BY: The Center for Youth Ministry Training


Brentwood, TN—  The Center Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) has partnered with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary to offer a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree at an extension campus in Nashville, pending approval by accrediting bodies and the state of Tennessee. The program will be the nation’s largest graduate program in youth ministry for mainline Christian Denominations, with fifty or more full time students. 

Founded in 2006, CYMT is a graduate residency program that equips youth ministers and churches to develop effective youth ministries. Over the past 14 years, CYMT has graduated 107 individuals who now serve teens as  youth ministers, non-profit leaders, teachers, and counselors. 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. 

“We believe that this relationship will help us continue our mission,” said Rev. Dietrich Kirk, Executive Director of CYMT. “The extension campus creates a model that could be duplicated in other regions in the future, creating an even bigger impact.”

CYMT originally partnered with Austin Seminary in 2016 to serve the greater Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin areas.  Of the partnership, Dr. David H. Jensen, Academic Dean of Austin Seminary, said “The last four years have been spent in productive, intentional collaboration in offering what I believe is the best master’s degree program for youth ministry in the country.” 

Both organizations share similar missions of educating students both theologically and practically. Established in 1904, Austin Seminary is a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and is an approved seminary of the United Methodist Senate. 

“CYMT is a hub for innovation and critical thinking about best practices in youth ministry,” said Dr. Jensen.  “The organization recognizes that many people called to youth ministry have not received much formal theological education.”

CYMT places those called to youth ministry in one of two education tracks. The Graduate Residency track pairs youth directors with local church or ministries where they gain experience and professional coaching, in addition to earning their Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry degree. 

The second track, The Professional Education track (also referred to as Training-Only), is designed to allow youth workers who are already employed by a church, or other ministry, to remain in their job while also earning a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry. 

Austin Seminary has named Dr. Andrew Zirschky as Director of the MAYM Nashville Extension campus. Dr. Zirschky has been the Academic Director at CYMT for 10 years and holds both an M.Div and Ph.D from Princeton Theological Seminary. 

To learn more about having a CYMT resident serve in your church or how to enroll in the program visit our training pages. 

Churches & Ministries contact:

Tiffany Malone | Residency Support Coordinator | 615.924.3378 or

Youth Ministers/Individuals contact:

Dea Wathen | Recruiting Director | 270.570.0536 or


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