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 want to give you a brief overview of the semester, and we have included our spring retreat calendar and courses.

Spring 2014

January 29 – January 31, 2014  Spring Retreat 1
NOTE:  Classes begin at 8 AM on January 29 and end at noon on January 31 (this shift will allow several of our residents to take their youth groups to Warmth in Winter in Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
March 13-15, 2014  Spring Retreat 2
April 24-26, 2014  Spring Retreat 3
May 9-10, 2014  Theology Together Elective Course and Youth Leader Training


TH1000 – Christian Beliefs (All Residents)
Instructor: Matt Mathews (Ph.D. Emory)
This course seeks to introduce students to the task of theology as “faith seeking understanding.” Through a combination of lecture and guided discussion, we will explore the formulation of the central beliefs of the Christian faith and probe the continued meaning of these beliefs for Christian experience, the life of the church, and ministry. The course is designed to assist students in developing a lifelong habit of critical theological reflection that will enrich their understanding of the Christian faith as well as their calling to leadership in the church.
YM02456 – Advanced Studies in Youth, Church & Culture (2nd & 3rd Years)
Instructor: Andrew Zirschky (M.Div. Princeton)
The lenses through which we view contemporary culture affect the way we assess society, understand teenagers, and approach ministry to them. This course will lead students through a survey of distinct ways of reflecting on the American cultural milieu while considering how each cultural perspective shapes our understanding of the issues facing youth and youth ministry. Specifically, students will be led to consider contemporary assessments of culture as postmodern, post-Christian, consumerist, entertainment-driven, individualized, secularized, and networked. Employing practical theological reflection and critique, students will explore various ways the church is responding to these cultural perspectives before crafting their own theologically-informed actions and responses for youth ministry in context.
Formation for Ministry (All Residents)
Spiritual formation for ministry and the integration of theological education with family life, church, and the larger community are essential for development as Christian servant leaders. Students are required to be enrolled in Formation for Ministry during all six of their residency semesters in the program. This course will ground participants in covenants of accountability that lead to lifelong theological learning, holy friendships and a set of practices that will sustain pastoral excellence throughout their lives. Participants will explore major themes of Christian life and leadership, including: Being and Becoming a Beloved Child of God, God’s Dream for the World, Wholeness and Health, Building Relationships and Learning to Live in Solidarity With Those Made Poor and/or Marginal in Society, Keeping the Sabbath, Power, Money, Building the Beloved Community, Call, and Discipleship Over the Long Haul.
YM03463: Youth Ministry Practicum 2 (1st Years)
Instructor: Dietrich Kirk (MAR Memphis Theological)
Students will gain in-the-trenches youth ministry experience by serving in a local church as a part of their practicum experience. The program is designed to all students to work full- or part-time as a youth minister during their education allowing them to put all the pieces together—everything they learn from peers in their cohort, the professors in the classroom, and from their coach.
YM02765 – Contemporary Issues in Youth Ministry – Theology Together: Engaging Youth in Theological Reflection (Elective)
Instructor: Andrew Zirschky (M.Div. Princeton)
Contemporary Issues courses investigate a current topic of discussion in the field of youth ministry through engagement in a national or regional youth ministry event with additional guided course hours and readings in the topic. The course is repeatable with unique topics investigated at each offering. In the spring of 2014 we will investigate the success of high school theology programs in engaging adolescents in robust theological dialogue and vocational discernment while exploring ways to import meaningful theological conversation into congregational youth ministry.
If you would like to see all the courses residents will take over their three years, click here to see the MA in YM overview.