The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) has been awarded a $220,00 grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation for the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry. This grant will allow CYMT to create a second cohort of a research-based incubator for innovation in youth ministry in Texas during the next 2 years.
Nearly all of the models for modern ministry reduce youth ministry to a peer-based youth group. Despite the fact that the mainline church faces declining numbers, it continues to turn primarily to the modern formula with its emphasis on peer-based groups for personal spiritual enrichment as a dominant, if not sole, form of youth ministry. CYMT believes the key to breaking out of the mold is to help a select group of congregations design and test innovative models of youth ministry that are practical and theologically rich.
The laboratory, then, exists to provide congregations the resources and tools to create innovative models based on a five-phase research plan, the Theological Innovation Process. Five United Methodist youth pastors and their congregations will be selected to engage this process and learn the keys to successful implementation. Selections will be announced in July.
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.