Warmth in Winter is an annual youth event organized by the Tennessee Conference Young People’s Ministries of the United Methodist Church for the Middle Tennessee area churches. This year’s three-day event was themed “Something Beautiful” and was held in Murfreesboro in January. CYMT was well represented at Warmth in Winter with 16 graduate residents and alumni participating with their churches. For the CYMT churches who attended, it was a great weekend to get away from the routine schedules and come together as a youth group. The weekend created space for great discussion within the youth groups and time to connect with youth from other churches.
Taylor Young, CYMT graduate resident at Madison Street UMC in Clarksville, attended the event with his youth. He enjoyed spending time with his youth in their church devotion time set aside by the event organizers. Taylor said, “I got to witness a youth accept Christ and really feel like she was a part of the group for the first time. Due to a lot of social anxieties that she has, this was a big deal for her.”
Jenn Parrish at Smithville UMC shared, “By far my highlights were the theological conversations that I had with some of my girls throughout the weekend. I was able to witness a greater community developing within the boys in my group. The junior high boys bonded with the high school boys and that was a blessing to watch and be a part of.”
Cory Martin, CYMT alumni from Blakemore UMC, said, “It was the trip itself that was good—the getting away from the norm and experiencing God together.”
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.