Pictured above L to R are class of 2017 CYMT graduate residents Chelsi Warren, FUMC Murfreesboro (Tenn.); Kayla Bartosch, Calvary Episcopal, Memphis; Emily Mastin, FUMC Franklin (Tenn.); Dea Brandon, FUMC Fayetteville (Tenn.); Keli Shipley, First Presbyterian Knoxville; (front) Anna Wheeler, First Presbyterian Nashville; Kate McKnight, Donelson Heights UMC, Nashville.
What are the movies that you are willing to watch over and over again? The ones that tell a great story. The ones that make you cry even though you know what is coming. The ones that capture your imagination and inspire you to greater things. For me, I love watching the Star Wars Trilogy, Lord of the Rings, Top Gun, Patch Adams, and Hitch. I am amazed that some stories have the power to draw me in no matter how many times I’ve seen them.
In my sermon last week, I reminded everyone that the Easter story would be the same again this year. Every year, the same characters with the same result, yet I find myself needing to hear the story again every year. I need to be reminded of the depth of God’s love for me. I need to see myself in Peter’s betrayal and in Thomas’ doubt. I never get tired of the greatest story ever told.
CYMT has a great story to tell, and I hope you never get tired of hearing it. I believe that CYMT is a part of God’s redemptive plan for the world. Sharing the Good News with teenagers is important work. Preparing youth ministers, like those pictured above, who will walk with them, teach them, and mentor them is significant. The support and encouragement they receive from CYMT to fulfill God’s call on their life makes a difference. The development and implementation of a strategic plan for youth ministry in a local congregation is essential.
When I was 13 years old, I attended Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly’s junior high camp where I heard the Good News in a way that spoke to my heart. I have never been the same. All 37 of our graduate residents have a Good News story which has inspired and called them to minister to teenagers.
May you hear the old, old story again and once again be changed!
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.