The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s Board of Directors is excited to announce a collaborative partnership with Memphis Theological Seminary. Our partnership with MTS will help us more effectively accomplish the CYMT’s vision of training youth ministers. CYMT receives three primary benefits from this new relationship.
The first benefit is academic credit. Our students currently can earn 12 hours credit from Vanderbilt. Through MTS our students will earn 32 hours of credit for the exact same work because MTS will give credit for our students’ youth ministry course work, internships, and core seminary work. This credit raises the academic credibility of our Certificate in Youth Ministry program. We also benefit from this relationship as our students will be two-thirds of the way towards completing a Master of Arts degree when they complete the certificate program. MTS is creating an opportunity for our students to complete the degree by adding a third year to the CYMT program.
Secondly, this relationship will allow CYMT to expand its region as we create an innovative educational model. We have been focused on the greater Nashville area in our first three years due to the travel restrictions of our students. CYMT and MTS are creating a retreat-based curriculum that will allow students to only have to travel to Nashville or Memphis every six weeks for a 3-day intensive retreat. During the in-between weeks, students will meet in cluster groups in their areas. This model will allow CYMT to expand its reach to a 2-3 hour radius of Nashville. We anticipate working with churches next year in Memphis, Jackson, Northern Alabama, and potentially southern Kentucky.
Finally, this relationship raises CYMT’s reputation and credibility in academic circles and in the eyes of potential students. We will now, through our relationship with MTS, begin to develop one of the strongest youth ministry educational programs in the country. We plan to develop a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry that would begin in 2010. We also plan to work with MTS to potentially hire an associate professor of youth ministry in the near future. We will be able to market our program to future students who are seeking a job and a top-notch youth ministry education.
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.