The Center for Youth Ministry Training’s mission is to equip youth ministers and churches to develop theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries. Our mission clearly calls to train youth ministers and develop youth ministries, but our ministry impacts a multitude of others in the process. Here is the multi-layerd impact of CYMT:
The most obvious impact that CYMT has is training youth ministers. Our partnership with Memphis Theological Seminary provides our graduate residents an education that establishes a theological foundation for their ministries. They gain practical experience serving the local church and our coaching program provides them support, encouragement, and effective tools for developing strong youth ministries. We have now commissioned 47 youth ministers and have 38 graduate residents currently enrolled in the program.
Our graduate residents and coaches work with the leadership and laity of each congregation to develop strong youth ministries that share the love of Christ with the students in their communities. Every congregation and youth ministry is different. We work to develop the infrastructure and vision that will make those ministries grow.
We equip youth ministers and churches so that youth can encounter the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The average youth minister will impact 400 young people during the life of his or her ministry. Healthy youth ministries provide space for young people to encounter God, to be mentored as they grow in their discipleship, and to hear God’s unique vocational call on their lives.
Youth ministry has learned that it does not only exist to minister and serve sixth to twelfth graders, but to equip families of faith. As we develop healthy youth ministries, we provide resources and support for families and parents who are the primary incubators of faith.
We already have two graduate residents who are the products of alumni graduate residents and partner churches. Healthy youth ministries produce young people who are pursuing God’s call upon their lives. Most youth ministers can point to a youth minister from their teenage years who inspired and nurtured their call. We expect to see a second generation of CYMT youth ministers arrive in our program over the next four years.
Our program has a significant impact on the larger church. Not only do we provide a steady stream of effective youth ministers into the Mid-South, we also make available resources and tools to youth ministers across the country. Our website served over 50,000 youth ministers looking for practical and theological help in the past year, and our staff is actively involved in training youth ministers across the country.
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.