Toby has been the youth minister at First United Methodist Church in Hartselle, Alabama for the last 10 years and has been in youth ministry since 1996. Toby heard about the “Veteran Track” in the CYMT program and was immediately hooked. He knew that if he wanted to last in youth ministry for the long haul that he would need some tools.
Toby delights when he talks about the close-knit community of Hartselle and the emphasis that his church places on Children’s and Student Ministries. In fact, their Discovery Weekend for youth ends up being a church-wide event. That’s impressive! The importance placed on youth ministry is just one of the many reasons that First UMC has been going strong for over 100 years.
Toby is in his final year with CYMT and will graduate in May. While he will miss his cohort of fellow youth ministers, he knows their relationships will continue to grow as they all move on to the next leg of their Youth ministry journeys.
We asked Toby how has CYMT has helped him even though he came to the program as a veteran youth minister?
“While my overall ‘ethos’ of ministry has not changed, I now have better words and research to describe what I want to accomplish and I am better able to articulate a vision of what is possible.”
CYMT Executive Director, Dietrich Kirk, has visited Toby’s ministry several times over the past couple of years and observed, “Toby has built a tremendous team of volunteers. With CYMT’s help, Toby and the team developed a vision and a discipleship plan that has allowed everyone to get on the same page and start rowing in the same direction.” He went on to say, “Toby was a really good youth minister before CYMT, but the classes have pushed him to another level. Toby used to try and implement what he read or heard about others doing. He is now developing effective youth ministry that others will do well to imitate.”
And congratulations are in order! Toby will be recommended by the Board of Ordained Ministry to the Clergy Session of Annual conference to be commissioned as a provisional deacon. Toby, all of us at CYMT are extremely proud to call you one of our own. Thank you for your hard work.
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.