I have known my calling to youth ministry since high school. I grew up in the youth group at Bethany UMC in Austin, Texas, and was a very active member since the 6th grade. In high school, I was asked to be a middle school girls small group leader since I liked kids and was invested in the youth group. Through that position, God revealed to me my calling to youth ministry! What started as simply enjoying volunteering and spending time with the kids turned into one of my favorite parts of the week and something I cared deeply about. I was extremely fortunate that the youth group staff helped me by affirming and nurturing my calling by supporting me and giving me many opportunities to lead and learn in a variety of ways.
I was told about CYMT in late high school/early college. Teresa Kingsbury was our youth director until she left to pursue her job as the Texas Regional Director for CYMT. I was told by her and the other Bethany Youth staff to apply after I graduated from Texas A&M. I always kept it in the back of my mind as an option to consider after college. In the fall of my senior year at A&M, I began to look into CYMT and was very interested. After speaking with the Admissions Director and learning more about this amazing program, I decided to apply. One of the main things that drew me to CYMT is the combination of getting to start working in a church while simultaneously earning my seminary degree. I knew that after college I wanted to start working, but didn’t really want to put off going to seminary, so this program really is perfect for what I was looking for. I can’t wait for the next three years!
I hope to form wonderful friendships with residents in my cohort so that we can learn and grow together. I am also super thankful for my coach, Amy, and I hope to grow closer to her and look forward to her mentorship and guidance as I move through the program. I hope to gain a lot of practical knowledge in the field of youth ministry that I can apply in my CYMT placement and wherever I end up after the program ends.
I anticipate that I will grow in my leadership and organizational abilities and in my practical knowledge of youth ministry. For years I have been excited to work in a church’s youth ministry, so I hope to grow closer to the Lord and in my understanding of myself and youth ministry as I navigate seminary and my job.
The knowledge, experience, and relationships I will gain through the CYMT program over the next three years are something I take with me into my next steps in life. I hope to be working in youth ministry long term. I have experienced the benefits of growing up with consistent youth staff at my church, and I hope to work in that kind of environment after CYMT. I am very thankful to be in this program and am excited to see what God does over the next three years and beyond!
Olivia Keffer and Makenzie Knowlden have been friends since the beginning of their CYMT graduate residence journey, and this friendship has turned out to be one of the things that helped them make it to graduation day. Their story is one of affirming fellowship between two women who, despite living in different cities, helped each other answer their call to youth ministry.
Classroom: One of CYMT’s 5 Components of a Holistic Ministry Training Experience CYMT values the role of theological education in the life of a youth […]
The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) recently received a $1.19MM grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to fund the next phase of the Innovation Laboratory. The grant will enable CYMT to strengthen the Innovation Lab by building on what we learned from our original cohorts and tweaking our process and strategy for greater impact.