When I think about my ministry, one of my goals is to leave a legacy of youth ministry. In addition to seeking to teach youth that they are beloved Children of God, redeemed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and called to serve God by the power of the Holy Spirit in this world, I want to pass on the vocation of youth ministry to the next generation.
Legacy: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
Healthy churches and youth ministries produce young people who have identified a call to ministry. Because vocational call is such a part of my understanding of ministry, my ministry has always placed an emphasis on helping young people identify their call. I recently celebrated 20 years in professional ministry. In those 20 years, I have watched 20 young people go into professional ministry. Most of them have gone into youth ministry themselves. Some of them are ordained and some of them are in the ordination process. Many of them will serve the church as a lay person their whole career.
They are my ministry family tree. I have continued to invest in their lives and support them in ministry. They encourage me as I encourage them. I occasionally get emails in which they share that they caught themselves saying something just like I would. I always hope that it is something good. Below is a video of CYMT graduate resident Carlisle Jones who was one of my youth sharing her story and the beginning of her own legacy.
CYMT is beginning to see its legacy passed to the next generation of youth ministers. We have now graduated 40 youth ministers from our program. Maria Ghianni is serving at Carthage FUMC, and she was a youth in Kris Lott’s youth ministry at Calvary UMC. Kris graduated from CYMT in 2008. We have an applicant this year who is from another graduate’s youth ministry.
One measurement of the impact that the CYMT program has on the Kingdom is the number of teenagers who participate in CYMT partner churches’ ministries. Our exponential impact projects that we will touch nearly 30,000 lives by 2025. But in addition to this impact, we will leave a legacy of youth ministry. How many youth ministers and ministers will be a part of the CYMT legacy? We don’t know, but great youth ministries produce great youth ministers. We are just at the beginning of seeing the fruits of our CYMT family tree, but I can’t wait to watch it flourish.
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]