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 experience as they progressed through the youth program at Brentwood United Methodist Church led by then youth minister Dietrich Kirk. When Deech asked me to lend my efforts to helping CYMT by serving on its Board, I immediately said yes. If I could be a part of helping other youth have the types of experiences my kids had at BUMC, I wanted to be a part of that.”
John shares that he loves the fact that CYMT is training and equipping dozens of youth ministers with real time experience that helps them bring the message of Christ to hundreds, if not thousands, of youth who otherwise might not find Him. He adds, “Today’s world is far more complicated than it once was, especially if you’re an impressionable youth. CYMT is giving youth ministers the hands on training and mentoring it takes to deal with today’s issues.”
John says that CYMT has been such a positive experience for him, and he is humbled by the devotion of the graduate residents to have the passion and desire to learn all they can to help lead youth to Christ.
As a donor and Board member John sees CYMT’s impact first hand: “In the past seven years, we have placed some 70 youth ministers in participating churches of several denominations. The average youth minister will minister to around 400 youth during his or her career. If you just do some simple math, you can quickly begin to see the exponential impact of this program. Some of our current CYMT students were led by a CYMT trained youth minister in their own churches just a few years ago. And now they’ve made the decision to follow in the footsteps of their CYMT trained youth minister. To me, that alone validates the phenomenal impact that CYMT is making in the church as a whole.”
CYMT’s hopes for the future are to raise funds to ensure the long term growth and sustainability of CYMT. The goal is to raise $5 million for youth ministry scholarships, an endowment for a youth ministry professorship, and to provide partner church scholarships where needed. John says, “Deech and his staff have done a remarkable job of making CYMT the model for training and equipping youth ministers so they can thrive and grow. With this fundraising effort, we can ensure that model will duplicate and grow for decades to come.”
John Padgett was born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn. After four years in the U.S. Navy on board the Guided Missile Destroyer USS Cochrane as an Operations Specialist, he graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Communications with a major in Broadcasting Management. He moved to Nashville in 1982 to pursue a career in broadcasting sales and never left. He has worked in sales and management for several companies in Nashville including Gaylord Entertainment, WSM Radio and the world famous Grand Ole Opry for 20 years from 1983 to 2003.
In 2003 he, along with two tremendous business partners, launched a broadcasting sales consulting company, Gabriel Media. John says “We have been very fortunate and now have TV and radio clients in 46 states.” John has been happily married to his wife, Pam, for almost 29 years with two wonderful children, Kelsey and Will. In his free time, he loves fishing, boating, traveling, and all things outdoors.
CYMT is proud to announce the expansion of our original initiative into Theology Together 2.0. CYMT aims to develop a curriculum to be used in local congregations and ministries. Taking what we have learned about engaging youth in deep theological reflection during missional experiences and embedding those processes into congregational youth ministries.
"I hope students come away from my courses with the ability to think more deeply, richly and theologically about their youth ministry practice. I think a lot of what happens in youth ministry happens unreflectively and can be deforming to young people, and my courses are intended to give students a theological framework for evaluating and reforming their youth ministry practice."
Of course, I want students to drink deeply from the academic readings, lectures and discussions, and I want them to be informed by the academics. But more than that, I want them to see that youth ministry is a calling of God, an important part of God’s mission in the world, one that should give them pride and evoke humility at the same time.