God continues to do amazing things in and through the Center for Youth Ministry Training. We commissioned our third class of students on August 1. On August 2, we welcomed eleven new students to our program. We will be working with 22 students and churches this fall. Our coaching staff and opportunities for ministry continue to expand in ways we could have only dreamed of. Again our students are coming from all over the country, and we have expanded our region of ministerial influence to include Northern Mississippi, Western Kentucky, and Northern Alabama while continuing to serve churches in the Middle and West Tennessee areas. I hope you will keep this newsletter and pray for them and their churches often.
We are beginning the second year of our partnership with Memphis Theological Seminary and are excited about the approval of a Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry that will allow our students to secure a degree by completing some additional work after our program. Dr. Ben Conner is our Church History professor this semester. Ben is uniquely qualified to teach our students as he is a practicing youth minister who has a PH.D in church history.
Our staff continues to grow as we expand our ministry. Andrew Zirschky joined our staff in July as the Academic Director and is teaching our youth ministry courses and has strengthened our holistic curriculum. Mindi Godfrey joined our staff this Spring as the
Marketing Director for our expanding online resources. We continue our efforts to resource equip, empower, and educate youth ministers across the country.
We continue to be blessed by you who give of your time and resources to make CYMT a reality. We have much to be thankful for at the CYMT. Your prayers and gifts keep the mission of the CYMT alive. Brentwood UMC and First Presbyterian Church continue to
strengthen and bless our ministry. Please pray for our board, staff, students, and churches as we continue this important ministry.
Rev. Dietrich “Deech” Kirk, Executive Director
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.