BY: Anna Kathryn Simmons


Samantha “Sam” Tidball, Youth Pastor for Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, has been awarded “The Distinguished Youth Minister Award” from The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT), based in Nashville, TN. CYMT is a graduate program that equips youth ministers and churches to develop theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries.

The Mark DeVries Distinguished Youth Minister Award is given by the Center for Youth Ministry Training to an alumnus who has been nominated by his/her peers for making a significant impact on or contribution to youth ministry. As a 2010 graduate of the program, Pastor Tidball was selected for the award by other CYMT alumni for her significant contributions to the profession of youth ministry.

Pastor Tidball graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI in 2008 with a major in rhetoric communications and a minor in youth ministry. After graduation, she moved to Nashville where she received in-depth theological training and coaching through the CYMT program.

“I knew I wanted to be a youth pastor since I was in ninth grade,” said Tidball. “My church youth group and its leaders had such a huge impact on my life.” She eventually became the Youth Director at First United Methodist Church Nolensville (TN), where she served for five years before taking on her present position in 2015.

Dietrich Kirk, CYMT Executive Director, had this to say about Sam, “After graduating from MTS and the CYMT graduate residency program, Sam has faithfully continued to impact youth ministry in significant ways.  She impacts other youth ministries through her curriculum writing and development. She continues to pursue knowledge that she can use to minister to youth and their families. Most importantly, Sam faithfully shares the Good News of Christ with young people creating space for them to encounter the life changing love and grace of Jesus.” 

While serving as youth pastor at Vineyard Church, where she pastors teens and their families, she received grants from the Vibrant Faith Institute and the Search Institute to develop a curriculum for helping teens and their families strengthen their relationships. The six-week course was successfully launched this past fall, with more courses scheduled for the coming year.

Lesleigh Carmichael, CYMT’s Associate Director who served as Sam’s coach fondly remembers this moment with Sam after she told her something to do during coaching.  Sam said, “It’s a good thing you are called a coach and not a mentor, because if you were just a mentor I would be like ok whatever, but since you’re my coach I’m like man I have to get that done.”

Tidball also serves as a professional Youth Ministry coach —currently training a Youth Pastor from another church, writes youth curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House, and contributes to the Vineyard Youth USA Blog.


Information cited from: Vineyard News. Samantha tidball, youth pastor, received distinguished youth minister award [Press Release]. Retrieved from 


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