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Austin Seminary partners with CYMT to open an extension campus in Nashville

BY: The Center for Youth Ministry Training

Previously, CYMT was limited geographically to serving West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and North Alabama. The Austin Seminary Nashville extension campus will allow CYMT to expand its service area to East Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

How Shifting Your Perspective Helps You Recruit and Retain Amazing Volunteers

BY: Amy Howell

Volunteers can multiply your ministry’s effectiveness. But, where do you start? How do you recruit volunteers? How do you utilize them?

Free Audio Download

Volunteers: How to recruit, train, celebrate, and retain volunteers

BY: The Center for Youth Ministry Training

You can download the audio and listen to it in the car, or listen while following along with slide notes.

How to move Youth from Consumption and Success to Human Flourishing

BY: The Center for Youth Ministry Training

How can we move young people towards a life of fulfillment in the midst of our consumer and achievement-driven culture? What does the “good life” look like through the lens of the Gospel in areas of wealth and in areas of poverty?

Five Keys to Volunteer Recruitment

BY: Dietrich "Deech" Kirk

Take some comfort knowing that many other youth ministers also struggle to recruit volunteers. It’s time to learn how to recruit them to your team.

It Happens: Snowed In – Severe Weather and Quickly Changing Plans

BY: Oeland Camp

Excerpt from “It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry” by Oeland Camp Almost every youth minister has led a trip that turned into […]

It Happens: Mistake Snowball – When One Bad Decision Leads to Another

BY: Sara Bailey

'When I was at my second youth ministry job, I thought I knew it all.' Sarah Bailey recaps her lessons learned from mistakes made.

Graduate Resident Spotlight

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Graduate Resident Spotlight- Kaleigh Welch I have known my calling to youth ministry since high school. I grew up in the youth group at Bethany UMC […]

Alumni Spotlight

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Alumni Spotlight- Jose Suarez During my time at CYMT I learned more about who I am–what my gifts are and how to use them effectively in […]

Innovating Programs for Today’s Teens – Where to start?

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The Need for Innovation At some point in this history of the modern church, the terms “youth group” and “youth ministry” became indistinguishable from one another. […]

Understanding Your Youth Ministry Context

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by the Center for Youth Ministry Training What makes your community unique or special?  What are the real needs (not the perceived needs) of not only […]

Relational Rural Ministry: Adapting to a Small Town

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by Maria Ghianni-Wilkinson During my time as a Graduate Resident in CYMT, I learned so much that helped me grow as a youth minister; I also […]

Small Church Ministry

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by Paige Bach In my first year serving at a small church, there were fifteen youth regularly attending programming. In my second year, the number dropped […]

Basketball and the Unique Challenges of Urban Ministry

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by Dwight Johnson  I enjoy playing basketball and have enjoyed playing since I was about seven years old. I have always enjoyed all the moving pieces […]

Student Ministry in the Suburbs

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by Abby Johnson From Part of the Suburbs to Serving the Suburbs I live in a large city, but the church I serve cannot be classified […]

Texas Methodist Foundation funded grant, the CYMT Youth Ministry Innovation Lab, announces new cohort of churches

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Texas Methodist Foundation funded grant, the CYMT Youth Ministry Innovation Lab, announces new cohort of churches NASHVILLE, TENN. (August, 2019) – The Center for Youth Ministry […]

John Rivas, former Texas Methodist Foundation executive, joins staff at CYMT as Texas Development Director

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training (Tennessee and Texas) is excited to welcome John Rivas in the new role as Texas Development Director. CYMT continues to […]

How To Lead Effective Small Groups

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How to Lead Effective Small Groups by Jeremiah Stone 8/13/19 Establishing small groups can be one of the most challenging, yet fruitful aspects of your ministry. […]

Why Leading Discussion Groups Matters in Youth Ministry

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Why Leading Discussion Groups Matters in Youth Ministry by Dietrich Kirk 8/13/19 As youth workers, we find ourselves leading discussion groups regularly. Some discussions happen over […]

Welcome Class of 2022 Grad Residents!

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CYMT has something spectacular to celebrate: we have a new class of residents! We know God is at work in each of our new graduate residents. […]

Welcome to Youth Group! Helping Students and Parents Transition Into Youth Ministry

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By Andrew Davis 7/30/19 As youth pastors, we must be intentional about how we welcome our new 6th or 7th graders into the youth ministry. Church […]

Announcing the CYMT Youth Ministry Job Board: A Place for Churches and Ministry Professionals to Connect

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Announcing the CYMT Youth Ministry Job Board A Place for Churches and Ministry Professionals to Connect In its over thirteen years of existence, the Center for […]

Creating Space for Students with Special Needs

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By Ryan Nordon 6/25/19 The task of ministry is inviting everyone to the table to experience the good news of the Gospel and God’s grace. It […]

Innovation Lab Spotlight

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Innovation Lab Spotlight- Courtney Blacksten Participating in the Innovation Lab has been a breath of fresh air for my ministry. I have become more creative and […]

How to Build a Mental Health Referral Guide: 5 Critical Steps to Take Now

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By Kat Bair 6/10/19 Youth ministers have all been taught that when the struggles of a teenager seem like more than you’re equipped to handle, to […]

Dear CYMT Fellows

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Dear CYMT Fellows, I call on all of your wisdom as all people who have stood exactly where I am now – at the very last […]

Youth Trips and Safety Principles

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9-1-1 Youth Trips and Hospital Visits By: Kelly Soifer “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Most Americans will recognize those words […]

The Big Trip Question- To Send Home or Not Send Home?

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By Karen Jones The Big Trip Question- To Send Him Home or Not to Send Him Home? I was just completing my first year at the large, […]

Holy Week Devotional- The Whole Truth

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The Whole Truth By Caleigh Smith “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which […]

Lent Prayer Station: Seven Places

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Lent Prayer Station: Seven Places By Dietrich Kirk This prayer guide is perfect to use for your youth group during Lent or as a part of […]

Including Youth With Developmental Disabilities- Lessons from my Friend Carter

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Letters to a Youth Worker is a collection of letters from some of the best youth ministers in the country. It was published by CYMT in […]

CYMT’s 2019 Distinguished Youth Minister Award- Sam Tidball

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Samantha “Sam” Tidball, Youth Pastor for Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, has been awarded “The Distinguished Youth Minister Award” from The Center for Youth Ministry Training […]

CYMT Partners with Texas Methodist Foundation to Expand Innovation Labs in Youth Ministry

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training awarded $220,000 grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation for the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry The Center for Youth Ministry […]

Helping Teenagers Reflect Theologically- WOW Theological Method

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By Dietrich Kirk (The WOW Theological Method draws on knowledge from Dr. Andrew Zirschky’s work on theological reflection with youth.)  I was walking down the row […]

Helping Teens Lament

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By Dietrich Kirk What should our relationship with God look like? God is full of grace, forgiveness, and love. God is often referred to as a Good […]

The Hamster Wheel of Stress and Anxiety

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By Sharon Galgay Ketcham, PhD Justin’s eyes flash with fear, “What if I’m not good enough?” I’m sitting across the table from a high school junior before […]

Helping Youth Ministry Volunteers Succeed

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By: Toby Chastian Several years ago, a volunteer walked into my office and told me that he wasn’t going to be working with my students on […]

Teenage Anxiety Can’t Be Ignored by Youth Ministry

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By Andrew Zirschky 1/23/19   Teens today are soft. Teens need to toughen up. They’re kids—what do they have to worry about?   We love our […]

Dr. Andy Root shares why we should be talking to teenagers about racism, gender & sexuality, and mental health.

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It’s Not a Conference. It’s a Conversation. Cultivate: A Thoughtful Youth Ministry Conversation | Jan 24-25, 2019   CULTIVATE   Dr. Andy Root: Why we should […]

It’s Not a Conference. It’s a Conversation.

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It’s Not a Conference. It’s a Conversation Cultivate: A Thoughtful Youth Ministry Conversation Nashville, TN | January 24-25, 2019   CULTIVATE   I’m a Lutheran. I’m […]

CYMT Innovation Lab Announces 10 Lead Innovators and Partner Congregations

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CYMT Innovation Laboratory Announces 10 Partner Congregations The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Innovation Laboratory, made possible with funding from the Lilly Endowment, has selected 10 […]

Four Lessons from the Outside

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by Mark Taylor This past fall, my position in youth ministry was cut from my church.  It marked a time of transition and uncertainty.  I had […]

Run to the Ditches

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by Chris Cummings The original article can be found here. http://www.ourreclaimedlife.com/life/run-to-the-ditches My heart aches. My heart aches for the awful violence happening in our world, specifically […]

Preparing Our Hearts: Discussing the season of Lent

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by Kelly Soifer Originating in the fourth century of the church, the season of Lent spans 40 weekdays beginning on Ash Wednesday and climaxing during Holy […]

Time Management in Ministry: Using a Rhythmic Week Schedule

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Time management in ministry is an essential skill for everyone, whether you are the CEO of a major corporation or a stay at home parent. The […]

Grace: The Presence of God

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by Kyle Bomar [This article is adapted from a message during the Collide service week.]   Where Do We Find God?   Where is God? Where […]

The Challenge of Time Management in Youth Ministry

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by Lesleigh Carmichael 1/31/18 Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man […]

Anna Wheeler – CYMT provides a community that says, “me too.”

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Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Anna Wheeler is a woman who will strike you with her huge smile, infectious personality, and gentle spirit. She has […]

Emily Mastin – CYMT has been a reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life

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Emily Mastin, class of 2017, recently graduated from CYMT’s Graduate Residency program. Through her three years in residency she has served at Franklin First United Methodist […]

Josh Rains – I received much more than an education

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CYMT provided an education that pushed me to seek after God in study, worship, and conversation. I received much more than an education, though.  CYMT is […]

Will the Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up?

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by Kat Bair AVOIDING THE TOPIC I sat in our youth building across from our new Director of Stewardship on staff. She had come over to […]

A Red-Eye to London and the Gift of a Savior

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by Pierce Drake The cooler air… The shorter days… The gatherings of family and friends… The gifts, food, carols, music… The Christmas eve candlelight services…   […]

Bonhoeffer and bin Laden: Why we can’t Rejoice

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by Andrew Zirschky It is ironic that exactly a week after Christians in America were overcome with the emotion of Easter, that they were overcome again […]

CYMT is Awarded $1.1 Million Grant from the Lilly Endowment for the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training is excited to announce receiving a $1.1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment for the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry. […]

Back to School Prayer Stations

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by Steph Dodge 9/28/17 It’s a new school year, and these Back to School Prayer Stations can help your students process their worries and excitement, and […]

Three Spiritual Truths from Wonder Woman

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by Jason Sansbury When the box office season began for the summer of 2017, not many people anticipated the amount of success that Warner Brothers would […]

Theological Reflection with Teenagers in the Wake of Charlottesville

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  By: Dietrich Kirk and Dr. Andrew Zirschky In the wake of Charlottesville and all that has occurred since, we join many Americans who find themselves […]

A Veteran Youth Minsters Story – Toby Chastain

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Toby Chastain First United Methodist Church, Hartselle, Alabama Toby has been the youth minister at First United Methodist Church in Hartselle, Alabama for the last 10 […]

Whoever Loses His Network: Beyond Fear & Anxiety in Networked Individualism

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by Andrew Zirschky, Ph.D. Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt of Dr. Andrew Zirschky’s book Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected But Alone Generation, […]

Uniting Your Camp and Mission Experiences

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by Fred Reyes, Senior Director of Camps & Recreation, Deer Run Camps & Retreats For six summers, middle school through high school, I was positively impacted […]

YES, YOU CAN! Planning a Successful Youth Retreat

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by April Kuykendall, Guest Services Manager, Deer Run Camps & Retreats Whether this is your first retreat to plan or you’ve done this many times, eliminate […]

Mentioning the Unmentionable: Sex Ed in the Church (Part 3)

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This is part three of a three part series. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2. by Scott Gillenwaters There are those who believe […]

Mentioning the Unmentionable: Sex Ed in the Church (Part 2)

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This is part two of a three part series. Click here to read Part 1 and Part 3. by Scott Gillenwaters Teaching sexuality in the church […]

Mentioning the Unmentionable: Sex Ed in the Church (Part 1)

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This is part one of a three part series. Click here to read Part 2 and Part 3. by Scott Gillenwaters You can tell a three-year-old […]

Book Review: Facing “The Talk” – Conversations with My Four Daughters About Sex

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by Tess Frohock “SEX!?” Talking about sex with our children can be one of most frightening things we face as parents. As both a parent of […]

Book Review: Special Needs Parenting

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by Sara Galyon The topic of children with special needs is becoming more and more prevalent in the youth ministry world, as it should be. One […]

Texas Regional Campus Launches in Austin

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CYMT is excited to announce the launch of our Texas Regional Campus in Austin, TX! CYMT has partnered with Bethany United Methodist Church and Austin Presbyterian […]

Happy 10th Birthday, CYMT!

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Happy 10th Birthday to the Center for Youth Ministry Training! On March 1, 2006 the session of First Presbyterian Church, Nashville officially voted to join Brentwood […]

From Ireland to Lewisburg – Meet Linzi Anderson

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Linzi Anderson hails from Northern Ireland and is a graduate of the School of Chemistry at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. “After college I […]

Digital Demands: What Networked Individualism Requires of Youth

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by Andrew Zirschky, Ph.D. Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt of Dr. Andrew Zirschky’s book Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected But Alone Generation, […]

Presence Text: Why Short Messages Mean More Than You Think

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by Andrew Zirschky, Ph.D. Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt of Dr. Andrew Zirschky’s book Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected But Alone Generation, […]

We Are ONE: Team Cohesiveness and Teamwork

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By Kathryn Dilworth, Camp Director, Deer Run Camps & Retreats Together, we are functioning well in accomplishing our mission. Can you say that? Can your team […]

It is Your Turn to Give a Gift

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by Abraham McIntyre, Chief Volunteer Officer, Appalachia Service Project It is your turn to give a gift. Unfortunately, we give you no guarantee that you will […]

Creating Servant Leaders Through Volunteer Opportunities

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by Rachel Drummond, Program Manager—Recruitment & Hiring, Appalachia Service Project When Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans founded Appalachia Service Project back in 1969, he didn’t want volunteers […]

Volunteers Are Making a Difference

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by Walter Crouch, Chief Executive Officer, Appalachia Service Project According to the Housing Assistance Council in Washington D.C., Central Appalachia is one of five chronically poverty […]

Mission Trips for Discipleship

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by Lisa Pierce, Executive Director, Alabama Rural Ministry What really can happen on a mission trip? In what ways are youth impacted and how does that […]

Sharing in the BLESSing

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by Joe Davis, Director of Ministry Operations, Alabama Rural Ministry If we’re serious about practicing Jesus’ mission as mission with, our relationships with those we serve […]

Mission Grammar

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by Joe Davis, Director of Ministry Operations, Alabama Rural Ministry Language is powerful. When it comes to being on mission with Christ, the way we talk […]

An Atmosphere of Testimony

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by Diane Maloney In a world that is quick to post a picture, status, or tweet about every little action or thought, teenagers are so slow […]

This is a Brain. This is the Brain of an Adolescent Boy. Any Questions?

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Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Youth Minister as Pastor and Leader class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of CYMT’s Master […]

Balancing the Dichotomy of “Boy Code”

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Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Youth Minister as Pastor and Leader class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of CYMT’s Master […]

Making Progress in Mississippi

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Growing up in the small community of Oneonta, Ala. (population 6,600), Skyler Jones has known since junior high school that God’s call for his life was […]

Handling Personality Types in Small Groups

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by Dietrich Kirk 9/17/15 Handling personality types in small groups can be difficult. Groups are made up of a variety of people with a variety of personalities […]

Leading Discussions: Asking Good Questions

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Good discussions are rooted in good questions. Bad questions lead to bad discussion, but good questions can draw youth into the discussion and engage them in […]

Leading Discussions: Why Discuss?

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As youth workers, we find ourselves leading discussion groups regularly. Some discussions happen over coffee, some after significant life events, and some are a part of […]

Building a Cloud of Witnesses

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by Hank Hilliard I was one day graduated from college when I started my first youth ministry job. I was confident but clueless. There were several […]

Collide: Theology Together Summer Immersion Challenges Youth

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Youth and adults from 11 churches came to Fisk University in downtown Nashville where their world would Collide with God. Throughout the week their preconceived notions […]

Great Start to 2015

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Graduate Residency is off to a great start this fall with first academic retreat of the year taking place August […]

CYMT Welcomes 2015 Graduate Residents

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We are excited to 12 new graduate residents to the CYMT graduate residency this Fall.        

Fall 2015 Courses

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COURSES OFFERED FALL 2015 The following courses will be offered by Memphis Theological Seminary for students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree […]

Church Honors the Ministry of Their Graduate Resident

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The following article is reprinted with permission as a slightly edited version from Rev. Steven Meriwether, pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, from the church’s May newsletter.  […]

What the World Needs Now: Reflections on a Week in Ferguson

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Dwight Johnson (above, far right, back row) and Neal Wilkinson (far left, front row), alumni of the Center for Youth Ministry Training, participated in a week-long […]

Summer Break? Inside a Youth Minister’s Summer

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In a nearby coffee shop, a pastor told Kim*, a youth minister, that he hoped she enjoyed her “summer break.” Kim promptly pulled out her phone […]

2015 Graduate Reflective

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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, […]

Investor Update 5.21.15

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May is the busiest month at the Center for Youth Ministry Training. Graduate Residents are finishing up final papers for classes while finalizing summer plans. Our […]

From Philly to Dyersburg: Graduate Resident Finds Success in a Small Town

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Heather Kauffmann, seated, fourth from right, with her youth group members at Dyersburg FUMC. Heather Kauffman had always wanted to live in the South. Being from […]

Hillsong or Hymns: What Role Does Contemporary Worship Play in Your Youth Ministry Context?

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by Andrew Mochrie Growing up Polish Catholic I was not really exposed to contemporary Christian worship. It’s not that we never had guitars in worship, it […]

Shake Up the Typical “Youth Trip Flow”

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by Tony Akers Youth ministry trips can be a major catalyst of growth in our youth and they are worth the effort. As good shepherds we […]

Using Graphic Novels in Your Youth Ministry

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by Jason Sansbury Recently, I shared some ideas on using young adult (or YA) fiction in your youth ministry and some of the ways that can […]

Pastor and Leader: A Peek Inside the Classroom

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Pictured above are CYMT’s second-year graduate residents. Ever wonder what happens in a youth ministry classroom? We want to give you a peek inside the course […]

Practicum Pathway: Teaches Essential Skills

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Every year, the Center for Youth Ministry Training welcomes 12 to 15 new graduate residents to the program. Most of the residents are beginning their first […]

6 Tips for Using YA Literature in Your Youth Ministry

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by Jason Sansbury If you haven’t been paying attention to pop culture, you may be missing one of the most significant trends happening in films (after […]

Catching up with Connor McCracken, Second Year Graduate Resident

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Pictured above L to R are CYMT graduate residents Derek Walker, Leigh DeVries (alumna), Dwight Johnson, and Connor McCracken. Connor McCracken, CYMT graduate resident from Northern […]

March 2015 Donor Investment Update

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Pictured above L to R are class of 2017 CYMT graduate residents Chelsi Warren, FUMC Murfreesboro (Tenn.); Kayla Bartosch, Calvary Episcopal, Memphis; Emily Mastin, FUMC Franklin […]

They Didn’t Tell Anyone … Have You? Evangelism in 2015

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Recently, I was talking with one of our graduate residents about the Easter Sunrise Service at her church. She and the youth group are in charge […]

Jump Jive Dinner Dance was a Success

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Pictured above: Pam and John Padgett. John is the Chairman of CYMT’s Board of Directors. The inaugural Jump Jive Dinner Dance, held on February 14, was […]

CYMT Will Host Second Theology Together Event

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training will host its second Theology Together immersion experience, “Collide,” this summer in the greater Nashville area. Attendees, both youth and […]

Honoring Their Unique Gifts and Talents: Ministering to Teens with Disabilities, Part 2

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Editor’s Note: This article was inspired by John Nixdor’s article on youthspecialties.com, “Ministering to Teenagers with Disabilities: Part 1 and Part 2.” by Rev. Phil Rogers […]

Honoring Their Unique Gifts and Talents: Ministering to Teens with Disabilities, Part 1

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Editor’s Note: This article was inspired by John Nixdor’s article on youthspecialties.com, “Ministering to Teenagers with Disabilities: Part 1 and Part 2.” by Rev. Phil Rogers […]

Third Year Graduate Resident Reflects on Her Growth Through CYMT

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After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University, Tina Boyd moved home to Roswell, Ga. to begin her job […]

Book Review: Building Your Volunteer Team: A 30-Day Change Project for Youth Ministry

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by Hank Hilliard In Building Your Volunteer Team: A 30-Day Change Project for Youth Ministry, Mark DeVries and Nate Stratman get right at the heart of […]

In One Ear and Out the Other

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by Taylor Young Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Communicating the Gospel to Youth class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of […]

From Youth Group Member to Ministry Colleague: The Journey of a CYMT Graduate Resident and Her Coach

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Rebecca Bibee never really wanted to or planned to go into youth ministry. She wanted to be a music teacher, which makes her path to CYMT […]

Intergenerational Ministry Made Easy

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by Deech Kirk Our church does not have enough parking, so we have a shuttle that runs from a nearby parking lot. Recently, I was sitting […]

Merry Christmas from CYMT

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At our CYMT staff meeting this week, we shared our favorite part of the biblical Christmas story. As youth workers, we love the fact that Mary […]

Communicating the Gospel to Introverts

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by Tina Boyd Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Communicating the Gospel to Youth class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of […]

Community, Family, and Cohort: An Interview with Second-year Resident Sara Palm

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I’m originally from the East Coast, outside Washington, D.C. and I attended UT Knoxville where I majored in Spanish and International Agricultural Economics. For seven years […]

Breaking Down Barriers: Understanding the Needs of Single Parents

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by Lisa Long Spring is one of my favorite times of year. Winter is finally over. Flowers burst from the ground. The air fills with glorious […]

Ministering to Changing Families

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Editor’s Note: This article is written jointly by Sara, a youth minister who was, until recently, a single mom to two young boys, and Jason, a […]

Don’t Be a Loser: Back Up Your Data

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by Jason Sansbury If you’re like most youth workers I know, everything is on your computer. I mean, EVERYTHING. And most of the time, that’s a […]

Wandering the Arcade: Ministering to Youth on the Autism Spectrum

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Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Communicating the Gospel to Youth class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of CYMT’s Master of […]

Navigating the Wolf Pack: My First Year in Ministry with Teenage Boys

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Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Communicating the Gospel to Youth class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of CYMT’s Master of […]

Preparing Youth for Doubt

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by Andrew Zirschky In the first article in this series you met Laura, a college student who was doubting her faith and yet rarely spoke of […]

A Youth Minister to Youth Ministers

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I am blessed to be the Executive Director of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. My daughters occasionally ask me what I do at work. This […]

The Importance of Community to an International Graduate Resident

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Derek Walker was entering his final year at Belfast Bible College in Ireland where he studied youth and community work with applied theology when CYMT was […]

Teaching to Multiple Intelligences in Youth Ministry

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Editor’s Note: This post is a product of the Communicating the Gospel to Youth class, taught by Dr. Andrew Zirschky as part of CYMT’s Master of […]

5 Reasons to Start Your Summer Fundraising in the Fall

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by Jason Sansbury When I first started out in youth ministry, I never quite grasped that our summer activities would ALWAYS need significant financial support beyond […]

So You Want College Students to Come to Your Church?

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Belmont Wesley Fellowship blog. An edited version is reprinted here with permission. by David Hollis I have […]

Sometimes the Lost Sheep Becomes the Shepherd

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by Jason Sansbury Each spring in my ministry situation we have a confirmation class for middle school students, which means 95% of the kids involved in […]

Ministry Through Rejection

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Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on Katie’s personal blog, Daily Impressions, and is reprinted here with permission. by Katie Kavanaugh I love my job. No […]

CYMT Welcomes Development Director

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Above from left: Matthew, Margaret, Matt, and Eleanor Ikard. The Center for Youth Ministry Training is pleased to announce that we have hired Margaret Ikard to […]

Disrupted: A CYMT Graduate Resident Finds Her Place in the Unknown

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Hello! My name is Kelly Mongoven. I am 27 years old. And this is my CYMT story. I grew up in Fort Myers, Fla., in a […]

CYMT Welcomes 2014 Graduate Residents: Our Largest Class Ever

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We are excited to 15 new graduate residents to the CYMT graduate residency this Fall.  They make up our largest incoming class ever.   

CYMT Orientation 2014

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Graduate Residency jumped back into full swing August 5-8, 2014, with our New Resident Orientation and first academic retreat of […]

Uncharted: First Theology Together Event a Success

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They came from their places of comfort and with preconceived ideas of what it means to do missions. They came not knowing what God had in […]

Fall 2014 Courses

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The following courses will be offered by Memphis Theological Seminary for all CYMT graduate residents enrolled in the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree program […]

Looking Back and Looking Forward

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The Center for Youth Ministry has completed another year and God continues to do amazing work in and through our ministry. We continue to be blessed […]

Investment Goals for the Kingdom

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Thank you for your continued investment in the Center for Youth Ministry Training. I want to share a CYMT story that is typical and extraordinary at […]

Fundraising 101

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Fundraising is a reality for 99% of youth ministries in the country. At my first youth ministry job, I inherited the tradition of having a monthly […]

9 Great Fundraisers

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Some people would have you believe that a great fundraiser is solely determined by the amount of money you raise. I am not one of those […]

Fundraising: Low Investment, High Return

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by Jason Sansbury Fundraising was my youth ministry kryptonite. Don’t believe me? At one of my earliest jobs, I ran a fundraiser that lost $2000. (On […]

Tug of War: The Church Across Town Stole My Youth!

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by Steph Dodge We had just welcomed a new class of seventh graders into our youth ministry when a mother contacted me to let me know […]

Seeing God in “Cosmos”

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by Samantha Tidball My husband is a scientist and I am a youth minister. I am constantly reminded by comments from others that this is a […]

Start Your Own “Fan Club”

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the author’s blog Large Church Ministry. An edited version appears here with permission. by David Thompson Being in ministry […]

Theology Together Explores Hope

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A group of youth and adults collectively colored a canvas with images of their brokenness and God’s goodness. God was present and worshiped. Youth and adults […]

Multi-layered Impact

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s mission is to equip youth ministers and churches to develop theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries. Our mission clearly calls […]

CYMT Academic Director to receive his Ph.D.

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The CYMT community wants to share that Andrew Zirschky, CYMT’s Academic Director, successfully defended his dissertation entitled “Communion Beyond Connection: Youth, Social Media and Christian Koinonia […]

Faithful Families: Creating ways for families to participate in worship

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In a recent church staff meeting, I found myself pleading for worship moments that model the faith for parents, youth, and children. We have a generation […]

Organic Student Leadership: Helping fulfill their call

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“Organic” is certainly a buzzword in the 21st century and we often associate it with food products. According to the USDA, “Organic is a labeling term […]

CYMT Commissions Class of 2013

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training celebrates the commissioning of our seventh class of graduate residents. We wanted to share with you what this class will […]

Discipling One-on-One

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by Jason Sansbury After having been involved in youth ministry for over 20 years, I have a theory that says if you don’t occasionally get accused […]

The Monday Morning Blues

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by Tony Akers Every Monday morning it happens. I walk into the room with my biggest critic. He doesn’t say much, he just stares back at […]

Honoring Boundaries in Brokenness

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by Andrew Mochrie I can vividly remember sitting with my fiancee on the couch in her small house. We had been engaged for five months and […]

We Are All One in Christ Jesus: Women in Ministry Leadership

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by Kelly Soifer One of my favorite parts of working with youth is hearing from them after they graduate. Over the years, the spectrum of emotions […]

Living Into God’s Plan for Equity and Justice

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by Amy Jacober I was blindsided the first time I was told that a woman could NOT be in ministry. Perhaps even more surprising, I was […]

What the Church Can Learn from GoldieBlox

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by Nicole Phillips In the parable of the talents, Jesus tells us in no uncertain terms that God gives us individual talents and that he is […]

The Importance of Building a Relational Foundation

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by Lisa Long I grew up in a traditionally conservative denomination, one that does not allow women to be leaders or pastors or even teach men […]

You Are Enough

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by Mary Beth Bernheisel I never intended to go into youth ministry. I mean, I did at one time. During my third year of seminary I […]

Student Spotlight: Dwight Johnson, Preston Taylor Ministries and Calvin House

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L to R: Teresa Johnson (Dwight’s mom), Dwight Johnson, Arisie Marshall (Dwight’s cousin), Regina Marshall (Dwight’s aunt) My name is Dwight Johnson and I am a […]

Inviting Accountability into the Workplace

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When I look across the struggle that is the church today, the greatest need I see is a church that is willing to hold each other […]

Always Learning

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One of the great characteristics of a leader is to be a learner. At CYMT, we are always learning. We celebrated our eighth birthday as a […]

Volunteer Finance Director has made a significant impact

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Above, from left: Overton Colton, Vice Chairman of CYMT’s Board of Directors; Katie Edwards, Jim’s lovely wife; Lesleigh Carmichael, Director of Coaching; Jim Edwards, Director of […]

How “God’s Not Dead” Stops the Conversation it Helped Start

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by Mark Taylor Recently, I had the chance to see God’s Not Dead. I have to admit I’m not a big fan of Christian-produced movies in […]

Bend, Don’t Break: The Importance of a Flexible Faith

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by Mark Taylor Before some people see the word “flexible” and immediately think “relative” or “ambiguous,” let me quickly define what I mean by a rigid […]

The Hard Work of Transformation

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by Lisa Long Our church celebrated its 100th birthday just a couple of years ago. For half of that century it has been located less than […]

Summer Love: Dealing with camp romance

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by Amy Jacober You know what camp love looks like. You’ve seen it more than once. Teenagers gazing at one another across the room. The carefully […]

Inviting Accountability Into Your Life

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by Jason Sansbury Want to do an interesting experiment? Create a Google news alert that will send you a message every time the words “youth pastor […]

4 Easy Steps to Hone Your Speaking/Teaching/Preaching Skills

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by Mike Adkins I hope you’re better than I when it comes to this, but I am majorly guilty of critiquing speakers when I listen as […]

Empowering Youth to Lead on Youth Sunday

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by Jenn Parrish Every time Youth Sunday rolls around my stomach ties itself up in knots. My hands start to shake and I swear I drink […]

A Youth Sunday Blueprint

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by Jayna Leitze Youth Sunday (yooth suhn-day) noun: Traditionally, a day during which the youth group of a church is in charge of the church service(s) […]

Laying the Foundation for a Successful Youth Sunday

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by Joanna Bellis When spring rolls around, I renew my love/hate relationship with a tradition that was passed to me in the church in which I […]

Why I Hate Youth Sunday

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by A Youth Minister “Hate” is a strong word. I try not to use it very much, but there are times when it is the only […]

God’s Persistence Brought Second-Year Resident to CYMT

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I’ve felt called to formal ministry since I was in high school in Central New York in the early 2000s. I registered for a lay speaking class offered […]

YM Classroom: Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry

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Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry is one of our core Master of Arts in Youth Ministry courses. Just one day in Theological Foundations will dismiss the […]

How Youth Doubt is Different Than We Expected

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by Andrew Zirschky As a junior political science and philosophy major at a Christian college on the West Coast, Laura looked to be the paragon of […]

Staff Highlight: Kris Konsowitz, Memphis Regional Director

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Two years ago, the Center for Youth Ministry Training made the decision to hire Kris Konsowitz as our Memphis Regional Director. Kris is making a significant impact […]

Participating in Hope: The Eschatology of Youth Ministry

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Editor’s Note: This article stems from the author’s final paper in Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry, a graduate course offered through the Center for Youth Ministry […]

Encouraging Your Church to See Through a Positive Lens

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Have you ever noticed that every story can be told from a positive or negative perspective? One team’s story of winning the national championship at the […]

6 Tips for Creating Structure and Boundaries in Ministry

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by Chris Mucha It’s the students that constantly talk while you are trying to teach, the ones who disappear during programming, the guy and girl who […]

From Distraction to Interaction: Mobile Devices as Ministry Tools

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by Michael Adkins If we’re being honest, the question of technology in youth spaces is really one of mobile devices (such as phones, iPods, and tablets) […]

Can Smartphones Benefit Your Ministry?

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by Joseph Robinson Oh, cell phones… There is almost nothing I can think of that has as much potential to be either great or terrible for […]

You’re Not My Parent: A Youth Minister’s Role in Discipline

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I was fresh out of college. I had been in professional youth ministry less than two years. I was six months into my first full-time youth […]

CYMT Board Chairman shares CYMT’s hope for the future

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John Padgett serves as CYMT’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, and has been on the board for three years. “Our children had a wonderful, positive […]

An Interview with CYMT Alumna, Lauren Gilliland

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Lauren Gilliland (front row, center) serves as the youth minister at Munford First United Methodist Church in Munford, Tenn. She graduated in May 2013 from Memphis […]

The Church as a Community of Hope and Honesty: A theological vision for youth ministry

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Editor’s Note: This article stems from the author’s final paper in Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry, a graduate course offered through the Center for Youth Ministry […]

CYMT Thrives in North Alabama

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(Pictured above are first-year resident Kelly Mongoven, Christ the King Lutheran, and second-year resident Tina Boyd, Canterbury UMC, both in Birmingham.) The original task force members […]

Impact: Residents’ Perspectives

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As the Executive Director of the Center for Youth Ministry Training, I believe God is doing amazing things through our ministry. One of my jobs is […]

CYMT Attends National Youth Workers Convention

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The CYMT graduate residents attended the National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) in November in Nashville as a part of the CYMT curriculum. The convention is geared […]

Forgiveness and Reconciliation Within the Church Universal

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by Randy Knighten In January of every year in the United States of America we celebrate the life of one of the most influential ministers and […]

Spring 2013 Semester Overview

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s spring semester is underway. Graduate residents are reading and preparing for our first retreat at the end of January. We […]

Sifting the Sand: Or, Why We Don’t Need More Leadership Advice in Youth Ministry

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by Andrew Zirschky The last thing anyone needs is another article on leadership. We’re a culture obsessed with the topic as any trip to the local […]

Coping with Suicide in Your Youth Group

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by Erin Hicks Suicide is something you will never be prepared for. When I got the phone call last January that one of my youth had […]

Take Your Ministry to the Chiropractor

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Several years ago, I developed severe back pain and had to go to the chiropractor. My chiropractor taught me several things about my body during my […]

How2 Play Well with Others

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by Andrew Mochrie Growing up, my parents instructed me to play well with others, specifically my sister. Those conversations often came after I had not played […]

Support Your Pastor

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by Dietrich “Deech” Kirk When I was younger, I sometimes got confused about who was in charge of the church. I seemed to be the only […]

The Congregation as Youth Ministers

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by Carlisle Jones What does it mean for the church to really care about or DO youth ministry? How important is it for the whole church […]

Uncharted: CYMT “Theology Together” Immersion Experience

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IT’S NOT A MISSION TRIP. IT’S NOT A CAMP. IT’S UNCHARTED.  History is filled with stories of those who have gone off-the-grid and beyond the map […]

A Legacy of Youth Ministry

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When I think about my ministry, one of my goals is to leave a legacy of youth ministry. In addition to seeking to teach youth that […]

How2 Book a Speaker

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You’ve decided that you would like to have someone other than you speak on your next retreat, but need some advice on how to go about […]

How2 Book a Worship Band

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Great music can really enhance your youth event, retreat, or camp, but before you book Chris Tomlin to be your worship leader, here are some things […]

Meet our CYMT Board of Directors

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CYMT is blessed by having a supportive and active Board of Directors. We are grateful for their service to our ministry. Meet our CYMT Board of […]

Spread Your Reach by Mentoring Your Leaders

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by Peter Carlson Some of the best youth ministry happens when a student knows and trusts an adult who is willing to be a mentor, someone […]

Successful Retreat Planning: Part 2

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You’ve booked your retreat location, your general logistics are nailed down, and your schedule has a framework. (Read “Successful Retreat Planing: Part 1” here.) Now it’s […]

Successful Retreat Planning: Part 1

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Don’t have it all together for your summer retreats? Don’t know where to start? Read on for some time-tested tips from veteran youth ministers . . […]

For the Least of These: The Church Must Speak Out Against Bullying

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by Amy Jacober I stood on a front porch with my two friends, all three of us, 12 years old. It was a Sunday afternoon and […]

From Prayer Hogs to Participation: Getting students to pray beyond the closing prayer circle

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by Lilly Lewin Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, in a youth room in Nashville, Tenn., I was the resident “prayer hog.” […]

Setting Your Preventative Maintenance Calendar

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Your ministry needs a maintenance calendar just like your car does.  When you buy a new car, it comes with a reminder list with things like: […]

City Girl in Small Town Ministry: Second year resident shares her story

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Editor’s Note: Maria Ghianni is in her second year in the CYMT graduate residency program, and she serves as the youth director at Carthage FUMC in […]

Lilly Endowment Inc. awards CYMT $240,000 for Theology Together Grant

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The Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the Center for Youth Ministry Training $240,000 to fund its Theology Together program over the next three years. Over the past […]

How2: Avoid the 7 Pitfalls of Ineffective Meetings

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The church is notorious for having ineffective meetings. Several times during my career, I felt physical pain prior to heading to the weekly staff meeting knowing […]

First Year Graduate Resident Hosts Fifth Quarter

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In Dyersburg, Tenn., high school football games are the place to be on Friday nights. But what happens after the game is over and kids still […]

How2 Survive a Lock-In

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by Stephanie Dodge and Lauren Gilliland Rule #1 Avoid lock-ins. Don’t put one on the yearly schedule. Wait for someone to bring it up, then try […]

6 Tips for Living on a Ministry Salary

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by Chris and Joanna Cummings Hi there, we are the Cummingses and we are both in church ministry. Yes, you read that right. We were asked […]

Safety Not Guaranteed: A cautionary tale

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by Julie Richardson Brown It was one of those moments where everything suddenly becomes as if a slow-motion sequence in a particularly intense moment of a […]

High-Maintenance: The Helicopter Parent

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Steve Argue Bill and […]

CYMT’s Exponential Impact

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CYMT’s Class of 2016 It is hard to believe that in seven short years, the Center for Youth Ministry has trained more than 70 youth ministers. […]

What Would Parents Like to Ask Their Kids’ Youth Minister?

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Recently, I had the distinct privilege of teaching our church’s Parents of Teens Sunday school class. I taught a three week series which gave me a good amount […]

Get Rid of the Helicopter Parent! Be a Responsible Communicator.

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Whomp, whomp, whomp… That’s the sound of the rotors turning on “helicopter parents.” You have them in your ministry and frankly they can drive you crazy. […]

Second Year CYMT graduate resident jumps in to full-time role at St. George’s Episcopal Church

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Daniel Bradley, second year graduate resident, has been given the opportunity to serve as the full-time youth minister at St. George’s Episcopal Church after a year […]

CYMT well represented at national youth event

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Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT) is a partnership youth conference between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches and is held every three years in West […]

Meet our CYMT Coaches

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CYMT graduate residents receive regular one-on-one coaching from a youth ministry veteran. The coaches also work directly with our partner churches to help the church leaders […]

A System to Save the Weary Soul: Time Management as Strategic Origami

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by Leigh DeVries About six months ago, I felt like this: Imagine I have three papers, 300+ pages of reading, and a final exam due in […]

Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution are Important Skills in this Resident’s Ministry

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Randy Knighten is in his third year of the CYMT graduate residency program. He came to CYMT at the age of 35, married with two young […]

Miley Does Not Define 20-year-olds (or: Six People You Should Know)

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Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Crystal Kirgiss’ personal blog: Miley does not define 20-year olds (or: six people you should know). It is reprinted here […]

Look Deeper into Our Issues: Miley, Thicke, and Montana

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Miley Cyrus’s life, morals, upbringing, and example have been brought to question all over the internet. I know several youth ministers who are planning to tackle […]

I was Miley Cyrus’ Youth Director. Sort of.

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by Jason Sansbury I was Miley Cyrus’ youth director. Or at least, I used to joke that I was. Several years ago I started to work […]

The Necessity of the Conversation in the Church: Race in America

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by Erin Hicks I want to share two things that led to me write this article: On Twitter recently, I noticed that Harriet Tubman was trending. […]

How2 Follow Up without Seeming Like a Stalker

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by Stephen Ingram I work in a community that has a great running park alongside the road I take to get to the church. I also […]

Take the High Road and Leave Well

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Editor’s Note: The following is a conversation with two youth ministers: one who left a position under positive circumstances and one who left under duress. We […]

Curriculum Plan Step 3: Scheduling & Curriculum

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This is the third in a three part series on how to create a curriculum plan for your youth ministry.  In step 1, we developed lists […]

How2: 5 Questions to Help Find Good Curriculum

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training has a youth ministry library full of more than 700 resources and books. We created the library because we wanted folks to be able […]

Confessions of an Unhealthy Youth Minister

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by Jason Sansbury In June 2012 I was finishing up a week of summer camp with senior high students in Panama City when I wound up […]

How2: Prepare to Teach Well

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Teaching youth is a major part of any youth ministry and whether you are teaching yourself or equipping others who will teach, preparation is essential. Follow […]

Curriculum Plan Step 2: Buckets and Structure

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This is the second in a three part series on how to create a curriculum plan for your youth ministry.  In Part 1, we developed lists […]

“Pro” Youth Minister

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In this final installment of the this three-part series on being a professional youth minister, I want to take a look at what makes someone a […]

Meaningful Intergenerational Youth Ministry

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by Julie Richardson Brown “Oh Julie…I don’t know. I don’t have anything to say that they’d care about.” “But I’m too old for that.” “Are you […]

Becoming a Professional Youth Minister

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by Deech Kirk As we explored in “Four Requirement for Becoming a Professional Youth Minister,” the word “profession” has two meanings. First, professional means someone who […]

Four Requirements for Becoming a Professional Youth Minister

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by Deech Kirk Is a “professional youth minister” simply someone who gets paid to do youth ministry? Someone could pay you to treat an illness, but […]

CYMT has been a blessing

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by Philip Galyon Hello! My name is Philip Galyon and am a second year graduate resident at the Center for Youth Ministry Training. I serve as […]

Curriculum Plan Step 1: Know, Feel, Do

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Youth ministries choose curriculum in a variety of ways. You might find yourself using some of these methods: Two hours before youth group you grab something […]

Investor Update 7.18.13 – New Beginnings

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Faithful CYMT Investors, In May, CYMT celebrated the graduation of its sixth class of youth ministers!  Six of our eight graduates were hired by their partner […]

Fall 2013 Courses

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The following courses will be offered by Memphis Theological Seminary for all CYMT graduate residents enrolled in the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree program […]

A Summer Youth Culture Tip Sheet

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by Cory Martin In the midst of another great summer, filled with blockbuster movies and even better music, it is easy to miss some of the […]

Most Useful Apps for Youth Ministry

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We polled our graduate residents, our alumni, and our coaches on their go-to, most useful apps and programs for doing youth ministry, and here are their […]

8 Tips for a Smooth Pastoral Transition

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by Samantha T. I will never forget the day my first youth pastor announced he was leaving. There were tears, prayer circles, worries, fears, and heartbreak […]

2013 New CYMT Graduate Residents

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training is excited to welcome 11 new graduate residents and partner churches to the program this Fall. Our churches are located […]

Summer Youth Ministry Activities

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By Center for Youth Ministry Training 5/28/19 Go To Them Navigating summer youth ministry activities can feel impossible. I see youth group after youth group seek […]

Assertive Yet Inviting: Discipline at Church

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Jack Radcliffe At the […]

The Importance of Developing a Discipline Covenant

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by Hank Hilliard I love the television show Supernanny. The extreme cases displayed make my parenting challenges seem manageable. Also, the show offers practical parenting tools […]

Ready, Aim, Fire: Disciplining Well

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One of the most difficult things to learn as a young youth minister is your role as disciplinarian. You may have little to no experience in […]

Crafting a Discipline Covenant

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If we believe that youth and parents will understand our discipline or conduct expectations simply because we are a Christian organization, we have not spent much […]

Investor Update 6.18.13

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Faithful CYMT Investors, We have just entered our seventh year of ministry. We have moved out of the start-up phase of our organization’s development and are […]

Games, Guitars, and a Theologically Grounded Youth Ministry

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by Andrew Mochrie I entered into youth ministry when I was between eighth and ninth grade. I stumbled my way awkwardly into a youth group because […]

An Anxious Church

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Julie’s personal website and is reprinted here with permission. by Julie Richardson Brown I sometimes joke (in full […]

Ordinary Adults Need Counseling, Too

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by Kelly Soifer I have the privilege of training college students and young adults in the fundamentals of faith and ministry. There are multiple principles I […]

Referring Teens to Counseling: When and How

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by Erika and Jeremy Shapiro 6/4/13 Youth ministers play a lot of roles, but when and how do you navigate referring teens to counseling? Teacher, friend, […]

The Journey to CYMT: International graduate resident transitions to the US

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by Neal Wilkinson Hello. I’m Neal, though I also go by the alias of “Nellie.” I’m a 25-year-old from Coleraine, on the north coast of Northern […]

4 Ways to Prep for Your Summer Ministry Trip

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By Center for Youth Ministry Training 5/28/19 How do you prepare for your summer ministry trip? What will youth remember from summer experiences? Will they remember […]

Pastors, Partners, and Padawans: Surrounded in the Journey of Following Jesus

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by Mike Langford The word “discipleship” can become a bit of a buzzword in youth ministry. It sounds really important. And it is easy to understand […]

Book Review: The Fantasy Fallacy

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by Lauren Gilliland While I have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey series, I have heard all the buzz on my favorite radio show, on […]

Book Review: Of Games and God

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by Mitch Toler Video games. Some people love them, others hate them, and there is a large group of people that is indifferent. You can find […]

Tips for Parents: Helping Your Child Transition Into the Youth Ministry

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Tips for Parents: Helping Your Child Transition Into the Youth Ministry Editor’s Note: Share this with the parents of incoming new students! by Tony Akers Youth […]

Making the Shift Into the Youth Ministry a Smooth One

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Editor’s Note: This is how one church transitions their rising sixth and ninth graders into their youth ministry. Does this approach work for your ministry? How […]

Juggling Well: The Balancing Act of Parenting and Youth Ministry

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by Sarah Arthur It’s Sunday morning and my toddler has a fever. Again. For the fourteenth time this winter. Clingy, sweaty, he hovers by my thigh […]

Reentry: The Importance of Debriefing After a Mission Trip

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by Hank Hilliard Several years ago I was playing golf with John, a former youth group member who had gone on to college. John shared a […]

Spinning a Web of Relationships

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Back when Spiderman was a cartoon on TV, I can’t remember a single episode where he didn’t catch the criminal in a web. Youth ministers can […]

6 Tips for a Successful Youth Sunday

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by Kris Lott Each year I, like many of you, am handed the reins to the worship services for YOUTH SUNDAY. This has become one of […]

4 Steps for a Thriving Summer Youth Ministry

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By Center for Youth Ministry Training 5/28/19 Summer is almost here! As a youth minister, I find summer to be both exhilarating and exhausting. Most of you will […]

Sabbath is a Gift from God; Keep it Holy!

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by Samantha Hassell 90 = percentage of pastors who report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. 90 = percentage of youth workers who are […]

Graduate Residents Reflect as Graduation Approaches

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We sat down with graduate residents Erin Hicks and Mitch Toler to talk next steps, time with CYMT, and what they learned during their three years […]

Does Your Church Love Teens?

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If a teenager walked into your church on Sunday on her own, with a friend, or with his family, what impressions would he or she have […]

Preaching and Adolescents: Addressing the Whole Body of Christ

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by Mike Langford Hearing sermons that deal with contexts and concerns of other members of the community will help adolescents to realize that they are part […]

Mission Trip Transitions: When Your Child Returns Home

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by Tony Akers You’re getting ready to go to the church to pick up your child who has been away on a mission trip. You’re thinking […]

Don’t Be an “Idiot” – Let Them Lead!

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One of my mentors, Mark DeVries, told me a few years ago that if students are not leading, then they are leaving. The more I thought […]

Riding the Rapids of Youth Ministry with a Veteran River Guide

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by Lesleigh Carmichael A coach is someone who cares that people create what they say they want and that they follow through. The coach is there […]

Contemplative Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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During the 2000s, youth ministry became increasingly enamored with contemplative practices. Many ministries traded disco balls, comfy couches, and messy games for candles, centering prayer, and […]

Liberation Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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What if the real question in communicating the gospel isn’t how it’s communicated, but in fact is the very gospel that we’ve communicated? To take a […]

Preparing for Summer, Partnering in Ministry

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by Joanna Cummings Youth and children’s ministries both require early prep for the busy summer months ahead. In children’s ministry this means early recruitment of volunteers […]

Developmental Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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When it comes to youth ministry and adolescent faith, “We’re doing a better job of getting them to show up than helping them to grow up,” […]

Interpretive Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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“A life is no more than a biological phenomenon as long as it is not interpreted,” said French philosopher Paul Ricoeur.[1] Indeed, it’s an inescapable human […]

Now That You’ve Hired Your Summer Intern

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by Jason Sansbury Click here to read the companion to this article, How2: Hire Summer Interns for Your Ministry. Once you have hired someone for the […]

Investor Update 3.26.13 – Set Apart

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Friends, Your investment in the Center for Youth Ministry Training continues to pay huge dividends and we are grateful for your support. This month ordination boards […]

Summer Programming Ideas

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By Center for Youth Ministry Training 5/28/19 We polled our CYMT alumni and coaches for some summer programming ideas—the little things that they do during the […]

How2: Hire Summer Interns for Your Ministry

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by Jason Sansbury For most youth ministries, summer means a great deal more activities and programming. Additionally, most youth ministries suffer some level of loss of […]

How2: Deal with Church Politics

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Anyone who believes that politics are not present in church lives in a fantasy land. As long as people have to live in relationships with each […]

Night on the Streets Gives Youth a New Perspective

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Editor’s Note: Mark Taylor is the youth minister at Arlington United Methodist Church and graduated from the CYMT program in May 2013 with an MA in […]

Community of Faith Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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Where does youth ministry happen? If you jot down a list of three answers to that question, chances are some variant of “youth room” is in […]

Instructional Approach: Communicating the Gospel to Youth

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The first approach we’ll consider is the instructional approach, a paradigm familiar to most youth workers because it’s the dominant approach of published curriculum. The goal […]

Communicating the Gospel to Youth: A Youth Ministry Course in a Nutshell

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Editor’s Note: This is an overview of our “youth ministry course in a nutshell” series, Communicating the Gospel to Youth, taught by Rev. Andrew Zirschky as […]

An Interview with CYMT Coach Sunny Ridings

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What led you to coaching at CYMT?  Lesleigh Carmichael, CYMT Director of Coaching, is a mentor to me in youth ministry.  Back when I was an […]

Investor Update 2.26.13 – It’s Hard

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Friends, Your investment in the Center for Youth Ministry Training continues to pay huge dividends and we are grateful for your support. Recently, I was presenting […]

Married in Youth Ministry: The Veterans

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Editor’s Note: This is the last in our short series “Married/Single in Youth Ministry.” Meet Bob and Kris Konsowitz. Kris is the Director of Ministries with […]

4 Ways to Celebrate Seniors

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Every year, we have an opportunity to create rites of passage that celebrate our high school seniors and propel them forward into their unknown futures. Senior […]

Evolution, not Revolution!

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“Liberté, égalité, fraternité!” was the cry of the French Revolutionists. They wanted liberty, equality, and brotherhood for all people. (Do you hear the people sing?) I’ve seen many […]

Hurry Up and Move Slowly!

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As youth ministers, we often serve as change agents. We begin ministry young, idealistic, eager, and often arrogant. We work in churches that have become disconnected […]

Single in Youth Ministry: His View

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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in our short series “Married/Single in Youth Ministry.” Meet Jason Sansbury Jason (far right in picture) is the Director of […]

Counter-Cultural Adolescence

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by Mike Langford We’ve heard it. We’ve said it. And when we were teenagers, we lived it. Adolescence is really hard. Adolescence is not hard merely […]

Going Nowhere? Get a MAP

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Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18) I’ve used this scripture every time I’ve met with a church to do vision planning. However, […]

Keeping and Motivating Your Volunteers

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Volunteers, a precious resource we can’t afford to lose. —Denise Penn Do your volunteers know how much you appreciate them? They should. Lack of volunteer appreciation is a […]

5 Non-Youth Ministry Books that Every Youth Minister Should Read

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by Stephen Ingram I love to read. I love to read about all sorts of things, but I especially love to read about ministry and how […]

Married in Youth Ministry: With a Minivan and a Mortgage

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Meet Travis and Amanda Garner Travis is the Pastor of Discipleship (he just recently transitioned from being the Pastor of Student Ministries for eight+ years) at Brentwood […]

How2 Plan for Your Ministry’s Success: The 6 Phases of Planning a 12 to 18 month Calendar

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You’ve planned an amazing white water rafting trip for your youth group. You’ve written every devotional, laid out every game, ice breaker, and small group activity. […]

CYMT well-represented at Warmth in Winter 2013

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Warmth in Winter is an annual youth event organized by the Tennessee Conference Young People’s Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the Middle Tennessee area […]

The long journey to CYMT for one graduate resident

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Jill Carr is the youth minister at White Oak Pond Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Lebanon, Mo. This is her story of how she came to be […]

Investor Update 2.7.13

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Friends, Thank you for your investment in the Center for Youth Ministry Training. God continues to do amazing things in and through our ministry. We just […]

Single in Youth Ministry: Her View

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Editor’s Note: This is the second in our short series “Married/Single in Youth Ministry.” Meet Casey Langley. She and her cat, Phoebe, live in Fort Worth, […]

Married in Youth Ministry: The Newlyweds

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in our short series “Married/Single in Youth Ministry.” Over the coming weeks we’ll profile three married couples and two single […]

Get Trained

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Editor’s Note: This letter is an excerpt from CYMT’s book Letters to a Youth Worker, edited by Mark DeVries. Dear Theologian, Yes. You are a theologian. […]

How2: The Exponential Benefit of Major Event Coordinators in Youth Ministry

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Newsflash: You have more to do than you have time to do! Solution: Get help and let go! How do you find and empower folks who […]

Dealing with Conflict in Youth Ministry

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by Jason Sansbury When you’ve been in ministry long enough (and sometimes when you’re just starting out), there are certain “moments” that you’ll experience. One of […]

Making Your Ski Trip a Spiritual Experience

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by Peter Carlson Youth group ski trips are often a highlight of the year to both students and adult leaders (especially if your church covers the […]

Innovative Curriculum

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by Andrew Zirschky The careful balance and integration of coaching, church experience, cohort interaction, and the academic study of youth ministry are at the heart of […]

A Counterintuitive Pedagogy

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Editor’s Note: The following article is a summary of material presented at the Center for Youth Ministry Training’s conference From Txt2Speech: Proclaiming scripture to youth in […]

From Txt2Speech: An Overview

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by Laura Larsen The first major conference hosted by the Center for Youth Ministry Training, From Txt2Speech, held at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, November 29 […]

Step Away from the Panic Button: Crafting Your Preaching and Teaching Process

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Editor’s Note: The following article is a summary of material presented at the Center for Youth Ministry Training’s conference From Txt2Speech: Proclaiming scripture to youth in […]

Plan B: Do You Have One?

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by Mindi Godfrey One of my very dear friends dubbed me “Queen of Plan B.” In most situations, especially when working with teens, I have a […]

Seeing God in Color

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by Samantha Tidball Recently, I had a conversation with someone about his understanding of the function of church. He told me that he once heard a […]

Book Review: The Juvenilization of American Christianity

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by Gary Wake If someone’s driving and they have no idea where they are, it’s helpful for them to stop and figure out where they went […]

Book Review: A Theological Journey through Youth Ministry

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Andrew Root’s A Theological Journey through Youth Ministry book series is one of the most exciting things to come off a youth ministry press in years. […]

Serving in Lake Wobegon

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I live in Lake Wobegon, where all the men are good-looking, the women are strong, and the children above average. Or at least, that’s what you’d […]

Tips for Building Great Volunteer Teams

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by Chris Cummings In August 2012 the organization Youth Pastors Anonymous (YPA), a support group for paid and volunteer youth workers in the Nashville area, hosted […]

Surviving the Groaning, the Sighing, the Smirking

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Editor’s Note: This letter is excerpted from CYMT’s book Letters to a Youth Worker, edited by Mark DeVries. Dear Youthworker, Sometimes I’ve wondered, “Which am I? […]

5 Keys to Volunteer Recruitment

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Great youth ministry volunteers who passionately care for students, help plan events, teach, and disciple are the common thread among every good youth ministry. If you struggle to […]

The Importance of Event Planning

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by Jason Sansbury Events are an integral part of any youth ministry. At their best, they can help create momentum and accomplish great things in the […]

Spring 2013 CYMT Overview

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training is jumping back into full swing this January after a wonderful holiday season. We were excited by the Kingdom work […]

What is a Graduate Resident?

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At the very heart of the Center for Youth Ministry Training’s mission to develop theologically formed and practically effective youth ministries is our graduate residency program. Our […]

“More Than a Volunteer” award recipient finds her place in church youth ministry

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Part of CYMT’s mission is to equip churches to have effective youth ministers and we also want the church to have effective volunteers for their youth […]

Hearing Aides: Helping Youth Hear the Word

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Editor’s Note: The following article is a summary of material presented at the Center for Youth Ministry Training’s conference From Txt2Speech: Proclaiming scripture to youth in […]

Advantageous Advent

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Advent is the season of preparation and anticipation of the Christ Child.  Christmas is the day we celebrate that God became Emmanuel and lived among us. […]

Shortening the Learning Curve

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Dear Youthworker, For those of you just starting out in youth ministry, I am so excited for you and for the journey you are beginning. Your […]

Joining God’s Work

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Dear Youthworker, First, I think congratulations are in order. You’ve either just gotten this job or somehow survived in it for these last several months and […]

Volunteer Reflections for Youth Pastors

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To my Dearest Sojourner in Ministry to Youth, You are wise, my friend, to seek out and learn from the experience of others, others who have […]

CYMT Graduate is Ordained in UMC

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Jon Snape entered the CYMT program in the Fall of 2007 as part of CYMT’s second class of students. He served at Westland United Methodist Church […]

Waiting Together: Celebrating Advent at Home

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by Courtney Blacksten Editor’s Note: When Courtney Blacksten and her husband Brandon were in their first year of marriage, they were excited to begin to create […]

Investor Update 11.15.12

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Thank you for investing in the mission and vision of the Center for Youth Ministry Training! God continues to do amazing things through CYMT as we […]

Five Things That Make People Want to Follow the Leader

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by Denise McKinney I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership lately.  Most of it is from a ministry context, but those thoughts and reflections are spilling […]

Engaging Teens in Worship

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By the time I was a junior in high school, I had pretty much mastered leaning my arm on the pew rail to prop my head […]

Celebration: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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by Kelly Soifer Editor’s Note: This is the last in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. […]

Four Steps to Developing Healthy Relationships with Parents

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by Deech Kirk 10/31/2012 You are the youth director, youth pastor, or youth minister. Do you need to have a relationship with parents? Weren’t you hired […]

Involving Parents in Faith Formation – Part 2

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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. Click here to read Part 1. These approaches to parental involvement were discussed and developed at […]

Involving Parents in Faith Formation – Part 1

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Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series. Click here to read Part 2. These approaches to parental involvement were discussed and developed at […]

Why Children’s Ministry Matters to Youth Ministers

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by Ryan Timpte Attention youth ministers: children’s ministry needs to matter to you. Do you know what’s going on in the children’s ministry in your church? […]

How2: Seven Ways to Collaborate with Parents

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Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Jim Hancock’s presentation at the CYMT Summit—Equipping Parents for Spiritual Leadership in May 2012.  Jim is the author of […]

How Parenting Made Me a Better Youth Minister

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by Tony Akers I’ve been a youth minister for a long time. I’m also a father of three. My oldest daughter just began college and my […]

5 Things Youth Workers Should Teach Parents

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A bit of advice as you begin to read this article. I want to share five things that youth workers should teach parents, but I want […]

Faith Tools

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It’s important to remember that on–the-wall and behind-the-wall conversations are for one single purpose: so that the language of the empire does not prevail in the […]

Lesson Three: Passing on the Faith

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Most religious teens in the United States appear to engage in few religious practices. But even basic practices like regular Bible reading and personal prayer seem […]

Becoming Christian-ish: Research in a Nutshell

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“We have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense […]

Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 3

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by Andrew Zirschky Editor’s Note: Read Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 1 and  Part 2 here. In a faceless face-to-face world, young […]

Strong: A Youth Minister’s Guide to Leading from Your Strengths

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by Stephen Ingram Most youth ministers struggle for a number of reasons. We struggle because we are over committed, we work unorthodox hours, and we have […]

Confession: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the eleventh in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

The Grass is Greener Where You Water it

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by Deech Kirk In the middle of Justin Beiber’s song “As Long as You Love Me,” sits the lyric: But the grass ain’t always greener on […]

I can’t or I don’t want to?

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“My dad always said, ‘99% of I can’t is I don’t want to!‘” said Bishop Jonathan Holston during his jurisdictional conference interviews. As a side note, […]

How2: Three Keys to Reaching More Youth

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I’ve heard similar stories from many young youth ministers: “The youth just won’t come. Their parents won’t bring them back for youth group. They are so […]

The Gospel as Currency

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by Deech Kirk What’s the difference between going to Home Depot and Ace Hardware (or your local co-op)? What about Chili’s versus a local diner? And […]

Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 2

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by Andrew Zirschky Editor’s Note: Read Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 1 and  Part 3 here. Teenagers don’t want technology, they want […]

Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 1

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by Andrew Zirschky Editor’s Note: Read Teens and Social Technology: Searching for Intimacy – Part 2 and  Part 3 here. It should be no surprise that […]

How2: 5 Ways to Teach Youth How2 Testify

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In the Power of Testimony, I shared that I believe testimony and witness are the most powerful ways to share the Gospel because they make God […]

Theological Blueprints for Youth Ministry Remodeling

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Making change in youth ministry is easy, but making effective change that’s theologically grounded and practically effective is difficult. In the course Advanced Studies in Youth, […]

Guidance: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the tenth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples: Book Review

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by Deech Kirk Duffy Robbins has been a great gift to my life, not because we have a relationship (we’ve only met twice), but because he […]

Developing a Healthy Relationship with Technology

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by Travis Garner I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I absolutely LOVE new gadgets, new apps, and anything shiny with a great marketing campaign. I’ll […]

Hollow Faith Parent’s Guide to Meism

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Note: This is a sample of the Parents Guide in Hollow Faith: How Andy Griffith, Facebook, and the American Dream neutered the Gospel (Un)Becoming the Center […]

Lesson: Jesus Loves Me This I Know…but What About Everyone Else?

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Note: This lesson is a sample from Hollow Faith: How Andy Griffith, Facebook, and the American Dream neutered the Gospel Learning Objectives To remind the students […]

Meism: The Problem of 140 Characters, A Book of Faces and Winning

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Note: This is a sample chapter from Hollow Faith: How Andy Griffith, Facebook, and the American Dream neutered the Gospel All Eyes On Me “Someone has […]

5 Tips for Consistent Communication with Parents

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by Hank Hilliard I was having a great conversation with two parents whose kids had come to a youth event the previous night. I was enjoying […]

Youth Retreats: The 3-Model Approach

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by Stephen Ingram Youth retreats have been and are one of the foundational building blocks of any successful student ministry. They not only provide a time […]

Expect-ations

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by Jacob Fasig One of the most important core values in youth ministry is about expectations. In fact the youth ministry in which you serve will […]

The Power of a Job Description

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by Jacob Fasig If you recruit volunteers to just show up, then you can’t be mad when everyone leaves the church when the event is over, […]

CYMT Resident watches Program Succeed over 5 Years

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Tess Frohock began as a CYMT resident in the inaugural class in 2006.  Tess’ assigned church was St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Preston Taylor Ministries–both in […]

Witch Hunt: Parents’ Unending Lists of Wrongs

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Sally Chambers You don’t […]

Crossing the Line: When Volunteers Date Kids

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Mark Montgomery I pick […]

Mistake Snowball: When One Bad Decision Leads to Another

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Sara Bailey When I […]

Alcohol: When Parents Encourage Underage Consumption

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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry, edited by Will Penner. by Hank Hilliard It was […]

The Power of Testimony

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What is the most powerful form of communicating the Gospel? Preaching? Teaching? Studying scripture? While all of those are adequate, I believe that the most powerful […]

Practical Theology as the Foundation of Youth Ministry

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by Andrew Zirschky Jumbo shrimp. Live recording. Pastor’s day off. They’re all oxymorons—figures of speech crafted from contradictory words that make us chuckle when we slow […]

Flip Flops vs. Turtle Necks

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by Kris Konsowitz The discussion on appropriate dress can be taken to extremes by both youth ministers and churches. I was recently told of such an […]

How2: 5 Steps to Engage Your Youth Council or Ministry Team

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As a young youth minister, one of my greatest challenges was knowing what to do with my youth council or youth ministry team. At the Center […]

Back to School Prep

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by Jason Sansbury Whether we like it or not, the fall school season is almost here! Here is a quick look at some of the things […]

Exploring the Ideology of Chapman’s “Do Everything”

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Editor’s Note: The content of this article was developed in Advanced Studies in Youth, Church and Culture taught by Andrew Zirschky at Memphis Theological Seminary in […]

Submission: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Playing with Purpose

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At one time or another, I have played every kind of youth ministry game, from gross food to trust falls, from shaving cream to marshmallow wars. […]

CYMT Orientation 2012

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Graduate Residency jumped into full swing August 6-9, 2012, with our orientation and first academic retreat of the year. This […]

Celebrating Summer with the Whole Church

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For every youth ministry summer trip, there are more “God moments” to share than you could fit into a 15 minute conversation.  Sadly, most of these […]

Instructions for Servant Leadership

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Several years ago, I was working with our youth leadership team at our church. The youth leadership team were the youth who were willing to take […]

Investor Update 8.14.12

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Welcome to the new Center for Youth Ministry Training Investor Update! God is doing so many amazing things in and through the CYMT that they simply […]

Facing Our Demons: Lessons from Jesus’ Temptations in the Wilderness

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by Will Penner Approximate length: 40 minutes Primary Theme: Temptation Additional Themes: Sin, Evil, Satan Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11 All throughout the Bible, we find stories of […]

Ministry Team Quotes: Discussion fodder for staff and volunteers

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by Hank Hilliard These quotes can open the door to deep reflection and discussion about the state of youth ministry at your church. Some of the […]

Welcome 2012 Graduate Residents and Partner Churches

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training is excited to welcome 13 new graduate residents and partner churches to the program this Fall. Our churches are located […]

CYMT Graduate Resident Moves Out of Her Comfort Zone in Summer Trip

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CYMT Graduate Resident Tiffany Nygard had researched all that she could about Camp Barnabas before taking her youth from White House United Methodist Church this summer. […]

CYMT’s First Children’s Director Graduates with Honors

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Joanna Cummings serves as the Director of Children’s Ministries at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tenn. I was drawn to CYMT because I had […]

Executive Director Note Spring 2011

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Exciting things are afoot at the Center for Youth Ministry Training. We just celebrated our fifth birthday so I wanted to share five dreams that God […]

Panopticism in The Hunger Games

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Editor’s Note: The content of this article was developed in Advanced Studies in Youth, Church and Culture taught by Andrew Zirschky at Memphis Theological Seminary in […]

Nicki Minaj at the Communion Table

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by Mark Taylor Editor’s Note: The content of this article was developed in Advanced Studies in Youth, Church and Culture taught by Andrew Zirschky at Memphis […]

Service: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

CYMT adds Memphis Regional Staff

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In May 2011, the Center for Youth Ministry Training hired Kris Konsowitz as the Memphis Regional Director. Serving in this role, Kris will be able to […]

Does your youth minister cook?

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training recruits partner churches where our graduate residents serve as youth ministers while in our program.  At a recent recruitment meeting […]

Review: The Indispensable Youth Pastor

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training exists to train and equip youth ministers and churches to develop deep impacting, sustainable youth ministries.  My job is to […]

Put on Your Big Boy Pants

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Some days my job is a joy at the Center for Youth Ministry Training.  Staff and graduate residents tell me stories of all the wonderful things […]

Youth Ministry Batting Average?

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A friend commented yesterday that they weren’t sure that any of their youth group would be a dedicated Christian before they left for college.  He was […]

Fasting: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Review: Sticky Faith – Duct Tape for our Youths’ Spiritual Lives

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Over the past five years, I have been blessed to get to know Kara Powell and Brad Griffin from the Fuller Youth Institute.  In 2006, I got […]

CYMT partners with Memphis Theological Seminary

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Board of Directors is excited to announce a collaborative partnership with Memphis Theological Seminary. Our partnership with MTS will help […]

Executive Director Note 2010

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God continues to do amazing things in and through the Center for Youth Ministry Training. We commissioned our third class of students on August 1. On […]

Lilly Grant continues to fund CYMT

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The Center for Youth Ministry Training is excited to announce the Lilly Foundations decision to fund our Lilly Laboratory for Youth Ministry grant for two more […]

Academic Director strengthens CYMT Curriculum

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CYMT Academic Director, Andrew Zirschky, started his new position July 1, 2010, and lead his first retreat with our students on August 2, 2010. He took […]

Partner Church Focus: Forest Hills UMC

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Forest Hills United Methodist Church is a model church for how the CYMT program has impacted their congregation. Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., […]

An Interview with CYMT Resident, Courtney Blacksten

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Courtney serves on the Youth Ministry staff at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee and is in her second year at CYMT. What drew you to […]

Called to Youth Ministry

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“During my senior year of college, finishing my bachelors degree in Commercial Art: Graphic Design, more strongly than ever before, God was calling me into ministry. […]

CYMT Resident likes the Challenge

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Emma Loane likes a challenge. She has faced a few in following God’s plan for her life. Emma is a new student in the CMYT program. […]

An Interview with CYMT resident, Steph Dodge

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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 […]

David – West Memphis

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In my experience, I have found the leadership of CYMT to be committed, focused, and professional.  But most importantly, they are “sold out” to ministry to youth, and are dedicated […]

John – Maples Memorial

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After discovering the mission/purpose of our youth ministry, CYMT and their students are providing additional stability, consistency and creativity.  Our goal is to have sustainable youth […]

Ed Myers – Lutheran

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“Through the CYMT, our congregation, and Harry working together, God is doing some amazing things.   Harry’s faith and ability were never in question, but the CYMT […]

Jim Hughes – FHUMC

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“Our partnership with CYMT has been nothing but positive.  We were fortunate to have a husband and wife team who are doing youth and children’s ministry.   […]

Courtney Quote

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“Upon graduating from college with a degree in Youth Ministry, I had a great deal of knowledge about Biblical studies and Youth Ministry but lacked the […]

Sam Quote

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“CYMT is a program that finally understands the importance of training and equipping youth ministers before throwing them into the church without any direction. In fact, […]

Sara Quote

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“My coach Lesleigh has been a great help during my first year as a youth director. She encourages me with times of prayer and has helped […]

Study: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Be Still and Know: Ordering of time for monastics and middle schoolers

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by Jill Altom We recently embarked upon an ambitious task to journey with our youth up to the Cumberland Mountains to learn and practice Sabbath.  The […]

The Future of Youth Ministry: Findings from the Lilly Laboratory Think Tank

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if you locked youth ministry thought leaders, academics, and practicioners in a room and asked them, “What will be […]

Worship: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

The Theology of Personhood (Think Tank 2012)

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Human flourishing and theology of the body Currently, the trend we see in both youth ministry and the church at large in regards to issues of […]

Youth Minister as Equipper of the Household of Faith (Think Tank 2012)

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The church faces the same issue as many public schools: Who helps with the homework when the student goes home?  How much of it gets lost […]

Ready or Not (Think Tank 2012)

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The changing possibilities for the profession of youth ministry “In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.  The learned usually […]

Youth Ministry as Healing and Restoration (Think Tank 2012)

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What would it mean to envision youth ministry as healing and restoration—to see youth ministry as grounded in a theology of restoration between oneself and God, […]

Youth and Children’s Ministries Thinking, Partnering, Working Together

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Editor’s Note: This article was inspired by Michael Bayne’s 4 ways for student and kids pastors to work together. by Chris and Joanna Cummings It’s not […]

The Weakness of a Domesticated Gospel (Think Tank 2012)

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When the Christian story no longer seems compelling The looming crisis in youth ministry is that young people have examined the church and judged it to […]

Youth Ministry as the Great Co-Mission (Think Tank 2012)

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Radically local but intentionally global Our understanding of mission within youth ministry should be highly contextualized at the local level but also open to learning from […]

Wrestling the Holy Bible to an Aha! Moment (Think Tank 2012)

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Finding ourselves and one another in God’s story We have domesticated the Bible. We are teaching a one-dimensional Bible. We’ve left out the lament, the trouble, […]

The Need for Ecclesiology (Think Tank 2012)

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It’s the end of the Church as we know it, and they (youth) feel fine. The Western church is an inconsequential place in the life of […]

Findings from Think Tank 2012: 26 issues that will affect youth ministry in the next decade

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In January 2012, the Center for Youth Ministry Training held our fourth annual Lilly Laboratory Think Tank. Youth ministry practitioners and academics for across the country […]

Prayer: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Turn It Off and Have a Real Conversation

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by Amy Jacober A Public Service Announcement to youth pastors Connections are my great reminder that God designed us to be a communal people. Technology has […]

Meditation: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the third in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

The Kind of Love That You Were Born For

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by Amy Jacober What happens when a teenager has a vision from God and a praying mom who takes her seriously. Every once in a while […]

Simplicity: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

Solitude: Spiritual Disciplines for Youthworkers

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in a 12-part series on spiritual disciplines for youth workers, based on Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. by Kelly Soifer […]

The Other Brother: The Parable of the Prodigal Son from the Older Sibling’s Perspective

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by Will Penner Approximate length: 35 minute The story of the prodigal son is most often told from the viewpoint of the prodigal himself. Through the […]

Drop Your Nets: Following Jesus Immediately, Regardless of the Cost

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by Will Penner Approximate length: 90 minutes Supplies: • VCR or DVD player, and TV or projector and screen • Video or DVD copy of An […]

Communication Key #1 – Pastor

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If asked an important question about the youth ministry at your church, would your pastor know the answer or have to say “I don’t know.” Not […]

Turn Your To-Do List Upside Down

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As I was meeting with one of our graduate residents at the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) this past week, he talked about how hard […]

Is mission only an adjective at your Church?

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Is mission only an adjective at your church?  Seems like the only use or understanding of the word mission is to preceed other words: Mission Statement […]

Make Church Work More Fun – #4 Share Stories

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Church staff’s are notorious for not having any fun.  Everyone on staffs task list is longer than they can possible do on their own.  We get […]

Book Review: A Weed in the Church

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by Nate Davis Every year, youth workers expend vast amounts of energy and resources planning programs and events that are aimed at reaching students who seem […]

Thinking Out Loud: Lesson on Bin Laden

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Wow! We have got a lot going on in the world right now – Bin Laden is dead, Tornadoes have devastated the South, and the Mississippi is so […]

Technology and the Church: Using new media to communicate faith

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Technology is a way of life for teens and most adults these days with social networking, databases, environment enhancing technology, media, and general communication. So many […]

5 Dangers of Cell Phones on Youth Trips: Beyond distraction to detriment

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by Deech Kirk I was reminded recently about how much technology is changing youth ministry. A friend had just returned from a youth trip and was […]

Make Church Work More Fun – #3 Laugh!

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Does the church take itself to seriously?  Yes.  Do we take our jobs to seriously? Yes.  Don’t get me wrong we are in the Kingdom business […]

Make Church Work More Fun – #2 Gotcha!

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In my recent post 5 Things to make Church Work More Fun, I listed the following things as some ideas for how to overcome the mundane […]

Souls in Transition in a Nutshell

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A summary of research on religious change in emerging adulthood Editor’s Note: This synopsis was written as part of a Lilly Foundation grant to the Center for Youth […]

5 Things that Make Church work more Fun!

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One of my firm beliefs is that youth ministers have an important task on church staffs … making working at the church fun!  Working at a […]

Make Church Work More Fun – #1 Give them a Brick

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My wife used to work in the marketing department for a large construction company. This company did a great job of celebrating and affirming people and […]

Youth, Religion and Globalization in a Nutshell

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A summary of research on faith and adolescence around the world Editor’s Note: This synopsis was written as part of a Lilly Foundation grant to the Center for […]

How2: 4 Essentials to Effective Student Leadership

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Student leadership is a challenging part of youth ministry. Many churches regulate leadership to decision making or simply service. Youth serve on a council (see post on […]

Keeping Juniors and Seniors Involved

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I’ve got a secret.  I’ve learned how to keep Juniors and Seniors, but I don’t want it to be a secret anymore.  My good friend Mark […]

The FBI Wants to Talk to You: A Youth Ministry Story

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Monday—7:00 a.m. It was a Monday morning like every other Monday morning. I was half awake and tired from a long day at church the day […]

Don’t Lose Your Life to Youth Ministry

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My Problem I can remember counting every hour I worked my first two years in youth ministry to justify a raise.  I don’t remember the exact […]

Key to Spiritual Growth in Teenagers = Programming the Gaps

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This is my third and final post on Intentional Discipleship.  I am putting the finishing touches this fall on a book aptly named Intentional Discipleship that will be […]

Youth Ministry and Training Fleas

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Watch this video while thinking about the question – how is training fleas similar to how we do youth ministry in the church? Training Fleas Yesterday, I […]

Driver’s License Myth and Flat Line Youth Ministries

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In consulting with churches through Youth Ministry Architects and CYMT, I hear over and over again about how students become less active or drop out of […]

5 Keys to Visiting School Lunch Rooms

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I am a firm believer that an essential part of youth ministry is getting on students’ turf. I find that school is an important place for […]

Importance of Balcony Time in Youth Ministry

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Unfortunately in youth ministry we often plan on-the-fly, but without the insight of what is happening in the balcony. We get narrow-sighted by what we are experiencing on the field. We can not see all the parts and how they are affecting each other and make on-the-fly decisions under informed decisions.

Growing Souls in a Nutshell

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Ministry implications from the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project Editor’s Note: This synopsis was written as part of a Lilly Foundation grant to the Center for Youth Ministry […]

Second-Chair Leadership in Youth Ministry

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[Second-Chair Leadership Conversation] Today, Andrew Zirschky (ymprof) and I have a conversation about what second-chair leadership looks like in the local church. As youth ministers, we […]

Pancake Tuesday

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by Lilly Lewin Start the Lenten season with a clean slate…and maple syrup For many of us, we grew up with “lent” as something you’d find […]

Buon Natale! An Introductory Lesson on Advent

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by Kelly Soifer Unexpectedly, I was asked to teach about Advent in two distinctly different contexts: to an adult Sunday school at my church, where the […]

4 Ways to Promote Intentionally Spiritual Parenting

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by Stephen Ingram We have moved into a new age in student ministry.  Working with parents—long seen in youth ministry as a nice addition to our […]

Should Youth Ministers Pursue Ordination?

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by Deech Kirk Last week, I attended an ordination mentor training, equipping me to serve others by helping them navigate the challenging process of ordination.  I […]

3 Tips for Bringing Out the Best in Your Small Group Leaders

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by Stephen Ingram When I do small group training I often like to talk about the 3 “Be”s of Being a Good Small Group Leader.  This […]

Almost Christian in a Nutshell

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Editor’s Note: This synopsis was written as part of a Lilly Foundation grant to the Center for Youth Ministry Training. The Research in a Nutshell What contributes to […]

Making Sense of Teens & ‘Fake’ Christianity: The NSYR in a Nutshell

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Editor’s Note: On August 27, 2010 Kenda Creasy Dean and her book Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church were […]

Want to Get Away?

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by Stephen Ingram Practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Pilgrimage Both Here and There Want to Get Away? Do you remember the “Wanna Get Away” Southwest Airline […]

A Youthworker’s Camp Survival Kit: Don’t leave church without it!

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by Mindi Godfrey I recently attended a weekend retreat in the mountains. I’ve been to this particular camp several times before but it had been a […]

Serving in the Gap (Year)

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by Heidi Aspinwall The story of Samuel’s call, 1 Samuel 3, is a simple story of a young man given to serve in the temple by […]

Reflecting on the Season of Lent

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk As we move through Holy Week, here are […]

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Lessons about Identity through the eyes of a “wimpy kid”

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by Sean Meade About the Movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a new family comedy based on the first book in the popular series by […]

10 Simple Prayer Ideas for Teens

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk The Examen This is a cool ancient form […]

Educating Your Students About World Hunger

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by Glenn Miller Several years ago World Vision began a movement to help raise funds to purchase food and to help feed the hungry around the […]

From Good Retreats To Great Retreats

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by Stephen Ingram The most transformative opportunities one has in student ministry are those 24-48 hour-long free-for-alls we call retreats. Retreats are excellent places to bring […]

Lent 101: A Guide to Understanding the History and Practices of Lent

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by Kelly Soifer For fifteen years I served as a youth pastor in an independent, non-denominational Bible church in California, and my early experience with Lent […]

Advent Bible Study: Depictions of Jesus

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Getting Ready Invite students individually or in small […]

Advent Bible Study: Making Room for God

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Like it or not, the “Christmas Buying Season” […]

Advent Prayer Stations

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Advent, those four weeks preceding Christmas, has its […]

Advent Ideas

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk With Christmas music and decorations appearing in stores […]

Saving the Ministry Money: Stewardship tips for tough economic times

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by Mike Kupferer No youth ministry is immune to the economic hardship facing our country. In order to be better stewards of our resources (and possibly […]

I Hide Him in My Pocket

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Mini-Altars Help Students Keep God with Them During […]

Creating a Budget: Step-by-step guide to the process

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by Mike Kupferer It’s time for many youth ministries to turn in their budgets for the next year. The economy is tough, and churches are feeling […]

Body of Christ Discussion

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk In this short discussion starter, written for middle […]

Creative Prayer of St. Francis

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Engage the creative gifts of students in this […]

8 Back to School Ideas Not Spelled P-A-R-T-Y

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk I’m not a big fan of big back-to-school […]

Meditation: The Receptive Spirit

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by Terry Carty We all know about the holy habits of worship, prayer, giving, reading the Bible, and the sacraments. These habits are, of course, important, […]

The Importance of Firsts: Offering new experiences to our youth

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by Hank Hilliard and Mary Dell Deweese My oldest son, Tanner, played baseball last spring in what is called a “modified coach-pitch league,” which is one […]

Artful Prayers

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Most of us would love it if we […]

10 Things Adults Should Know About Teenagers

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk This summer, for the first time at my […]

Creative Worship

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk Sometimes the only way to get a different […]

10 Ways to Get Teenagers Talking

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by Brian Kirk A friend from my seminary days recently contacted me to ask if I had any suggestions on ways to engage students in discussion […]

7 Ways to Guarantee a Lousy Camp Experience

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on rethinkingyouthministry.com and is reprinted here with permission. by Brian Kirk I’m off to church camp in a few […]

7 Places Stations: An experiential Holy Week experience

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by Deech Kirk Create a worship experience that your students will not forget.  Jesus bled from seven places when he gave his life for our sins.  […]

Catacomb Worship

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by Steph Dodge Overview: This activity is meant to model for the students what the early Christians went through meeting in the catacombs to avoid Roman […]

What is Your Pathway?: A spiritual gifts inventory

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by Hank Hilliard Editor’s Note: This exercise can also be used with parents. A pathway has to do with the way we most naturally sense God’s […]

Who Am I?: Seeing yourself through God’s eyes

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by Steph Dodge Overview:  This activity will help your youth understand who they are in God’s eyes. Materials: Picture frames or small mirrors for each participant […]

Teens and the Trinity

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by Joey Willis Christian Theology, Teens and the Trinity The Christian doctrine of the Trinity can be both a comfort and a confusion to the modern […]