CYMT Graduates on their last retreat: L to R (standing) Taylor Young, David Thompson, Robert Sturdivant, Maria Ghianni, Daniel Bradley, Abby Prevost, Philip Galyon, Dwight Johnson, Jenn Parrish, Samantha Hassell, Phil Rogers (seated), Tina Boyd, Carlisle Jones (kneeling)
On May 16, 2015, eleven Center for Youth Ministry Training graduate residents received their Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry degree from Memphis Theological Seminary. Two graduate residents completed their certificate in Youth Ministry from CYMT and are continuing their studies to receive their Masters of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary.
Daniel Bradley from St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tenn., shared, “CYMT has prepared me for the valleys of the ministry just as much as they’ve prepared me for the mountains. They have prepared me to approach ministry from many vantage points that will prayerfully aid me in working with the Lord in establishing a youth ministry that survives way beyond my existence. CYMT has prepared me not to look for immediate results in ministry, that ministry takes time to grow and even long for the students. CYMT has prepared me to work with youth for the long run all the while building me up in my own personal pursuit of God for my own life.”
Dwight Johnson at Preston Taylor Ministries, Nashville, Tenn., added, “It is so rare to be given the opportunity to learn in such a holistic setting. The rigorous academic foundation of CYMT alongside the hands-on ministry experience of the program has provided me with an unparalleled first three years in working with youth. I have gained friends and mentors who will continue to shape my practice and understanding of youth ministry for years to come.”
Daniel went on to say that, “If anything, the classroom taught me the importance of careful and robust theological formation in shaping the lives of young people in our churches and congregations. My coursework has taught me how to approach students by taking in-depth looks at the student as person and as spirit. The classroom has equipped me to be able to effectively put me ideas on paper, to accurately articulate the many modes of planning, implementing, and sustaining youth ministry for the service of student, but most importantly for the service of God!”
Dwight said, “We live in an exceptionally large and diverse world. The classroom of CYMT provided a space to learn about the variety of views what ministry in a way that was both respectful and nurturing. My understanding has been broadened and my philosophy of ministry formed in a way that empowers me towards significant leadership of the youth of today’s church.”
We are thrilled to share that all the graduates will be serving in local congregations after graduation. We celebrate this accomplishment and pray God’s blessing on them as they continue to live out their callings.
Tina Boyd – St. James Episcopal Church, Greeneville, SC
Daniel Bradley – St. George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, TN
Philip Galyon – First United Methodist Church, West Memphis, AR
Maria Ghianni – First United Methodist Church, Carthage, TN
Samantha Hassell – Sturgis Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Sturgis, KY
Dwight Johnson – Preston Taylor Ministries, Nashville, TN
Carlisle Jones – First United Methodist Church, Franklin, TN
Jennifer Parrish – First United Methodist Church, Lawrenceville, GA
Abby Prevost – Flat Lick Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Herndon, KY
Phil Rogers – First United Methodist Church, Lafeyette, CO
Robert Sturdivant – Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, AL
David Thompson – Trinity United Methodist Church, Birmingham, AL
Taylor Young – Clarksville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Clarksville, TN
CYMT is proud to announce the expansion of our original initiative into Theology Together 2.0. CYMT aims to develop a curriculum to be used in local congregations and ministries. Taking what we have learned about engaging youth in deep theological reflection during missional experiences and embedding those processes into congregational youth ministries.
"I hope students come away from my courses with the ability to think more deeply, richly and theologically about their youth ministry practice. I think a lot of what happens in youth ministry happens unreflectively and can be deforming to young people, and my courses are intended to give students a theological framework for evaluating and reforming their youth ministry practice."
Of course, I want students to drink deeply from the academic readings, lectures and discussions, and I want them to be informed by the academics. But more than that, I want them to see that youth ministry is a calling of God, an important part of God’s mission in the world, one that should give them pride and evoke humility at the same time.