The Center for Youth Ministry Training equips youth ministers and churches to develop theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries.
CYMT partners with congregations and individuals representing the theological views and diversity of mainline Protestant Christianity. We partner with mainline Protestant denominations including the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian (PCUSA), Cumberland Presbyterian, Lutheran (ECLA), Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, American Baptist, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Our partner seminaries are Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Memphis Theological Seminary.
Together, these core components create a more holistic approach to increase retention within youth ministry after residents graduate from CYMT.
Residents are part of a dynamic, grouplearning
community that provides encouragement and
support as they walk through ministry
Residents and churches receive one-on-one coaching from a youth ministry veteran to help master and apply critical skills.
In retreat-style, four times per semester, residents will be challenged to think theologically about ministry and empowered to create ministry programs that evoke deep, life-changing Christian faith
Residents get hands-on experience in a local church where they serve 25 hours weekly as a youth minister.
Residents receive pastoral care and encouragement, empowering them to seek wholeness in their life.
CYMT offers regional campuses in Tennessee and Texas through partnerships with Memphis Theological Seminary and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Partner churches are from multiple denominations within a four-hour radius of Memphis, TN and Austin, TX
One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
In Jesus Christ, God incarnate, whose death and resurrection make possible the reconciliation of God and humanity.
The Holy Spirit dwelling in every believer and in the church.
The Bible to be the inspired, authoritative Word of God.
Affirming the church is the most faithful expression of the body of Christ on earth and unity of all believers in Christ.
In the priesthood of believers, that all disciples of Jesus Christ are called to share in his ministry here on earth.
In ministry for and with youth, the church of today and tomorrow.
CYMT does not make doctrinal statements beyond our statement of faith instead choosing to openly balance the theological variances of mainline Protestant Christians by living out the widely-accepted Reformation statement, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
In 1999, Rev. Dietrich “Deech” Kirk was attending seminary at Memphis Theological Seminary and had a conversation with a friend about the frustrations of how to “do” youth ministry after leaving seminary. Deech’s friend had a solid theological background but no one had trained him in the actual day-to-day ins and outs of local church youth ministry. Deech went back to class and, instead of taking notes, wrote out his vision for a youth ministry institute that would educate and train youth ministers simultaneously.
In 2004, Mark DeVries and his senior pastor were discussing the need for a youth ministry training program to be sponsored by First Presbyterian Church in Nashville. Eventually, Mark and Deech met to discuss youth ministry consulting and discovered that God had given both of them the same vision for a youth ministry training program.
In 2005, a task force was created with members from Brentwood United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church with the intention of exploring the possibilities of starting a youth ministry training program. Both churches invested $25,000 to launch the program and empower the organization to raise the long-term support.
On March 1, 2006, with the approval of both the First Presbyterian Session and the Brentwood UMC Church Council, and the arrival of official incorporation documents, the Center for Youth Ministry Training was born.
In 2007 CYMT received a $925,000 grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation to help the CYMT develop its program, create a new campus, host a Youth Ministry Think Tank, and develop Lilly research into useable resources.
The inaugural CYMT class was commissioned to ministry in 2008.
CYMT officially partnered with Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS) in 2009 to create an innovative retreat based program, and CYMT students who complete the three-year program graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry through MTS. CYMT’s ministry expanded to serve churches in much of the Southeast region, including Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.
And in 2012, the first eight residents graduated from MTS with Masters degrees.
In May of 2015, the CYMT Board of Directors and the church leadership of Bethany UMC in Austin, Texas unanimously voted to partner to launch a CYMT campus in Texas. The first cohort of CYMT residents will begin at the Texas Regional Campus in the Fall of 2016. This expansion will allow CYMT to serve churches within a 3-hour radius of Austin, Texas including churches in Houston, San Antonio, and eventually Dallas and Fort Worth.
CYMT partnered with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2016 to create a retreat-based Master of Arts in Youth Ministry program to serve the Texas Region
In 2017, CYMT receives a $1.1 Million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to create a research-based incubator for innovation in youth ministry.
Emma Loane & Carlisle Jones
Jeremiah Law & Justin Bowers
Meggie McDowellInvest in Youth
Josh Vegors & Sam Tidball
Kara Jazombek & Garrett Gottlob
Sara Gaylon & Jason Smith
Trey Wince, Leigh DeVries, Teddy Christianberry, Courtney Blacksten, & Anna Wheeler
Ryan Nordon, Jose Suarez, & Jordan Burk