Chastain

Coach

Toby is an alumni of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. He graduated from the Huntingdon College and Memphis Theological Seminary. He is the youth minister at FUMC Hartselle, Alabama.

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Trey Carey

Coach

Trey is the Pastor of Youth and College Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He has a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Seminary and is currently finishing up a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Seminary in Youth, Family, and Culture. He is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church and has been in full-time youth and family ministry for over 15 years. Trey is married to Abbey and they have two kids, Lilly Broox and William. He is also a lover of music and boasts of being able to sing and play the guitar…as well as at least three songs on the piano (unfortunately, all of them are from the Frozen soundtrack). Trey is passionate about encouraging and equipping people of all ages to grow in their relationships with Christ and others.

Email Trey

Texas Coaches

Rozella White

Coach

Rozella Haydée White is a life and leadership coach, creator, and consultant. She is the owner of RHW Consulting, which focuses on accompanying individuals, organizations and communities as they figure out how to live meaningful lives by embracing the fullness of who they are. As a writer, teacher, preacher and public theologian, Rozella is a known presence, boldly engaging issues of faith, justice, self awareness and love, mental illness and the radical and trans-formative love of God as embodied in the person of Jesus. She is committed to the pursuit of justice and accompanies people as they build communities of connection, empowerment and support for resistance against injustice. Rozella is desperately seeking justice, mercy, humility and love. She believes that everyone is gifted and has the power to transform themselves, their communities and the world when they tap into their most authentic self.

Joshua Warthen

Coach

Joshua is a graduate of Howard Payne University and though he does not possess nun-chuck skills, bow-hunting skills or computer hacking skills, he does hold a degree in theology and bible. Teaching teenagers stuff like “it is in the Bible to not wrestle your neighbor” is what Joshua lives for. He and his wife, Kristin, have two daughters, Catherine and Mikayla. Joshua has served at several churches with the most recent being St. John the Apostle UMC. Joshua looks forward to partnering with parents to provide a positive spiritual influence that inspires students to be involved in the culture-changing power of Christ.

Whitney Waller-Cole

Coach

Whitney Waller-Cole currently serves as the Minister of Faith Development and Mission at Creekwood Christian Church, where she has served for over four years. As a pastor, Whitney loves to serve, teach, and empower other faithful Christians to work through and for God’s love, justice, and peace. Whitney is passionate about learning to be a better ally and advocate for dear ones living life in the margins; laughing with friends and loved ones; living authentically and attuned to God’s will and work; and finding the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Kit Tomlison

Coach

Rev. Kit Tomlison is a youth pastor at Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church. Prior to his current position he created and served a skateboard ministry in San Antonio, TX for 8 years. He has served in youth ministry professionally and in volunteer roles for the past 19 years. Kit graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech University and a Master of Arts in Youth ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. His wife is Rev. Leslie Tomlison and he has two children. Fun Fact: Kit doesn’t like Chocolate.

Adam Thorton

Coach

Adam is the Senior Pastor at Dripping Springs United Methodist Church, in Dripping Springs, TX, and is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.  He is a youth ministry veteran of 18 years and continues to be very passionate about youth ministry at the local church level.  Adam holds a MTh from Austin Graduate School of Theology, and a MDiv from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He and his wife Melanie have two kids (Lauren and Michael) who are currently in college. Adam enjoys teaching scripture and serving with the wonderful people at DSUMC.

Jenny Monahan

Coach

Jenny Monahan is the founding and acting Executive Director of UM ARMY SWTX/Río Texas where she has served since 2003. Jenny is passionate about sharing the Greatest Commandment and leads/mentors others so that they can truly have success in living a life of faith. Jenny has close to 30 years professional experience in youth ministry and has served United Methodist Churches in Wimberley, New Braunfels and League City, Texas. Jenny holds a degree from Texas State University with an emphasis in secondary education.  Jenny and her family live in Wimberley, Texas where she and husband Thomas have raised their sons, Blake and Brazos.

Randy Knighten

Coach

Randy Knighten has worked in youth and urban ministry in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas since 2000. He currently serves as youth minister at Covenant UMC in Austin, Texas. Randy and his wonderful wife, Maya, have two amazing sons. Randy is also completing a master’s degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Abby Johnson

Coach

Abby was the Director of Student Ministries at Arborlawn UMC in Fort Worth, TX from 2002 – 2016 and is now focusing on Adult Discipleship. Prior to coming to Arborlawn she graduated with a degree in Social Work from TCU, worked at Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center, and volunteered with the Methodist Children’s Home. Combined that’s 20 years working with teens and their families! She loves building relationships with whole families and creating opportunities and events where participants have the chance to meet God on multiple levels. She lives in Fort Worth with her husband Mike, and 3 year old son, Trent.  When not working, they spend time traveling to State Parks in their camper, connecting with each other and to God.

Joel Griffin

Coach

Joel has worked with youth and families for 20 years through the United Methodist Church all over Texas. He is currently the youth pastor at Fredericksburg UMC in Fredericksburg, Texas. He is married to Rene and has three girls, Reese, 13, Robbie Jane, 12, and Ryan, 9. Joel enjoys doing anything outdoors, college football, going to baseball games, movies and hanging out with family.

Eddie Erwin

Coach

Eddie Erwin has been in youth ministry for over 20 years.  He started as an intern while in college at the University of Oklahoma, spent 11 years in the local church youth ministry before stepping into his current role as Director of Youth & Young Adults for the Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church.  He lives with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Quint, Kate, & Corbin James in Klein, Texas.

Russ Boyd

Coach

 A native of Radford, Virginia, Russ earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University as a Religion and Political Science in  2000. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Brite Divinity School in 2003, and was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) after graduation. During his seminary years, Russ served as Youth Minister at Creekwood Christian Church in Flower Mound, Texas. After graduation and ordination, he accepted a call to serve as Associate Minister at Collierville Christian Church near Memphis, TN. In 2007, Russ was called as Associate Minister for Youth at University Christian Church of Fort Worth where he served for nearly 10 years. Russ currently serves as a Deputy Command Chaplain in the Army Reserve. Outside of church, Russ enjoys traveling and finding great restaurants , dabbling in home improvement projects, and attempting DIY endeavors. Russ’ wife, Sarah, is also a lifelong Disciple and TCU alumna. They have four children.