The Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the Center for Youth Ministry Training $240,000 to fund its Theology Together program over the next three years. Over the past 20 years, the Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded nearly $90 million in grants to fund their Youth and Theology Initiative. Theology Together will seek to learn from and build upon previous Youth and Theology projects.
Andrew Zirschky, CYMT’s Academic Director, will serve as the Theology Together project director.
Theology Together seeks to educate youth workers in tandem with the teenagers with whom they minister while changing the climate of congregational youth ministry as they together introduce theological dialogue, vocational discernment, and reflective action into the fabric and flow of youth ministry in the local church.
By creating an environment in which youth are engaged in theological discussion and reflective action with their youth leaders, not only are youth expanded in their theological knowledge and conceptions, but youth leaders are simultaneously trained in the art of engaging young people in theological dialogue. An added benefit is that youth and adults return to the congregational context together to further expand the theological repertoire and engagement of the entire youth ministry.
Every Theology Together immersion experience, then, (a) combines robust theological and vocational exploration for youth in the context of relational service work, (b) equips youth workers to conduct theological discussions with young people, and (c) fosters the development of creative and theologically rich youth ministry practices within congregational youth ministry.
Five objectives will guide the efforts of Theology Together:
Theology Together seeks to appropriate best practices gleaned from high school theology programs and deploy these for transforming congregational youth ministry. We suggest that transforming congregational youth ministry is most likely to occur by bringing youth workers and youth together in educational and transformational experiences, and then equipping, encouraging, and resourcing them to initiate ongoing practices of theological and vocational discernment in their parish youth ministries.
The Theology Together Program has four major components:
The CYMT will begin immediately to identify a date, location, and key leaders for the 2014 Missional Immersion Experience. We will distribute the details of how CYMT partner and alumni churches can participate as soon as they are available.
CYMT’s new partnership with CSM, City Service Mission, opens doors to impact more students across the country, and this is only the beginning. Continuing to believe that we are better together, CYMT has partnered with CSM to bring a “Collide-like” experience to cities across the nation. This partnership allows CYMT to live into our gifts of developing a theologically rich curriculum that enables students to reflect using the WOW Theological Method, ultimately creating a mission trip experience that is much more than a week of community service.
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