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 in Lebanon, Tenn., and he was commissioned in 2009 with a Certificate in Youth Ministry. We sat down with him to see what he has been doing since his time at CYMT.
Jon, it has been a while since we have heard from you; what have you been up to?
I graduated in May of this year with a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School. While I completed my degree, I continued to serve Westland UMC as their associate pastor. I also met my wife Julianne while in school.
After leaving CYMT, you pursued your M.Div. at Vanderbilt; how did your time at CYMT help prepare you?
I definitely learned how to balance and even revel in being a student while working at a church. Those skills were crucial when I went full-time at Vanderbilt while being nearly full-time at Westland.
You were commissioned as an Elder in June. Where are you currently serving?
I currently serve as pastor of Dodson Chapel UMC in Hermitage. I am very happy here and so excited for all that God is leading us into.
How will your love for youth ministry impact how you pastor a church?
Whoa, big question. Well, a couple of ways are in how I preach and just how I relate to youth. In preaching, I always try to ask myself how a youth would feel included and considered in each sermon (a tougher task than I would want to admit). In how I relate to youth, I continue to prioritize that time. I meet weekly with our high school and college students at Dodson Chapel because of how critical they are in God’s Kingdom.
In what ways did CYMT help you prepare to be a pastor?
Those questions are always so hard because I am quick to forget when I learned things and pretend like I have always known them. I can certainly say learning the importance of rhythmic weeks and the process of visioning were very useful skills that I learned during my time in CYMT, and I’ve used those skills often in my church assignments. I am sure there are many other things that CYMT taught me that I pretend I have somehow always known.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Church?
Wow. I don’t have space here to answer that well, but I will say for our local church, my hope is that we become a community which is led toward faithfulness at every step of the journey. I hope we are sharing the Good News of the salvation that is in Christ by telling The Story, telling our story, and working on being like Christ in every aspect of our lives. I hope that our lives and relationships start with, look toward, and require God, rather than things of this world.
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.