Dietrich Kirk

Executive Director

“Deech” Kirk has been in youth ministry for 25+ years. He served as the youth minister of Brentwood United Methodist Church for six years before becoming the Executive Director of the CYMT in 2006. He has a Master of Art in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. He is the author of Raising Teens in an Almost Christian World: A Parent’s Guide and one of the co-authors of Now What? Next Steps in Your New Life with Christ.

Deech’s Work At CYMT

I lead CYMT with the help of our amazing staff and board. I am responsible for overseeing the administration and strategic plan of the organization. What do I really do? I answer questions.

Email Deech

Lesleigh Carmichael

Graduate Residency Senior Director

Lesleigh holds a B.S. from Auburn University and a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Lesleigh oversees the national coaching, care, church and practicum components. She has been with CYMT from the beginning and was part of the original staff in launching CYMT. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Lesleigh also serves as a lead consultant with Ministry Architects.

Lesleigh’s Work At CYMT

I oversee the national coaching, care, church and practicum components of our Graduate Residency Program.

Email Lesleigh

Hua Chau

Development Director

Hua Chau is CYMT’s Development Director. He has spent 10+ years fundraising and raising capital for startups.  He became a Christian as a youth while attending Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  He lives in Franklin, TN with his wife, Mary, and 5 kids named Malakai(Kai), Morgan, Madison, Mason, and Maxton.  Hua mentions, “Once we went down the path of M’s we had to keep going after the first two.”

Hua’s Work At CYMT

I lead the development efforts of CYMT.  I engage with the community leaders, businesses, stakeholders, family, friends and neighbors – so, there isn’t anyone that I wouldn’t like to meet.  Everyone has a story and I like hearing them. My goal is to connect their story directly to CYMT.

Email Hua

Kris Konsowitz

Coaching Director

Kris has over 35+ years of experience in youth ministry. Her ministry experience includes serving as the Youth Minister at Collierville UMC in Tennessee. Kris has experience serving in youth ministry at the local, conference, jurisdictional and national level of the United Methodist Church. Kris served as the Director for Young People in Mission for 13 years and served on the ministry team with Breakthru for 26 years.

Kris and her husband Bob are originally from Pennsylvania but following three cross country moves they have lived in Collierville, TN for 30 years. Kris and her husband are the parents to three adults children and their spouses and also have three young grandsons. Kris enjoys, reading, traveling, the beach, and time with her family and friends.

Kris’ Work At CYMT

I oversee the Southeast coaching and graduate residents and lend support during the Southeast intensives. I also serve on the recruiting team by recruiting future graduate residents and new churches for the Southeast. 

Email Kris

 

Linwood Hawkins Jr

Strategic Marketing Director

Linwood is a longtime resident of Nashville, Tennessee. He studied graphic design at Austin Peay State University, where he was a part of the prestigious Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Linwood rose from a yellow page ad designer to an ad agency Art Director. He has consulted at many organizations throughout his long marketing career.

He embodies a desire to serve his community. He shares this desire as a youth football coach, holding leadership positions for his beloved fraternity, and as a member of the L’Evate class of 2012. His volunteer spirit has benefited such entities as the March of Dimes, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Donelson-Hermitage Warriors, Old Hickory Bulldogs, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, and many more.

He is the husband of Alvesia Wilson-Hawkins, father of Amiri and Imani, and grandfather of Kennedy.

Linwood’s Work At CYMT

As the Strategic Marketing Director, I’m tasked with raising the market awareness of CYMT’s services, initiatives, and products.

Email James

Tiffany Malone

Recruiting Coordinator

Tiffany has spent 9 years working as a Youth Minister and she is an alumni of CYMT. Tiffany is passionate about helping build strong Youth Ministries that provide places for youth to grow and belong. She believes in the mission of CYMT because she believes that CYMT helps churches build sustainable youth ministries and empowers Youth Ministers to live out one’s calling.

Tiffany’s Work At CYMT

I am responsible for recruiting new residents and assisting churches in the partner church application process.

Email Tiffany

Lindsay Brooks

Operations Director

Lindsay holds a B.A. in Secondary Education from Clemson University and a Masters in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. She served in full time youth ministry for 12 years before joining the CYMT staff. She loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Lindsay’s Work At CYMT

I provide operational management to the board and staff and logistical support to all of CYMT’s ministries. I work to find ways for all of our ministries to increase in efficiency and effectiveness.

Email Lindsay

Elise Burns

Admissions and Academic Services Director

Elise holds a B.S. from the University of Miami and a Masters from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before CYMT, she worked for Metro Nashville Public Schools. She enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband Scott, and three children- Wren, Knox, and Eden.

Elise’s Work at CYMT

I support graduate residents from their initial application through their graduation day. I evaluate and encourage all applicants for our graduate residency program. After residents are accepted, I provide them academic guidance and resources as they pursue their Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry degrees.

Email Elise

Lisa Vegors

Nashville/SE Area Coordinator

Lisa has over 21 years of experience in youth ministry in Catholic and UMC churches. Lisa graduated from Vanderbilt with a Masters in Theological Studies and founded and organized “Servio Deo” a Bay St. Louis, MS, ministry trip with 290+ teens and chaperones in 2012. Lisa has a lot of leadership and ministry experience in a variety of intercultural contexts. Overall, Lisa hopes to bring teens, their families, and youth ministry volunteers closer to Christ and aims to help develop infrastructure within the Church to sustain long-term healthy youth ministry.

She is the wife to Josh, and they have four amazing boys, Clark, Elijah, Jonah Patch, and Graceson.

Lisa’s Work At CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the Southeast and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Lisa

 

 

Christina Moore

San Antonio/TX Area Coordinator

Christina has been involved in youth ministry for fifteen years as a volunteer and a paid youth minister. She has been at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church for five years and graduated from CYMT with a MAYM degree from Austin seminary in 2020. When she has free time, she loves spending time outdoors, doing puzzles, and watching any and all sporting events.

Christina’s Work at CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the San Antonio, Texas area and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Christina

Jonathan Hobbs

Philadelphia Area Coordinator

​​Jonathan has worked in professional ministry for almost 25 years, including churches in New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He has spoken for multiple camps and retreats around the country. He co-authored Don’t Do This, which is full of youth ministry failure stories and what we can learn from them. He contributed to Youth Ministry in This Season of Disruption and regularly contributes to the Youth Specialties blog. Jonathan grew up in Eagleville, Pennsylvania.

Jonathan can skillfully juggle two balls and does a halfway decent impression of Kermit the Frog. Jonathan and his wife Carolyn live just outside of Philadelphia, PA with their two beautiful daughters, Kaylin and Julia.

Jonathan’s Work at CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Jonathan

Nick Guerra

Memphis Area Coordinator

Nick is an alumni of CYMT and is the Director of Student Ministries at Heartsong UMC in Cordova, TN. He has been at Heartsong, serving youth and families in different roles, for the past 11 years. Nick felt a call to ministry while receiving degree in Sociology from the University of Memphis. While there,  he became passionate about helping people find the sweet spot where their passions and what God is already up to in the world intersect. Where he found this for himself was youth ministry. Newly-wed, he and his wife live in the greater Memphis area with their dog Jack.

Nick’s Work At CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the West Tennessee, North Mississippi, Arkansas and Kentucky area and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Nick

Meghan Trout

Austin Area Coordinator

Meghan is a graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Radio, Television, and Film, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary. Meghan has a passion for working with youth and making sure they are provided with a safe and inclusive space to learn about and share God’s love. She currently serves as the Youth Ministries Director at United Christian Church of Austin. Meghan is the mother of two teenage boys and one feisty rescue dog. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys hiking with her kids, baking bread, and playing board games.

Meghan’s Work At CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the Austin, Texas area and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Meghan

Roberta Rezendes

Finance/HR Director

Roberta attended Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL, where she received her degree in Accounting. She has worked in the accounting field for more than 30 years, since 1990. In 2013, she moved from Florida to Nashville. Roberta has three sons and one granddaughter, and she loves reading, sports, hiking, and her three dogs.

Roberta’s Work at CYMT

I am in charge of the finances, HR, and helping with Bloomerang.

Email Roberta

Mark Devries

Co-Founder

For over 20 years, Mark has served as Associate Pastor for Youth and their Families at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn., where he continues to oversee the youth ministry on a part-time basis. Additionally, Mark is the founder of Youth Ministry Architects, a hands-on coaching service for churches whose youth ministries are in transition (intentional or unexpected) or churches who hope to see their youth ministries move to the next level. He is also the author of Family Based Youth Ministry and Sustainable Youth Ministry.

Dietrich Kirk

Executive Director

“Deech” Kirk has been in youth ministry for 25+ years. He served as the youth minister of Brentwood United Methodist Church for six years before becoming the Executive Director of the CYMT in 2006. He has a Master of Art in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. He is the author of Raising Teens in an Almost Christian World: A Parent’s Guide and one of the co-authors of Now What? Next Steps in Your New Life with Christ.

Deech’s Work At CYMT

I lead CYMT with the help of our amazing staff and board. I am responsible for overseeing the administration and strategic plan of the organization. What do I really do? I answer questions.

Email Deech

Dr. Andrew Zirschky

Professor & CYMT Initiatives Consultant

Andrew has more than 20 years of congregational youth ministry experience and holds an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected but Alone Generation and Teaching Outside the Box: Five Approaches to Opening the Bible with Youth. As the father of two adolescents, he has both a passion and vested interest in helping students creatively re-imagine youth ministry for a new generation.

Andrew’s Work At CYMT

I am a professor at CYMT’s partner seminary, Austin Seminary, and am Intiative Consultant for CYMT’s Innovation Laboratory. I help develop new ideas and direction for the lab and its participants.

Email Andrew

Meghan Hatcher

Innovation Laboratory Director

Meghan holds a Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Science in Sustainable Development & Applied Sociology from the University of Missouri, and a Master of Divinity with a specialization in community engagement from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. The thread that runs throughout Meghan’s academic and professional experiences is the power of story to knit communities together around a collective vision. Meghan has 12 years of experience serving rural, urban, and suburban congregational settings in the areas of pastoral leadership, youth ministry, new church development, and community engagement. She has a passion for reaching young people, revitalizing churches, and helping everyone find their place in God’s Big Story. Meghan lives in Austin with her husband Corey.

Meghan’s Work At CYMT

I direct the strategic and programmatic aspects of the Innovation Laboratory. I also establish partnerships with churches and organizations, coach participants through the Lab’s cohorts, and guide the development and dissemination of resources related to the Lab’s learnings.

Email Meghan

James Turner Jr.

Innovation Lab Program Coordinator

James has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and a Master’s of Business Administration from Lynchburg College (now the University of Lynchburg). He graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2018 with a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Urban Ministry and African American Church Studies. He loves comic books and comic book movies, video games, and music. James is a pastor of an African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) church in Maryland and was ordained a deacon in October 2021. He is married to Chelsea Turner and lives in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

James’ Work At CYMT

I assist the Innovation Lab Director with administrative and operational tasks.

Email James

Lindsay Brooks

Operations Director

Lindsay holds a B.A. in Secondary Education from Clemson University and a Masters in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. She served in full time youth ministry for 12 years before joining the CYMT staff. She loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Lindsay’s Work At CYMT

I provide operational management to the board and staff and logistical support to all of CYMT’s ministries. I work to find ways for all of our ministries to increase in efficiency and effectiveness.

Email Lindsay

Dwight Johnson

Theology Together Director & Cultural Strategist

Dwight received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Millsaps College and graduated cum laude from Memphis Theological Seminary through the CYMT residency program. He has 18 years of youth ministry experience, including ten years in Mississippi (his home state) and eight years in Tennessee where he served as the director of youth at Preston Taylor Ministries. He is the author of Black Boy Soar, and he partners with organizations throughout the South as a curriculum and content developer and speaker. 

Dwight’s Work at CYMT

I build a lot of partnerships – partnerships with leaders to dream, ideate and write curriculum and content in response to and for youth who are asking really good (and challenging!) faith questions AND with City Service Mission (CSM) to collide service to people with connection to faith.

I also work with our staff, board and residents to develop programs throughout the CYMT ministry to strategically enhance CYMT’s ability to equip individuals for diverse ministry contexts.

Email Dwight

Bryan Bliss

Resource Director

Bryan Bliss has worked in youth ministry for twenty years. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School, the creative writing program at Seattle Pacific University, and is currently finishing a doctorate degree at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities with a focus on public theology. When he’s not in school or cleaning up after youth group, he is the author of four young adult novel and one nonfiction book. He lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife and two children.

Bryan’s Work at CYMT

Bryan oversees the development of resources for all the Center for Youth Ministry Training programs with an emphasis on our Theology Together program. He also provides resource direction and enacts implementation strategies that create resources for the CYMT community, larger youth ministry community, and communities of faith.

Email Bryan

Rev. Dr. David White

Professor of Christian Education & Youth Ministry

Rev. Dr. David White joined the faculty of Austin Theological Presbyterian Seminary in 2005. Prior to his appointment, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Youth and Education and Associate Director of Research for the Youth Theological Initiative at Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. From 1997-2002 he was executive director of the Youth Discipleship Project at Claremont School of Theology, a research project exploring alternative approaches to work with youth and with congregational discernment. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Bethany Theological Seminary, the Claremont School of Theology, and Columbia Theological Seminary. Ordained in the United Methodist Church, White served United Methodist churches across the country.

His publications include Dreamcare: A Theology of Youth, Spirit, and Vocation (Cascade, 2013), Awakening Youth Discipleship in a Consumer Culture (Cascade, 2007, coauthored with Brian Mahan and Michael Warren), Practicing Discernment with Youth (Pilgrim Press, 2005), and his newest book, Joy: A Guide for Youth Ministry (2020).

Dr. Andrew Zirschky

Professor & CYMT Initiatives Consultant

Andrew has more than 20 years of congregational youth ministry experience and holds an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of Beyond the Screen: Youth Ministry for the Connected but Alone Generation and Teaching Outside the Box: Five Approaches to Opening the Bible with Youth. As the father of two adolescents, he has both a passion and vested interest in helping students creatively re-imagine youth ministry for a new generation.

Andrew’s Work At CYMT

I am a professor at CYMT’s partner seminary, Austin Seminary, and am Intiative Consultant for CYMT’s Innovation Laboratory. I help develop new ideas and direction for the lab and its participants.

Email Andrew

Southeast Coaches

Bryant Fisher

Coach

Bryant is the Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Martin FUMC. He has the best wife ever (who can do the worm), Amy. Together, they have two kids, Ella Rose and Jack Rowe. They also have two awesome dogs, Blue and Lilah. Bryant has been at his church for 3.5 years and been watching The Office for 8 year. His proudest moment was singing The Mulan hit track “I’ll Make A Man Out of You.”

Jill Altom

Coach

Jill Altom was in the first graduating class of CYMT and has served in Youth Ministry in primarily Episcopal churches for 15 years. Jill graduated from Sewanee: University of the South with a B.A. in Psychology and completed her M.A. in Youth Ministry in 2012 through Memphis Theological Seminary. She is passionate about practical theology and building community in the Church body.  Jill is married to Clayton and has two sons, Peter and Seth. Her favorite activities include hiking, live concerts, game nights, road trips, cooking and reading (which works out well since Clayton is a librarian.

Email Jill

Andrew Davis

Coach

Andrew Davis has been involved in youth ministry for twelve years, either serving as a youth minister or as a volunteer.  He graduated in May of 2019 from Memphis Theological Seminary, through the CYMT graduate residency program, and  serves as the Youth and Young Adults pastor at First United Methodist Church, in Covington TN. When Andrew is not doing student ministry, he performs stand up comedy and loves when he is able to take time to travel and perform in new places.  As far as personal interests goes, Andrew is very into music, superhero movies, almost every show on the CW, and loves to hang out with friends as often as he can.

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Chad Kennington

Coach

Chad Kennington has been in youth ministry for 13 years. He is from Tuscumbia, Alabama where he serves at Tuscumbia First United Methodist Church. He began in youth ministry while working to received his bachelors in Music and Education at The University of North Alabama. He was licensed as a pastor in the United Methodist Church and continued on to receive his Master of Arts in Youth Ministry with CYMT. He is passionate about students and music, and he loves spending time with his wife, Grace, and their three sons, Jack, Jon, & Jude.

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Jae Gottman

Coach

Jae Gottman is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He earned his Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his B.A. in Biology from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He has served two congregations in his 20 years of ministry. He served as Senior Minister at Century Christian Church in Owensboro, KY, and then as Lead Minister at First Christian Church in Paducah, KY.  J. is married and has two children in high school – one a senior and the other a freshman.  He enjoys traveling, good food, movies, and thriller novels.

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Kris Lott

Coach

Kris Lott was in the first graduating class of CYMT and has served as the Director of Youth Ministry at Calvary United Methodist Church since 2004. Kris graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in history. Kris is a graduate of University of Tennessee and has a Masters from Trevecca Nazarene University. Kris is a licensed Marriage and family therapist and practices at Brentwood Counseling Associates. Kris is married to Allison and has three daughters, Jenny, Claire, and Molly. When not in school or working, Kris enjoys coaching his daughters’ different teams, playing sports, and relaxing at the lake.

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Jim Hinkle

Coach

Jim is the Executive Minister at Sycamore View Church of Christ, Memphis, TN. He’s been in full-time ministry for 25 years and has been serving in Memphis since 2005. Jim has had the opportunity to adjunct at several universities and seminaries, and he’s passionate about connecting the mind and heart in ministry. Jim lives intentionally in an inner city neighborhood in the heart of Memphis with his wife, Stacy, and their six children.

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Carlisle Jones

Coach

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Texas Coaches

Kathy Rios

Coach

Kathy Rios is a “cradle” United Methodist; growing up in the church, being  baptized & confirmed, mission work, youth group, Sunday School & Youth Choir; were all a part of her life growing up. She attended Perkins School of Youth Ministry at S.M.U. for 8 years finishing two certifications in Youth Ministry. She served at GUMC for the next 22 years, in charge of 6th – 12th programing. She was one of the “forefathers” in establishing the housing rehabilitation project, Sea City Work Camp that is still serving the Corpus Christi community . This summer will mark 27 years of service to the less fortunate in our midst. She has four grown children and eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. She enjoys gardening, animals of all kinds, reading and staying the word of God daily.

Jodi Marfell

Coach

Jodi Marfell currently serves as the Director of Student Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Round Rock, TX. Prior to serving in Round Rock, Jodi was the Youth Director at First United Methodist Church in Killeen, Texas from 2008-2013.   Jodi is a 2007 graduate of Concordia University, St. Paul MN with a major in Parish Education and Administration, minor in Lutheran Confessionalism and a certificate as a Director of Christian Education. Jodi is married to Timothy Marfell and they have three boys, Landon, Logan and Lane.  Jodi enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, watching her boys play baseball and long distance running.

Valerie Vogt

Coach

Valerie is an Associate Pastor at Travis Park United Methodist Church in San Antonio, TX.  Valerie and her husband, also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, met at Duke Divinity School and moved to Austin soon after they were married. Valerie has served as a Youth Director, Director of Missions, and Associate Pastor with four congregations in Central Texas. Her passion is helping people to grow in their love for God, discern their gifts, and use their resources to partner with and bless others. Valerie and Eric spend a lot of time chasing their two young boys. She loves running, reading, cooking and enjoying good food, and watching t.v. and movies that tell great stories. 

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Linda O-Donnell

Coach

Linda is the Director of Youth Ministries at Faith United Methodist Church in Richmond Texas. She has been in her current position since 2005 and has a deep passion for serving the Lord by loving His youth. She has a son Doug who is married to Lianne with two children, Evelyn and Davis and they live in Fulshear. Her daughter Mandy is in ministry in College Station. She is thankful that God has never given up on her, used her in ways she could never have imagined and guides her home to Him always.

Email Linda

 

Meghan Trout

Austin Area Coordinator

Meghan is a graduate of Baylor University with a BA in Radio, Television, and Film, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary. Meghan has a passion for working with youth and making sure they are provided with a safe and inclusive space to learn about and share God’s love. She currently serves as the Youth Ministries Director at United Christian Church of Austin. Meghan is the mother of two teenage boys and one feisty rescue dog. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys hiking with her kids, baking bread, and playing board games.

Meghan’s Work At CYMT

I oversee and care for the Residents and coaches in the Austin, Texas area and work to recruit new residents and partner ministries for CYMT.

Email Meghan

Abby Johnson

Coach

Abby was the Director of Student Ministries at Arborlawn UMC in Fort Worth, TX from 2002 – 2016 and is now focusing on Adult Discipleship. Prior to coming to Arborlawn she graduated with a degree in Social Work from TCU, worked at Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center, and volunteered with the Methodist Children’s Home. Combined that’s 20 years working with teens and their families! She loves building relationships with whole families and creating opportunities and events where participants have the chance to meet God on multiple levels. She lives in Fort Worth with her husband Mike, and 3 year old son, Trent.  When not working, they spend time traveling to State Parks in their camper, connecting with each other and to God.

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Joel Griffin

Coach

Joel has worked with youth and families for 20 years through the United Methodist Church all over Texas. He is currently the youth pastor at Fredericksburg UMC in Fredericksburg, Texas. He is married to Rene and has three girls, Reese, 13, Robbie Jane, 12, and Ryan, 9. Joel enjoys doing anything outdoors, college football, going to baseball games, movies and hanging out with family.

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Eddie Erwin

Coach

Eddie Erwin has been in youth ministry for over 20 years.  He started as an intern while in college at the University of Oklahoma, spent 11 years in the local church youth ministry before stepping into his current role as Director of Youth & Young Adults for the Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church.  He lives with his wife, Emily, and their three children, Quint, Kate, & Corbin James in Klein, Texas.

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CJ Rice

Coach

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