Tell us about your experience with CYMT so far:
I joined the Center for Youth Ministry Training because I wanted to work in youth ministry, but had little experience actually running a youth program. I really enjoy the support of the other students in the program and the fellowship that happens when we have lunch between classes or stay up late studying for exams. The things I have learned … have given me a strong foundation for teaching biblical lessons to my youth.
So what’s happening at your church since you arrived?:
At Loretto United Methodist Church, I have been learning small town youth ministry from the ground up. When I came in August 2007, the church essentially had no youth program, and it has been a challenge to get the few parents and youth at the church to commit to the youth program. Despite low numbers, we have had a number of successful events. In January we converted one of the Sunday School classrooms into a youth room, complete with futons, coffee tables, and a Nintendo Wii. We did a lock-in at the church in January and had 8 youth from the community. We also had a video game night with 14 youth in attendance. In late March in conjunction with the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes we hosted a movie night at the church.
Tell us about something you’re proud of at Loretto UMC:
In March I started a ministry at the high school called Breakfast Club. We meet every Tuesday morning before school for donuts and juice and have a short devotion. We have consistently had an average of 7 youth, even after moving to a classroom because the administration said we could not give away donuts in the cafeteria. Breakfast Club has been a great way for me to get more involved in the lives of the softball girls that I coach at the local high school, and it has also been an opportunity for me to meet some of the youth at the high school who do not attend our church.
Any parting thoughts?:
Doing youth ministry in Loretto has been full of challenges, but it has also given me a lot of opportunities to learn and to grow. I may never have 100 youth, or 50, or even 20, but I am learning what it means to be present in the lives of youth and my youth are learning that Mountain Dew is “pop not Coke”, and hopefully they are learning to become more like Christ too.
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.