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 question has an easier answer for folks who sell things or make things or help people or teach. My typical response when my girls ask me is, “I answer questions.” Answering questions is the primary role of my job. I work with the CYMT staff to answer questions. I answer residents’ questions. I answer partner church questions. I answer donor questions. Hopefully at the end of the day, the answers have moved the ministry forward.
However, my favorite part of my job is being a youth minister to youth ministers, because part of running a graduate residency in youth ministry is ministering to youth ministers. All of our key staff members (Executive Director, Director of Coaching, Youth Ministry Professor) are former full-time youth ministers. God called us from the ranks of ministering to teenagers to minister and train those who do what we love. We all still volunteer with youth ministries, and we still have a “youth group” as well, they are just older.
We have just returned from another CYMT retreat. Residents were in class eight hours a day for three days. But between classes, at lunch and dinner, and in the evening, we are a family … the CYMT family. A family of ministers who love and care for each other. During these times, I am privileged to:
- Listen to the burdens on someone’s heart
- Guide others as they discern God’s call
- Pray with those who feel empty
- Dance and play
Occasionally, we find ourselves as staff referring to “our kids” when talking about our graduate residents. We correct ourselves, because we know that they are adults. We don’t mean it in a demeaning manor, but instead in an endearing way. As former youth ministers, we loved “our kids.” The same is true for our graduate residents!
This year, we have 37 graduate residents in the CYMT program, which is a pretty good-sized youth group. What a joy to be a youth minister to youth ministers!