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

 

AK Simmons

Marketing Director

Anna Kathryn (AK) is the Marketing Director at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communication Studies from Mississippi State University. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as the Project Leader and Associate Artist at the Foundation for Hospital Art in Atlanta, GA. She lives in Atlanta with her husband Andrew and two dogs, Piper and Crosby. AK is a singer, songwriter, and design lover. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

AK’s Work At CYMT

I lead the marketing efforts of CYMT. I collaborate with Recruitment, Innovation Lab, and Events on a daily basis to further tell the mission and story of CYMT to the greater youth ministry community. I also, along with CYMT resourcing team, help manage the content development, distribution, and awareness of CYMT’s vast library of youth ministry resources.

Email Anna Kathryn

Rachel Kuehl

Digital Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Rachel is a missionary kid, a former midwest girl, and a storytelling connoisseur. Her greatest desire is to help youth encounter the greatest story ever told: that of Jesus Christ. Prior to CYMT, Rachel worked for 5+ years as Communications Director for National School Project. Rachel’s bachelor’s in English with Writing Concentration is from Wheaton College. She loves to travel, but when not on the road, she lives in Walnut, CA.

Rachel’s Work at CYMT

I meet the digital marketing and communications needs of CYMT. I partner with our multidisciplinary teams to help create and define our story.

Email Rachel

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.

 

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

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 and Applied Sociology from the University of Missouri, and a Master of Divinity 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. Prior to joining CYMT, Meghan served as the pastor of community engagement at a progressive church in East Austin, spent years serving in youth ministry, and helped plant a church in the D.C., metro area. She has a passion for reaching young people, revitalizing churches and helping all people find their place in God’s Big Story. Meghan lives in Austin with her husband Corey, and loves cooking, creative writing, running and practicing yoga.

Meghan’s Work At CYMT

I implement the Innovation Laboratory with partner churches, coach participants through the Theological Innovation Process, and help develop and disseminate resources related to the Lab’s learnings.

Email Meghan

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

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

Lisa Vegors

Coach

Lisa is the Director of Youth Ministries at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Franklin. She graduated from Vanderbilt with a Masters in Theologocial Studies. She has over 19 years of experience in church youth ministry. Lisa founded and organized “Servio Deo” a Bay St. Louis, MS Mission Trip with 290+ teens and chaperones in 2012 that is still in service today. She 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 that can sustain long term healthy youth ministry.

Email Lisa

 

 

 

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.

Email Andrew

Amy Leake

Coach

Amy has been married to her husband Jason for 20 years. Together, they have 3 daughters. She has also worked in ministry for 11 years as either a volunteer, mentor or on staff as a discipleship Pastor in the youth program. Her heart is for mentoring, and she has launched a program for middle school and high school students called Fierce (for girls) and Man Up (for boys) which has grown to other counties. Another ministry God has laid on her heart is marriage and blended families. She enjoys walking through the process of blending a family to teach them the tools, through Focus On The Family, to a smooth transition. Currently, she is developing a community ministry for women in ministry.

Nick Guerra

Coach

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.

Email Nick

Taylor Young

Coach

Taylor is the Associate Pastor over Youth, Children, and Young Adult Ministries at Clarksville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He received his Certificate of Youth Ministry from CYMT while obtaining a Master of Divinity degree from Memphis Theological Seminary.Taylor has served in youth ministry for over 7 years, has helped coordinate youth mission trips and camps for Nashville Presbytery, and also serves on the Board of Christian Education for Nashville Presbytery. Taylor loves traveling, Tennessee football, and Disney theme parks.

Email Taylor

Chad Kennington

Coach

Chad Kennington has been in youth ministry for 12 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 son, Jack.

Email Chad

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.

Email Jae

Robert Mercer

Coach

Robert Mercer is the Family Formation Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham Alabama.  Robert works with the youth and children staff and leads the confirmation program.  He began working with students in college where he was also known as “Southpaw” the Mascot of the University of South Alabama. Robert has over twenty years experience working with students and families. He was ordained in the United Methodist Church and did his seminary work at Memphis Theological Seminary. Robert is married to Dr. Tracey Mercer and they have two children, Drew and Hannah.

Email Robert

Lisa Long

Coach

Lisa Long is the Middle School Pastor at Belmont Church in Nashville where she has served Belmont’s Mosaic Youth for nearly six years. She has walked with the group through two youth pastor transitions; during the last transition she served as Interim Youth Pastor for a little over a year. Lisa earned a Doctor of Divinity from Tabernacle Bible College & Seminary where she is pursuing her Ph.D. She has 20 years of experience as an ordained minister. Teaching, training, and shaping youth and young adults is her passion. She enjoys life with her husband, Tom, who is a Worship Director. Her daughter, Bethany, is in college at Belmont University. Her son, Isaiah, graduates from high school this year.

Email Lisa

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. He is currently finishing his Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University. 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.

Email Kris

Jim Hinkle

Coach

Jim is a youth minister at Sycamore View Church of Christ, Memphis, TN. He’s been in full-time youth ministry for 20 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 five children.

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Kyle McDougall

Coach

Email Kyle

Carlisle Jones

Coach

Email Carlisle

Texas Coaches

Joe Wilson

Coach

Joe Wilson is the Area Director for Young Life in the Rio Grande Valley (Texas-Mexico border near the Gulf Coast). For the last 20 years Joe has served with Young Life in numerous roles including both camping and field ministry. Originally from Tulsa, OK, Joe has been a part of rebuilding and establishing new ministries in OK, GA, and now on the Texas-Mexico border. Joe has always had a passion for the unchurched and the fatherless kids in culturally diverse areas, and enjoys engaging his entrepreneurial spirit in efforts to reach more kids. Joe lives in Harlingen, TX with his wife Rebecca and their son Levi, where they attend First United Methodist Church – Harlingen, TX

Email Joe

Amy Howell

Coach

Amy has 20+ years of experience in children, youth and family ministry. She is passionate about empowering the local church to expand its reach and relevance so that the next generation will develop a faith of their own that lasts a lifetime and beyond. Amy lives in central Texas with her husband, Phil, and their two daughters, Emma and Cara. In her free time, you can find Amy enjoying life with her family, spending time outside, or in deep conversation with a friend.

Email Amy

Joseph Bradley

Coach

Joseph Bradley is the Director of Camping and Retreat Ministries for the North Texas Conference. Prior to this job he worked in youth ministry for 10 years and also spent time as a Young Adult Missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries, serving as a Mission Intern. He has a Master of Theological Studies from The Perkins School of Theology at SMU with a focus in Practical Theology. He is lifelong United Methodist and is currently a member at First United Methodist Church of McKinney where he resides with his Wife Rebecca and two daughters Abigail and Angela.

 

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.

David McMinn

Coach

David McMinn is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. David’s passion is helping people come to know God’s love and also to help them live as active members of the kingdom of God. . He graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelors of Arts in History and Classical Studies in 2003, followed by a Masters of Divinity in 2007. David served in many roles in different churches and ministries across the state of Texas. David met Michelle, the love of his life, in 2007 and they were married in 2008. They currently reside in Leander with their adorable daughters Sophie and Amelia. David enjoys playing and watching sports; video games; movies; and anything outdoors. Until recently, David served as a chaplain in the US Army Reserves. David is the Pastor of Rockbridge Church in Cedar Park, Texas.

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.

Camie Minter

Coach

Camie’s training for ministry began with Young Life where she learned the importance of “earning the right to be heard” and the value of relationships over programs.  Though her formal ministry education (Princeton Seminary) is foundational as she helps people understand the bible, it is her work in several congregations that has shaped her approach to ministry. Over the years, Camie has started dynamic children’s and youth programs, developed ministries that meet the specific needs of women, and mothers, as well as overseen discipleship for whole churches. However, when you meet Camie, you’ll see that it is the way she loves people that makes her ministry so effective.

Email Camie

Joseph Patty

Coach

Joseph serves CYMT as both a coach and formation group leader, and he is passionate about equipping highly influential people to have an impact for the Kingdom in their own context. Joseph is the Associate Director of Student Ministry at St. Luke’s UMC in Houston. He also serves as a Vocation and Formation Leader for Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Courtney, serve as Community Life Architects together in their community. They have two children, Shiloh (age 4) and Micah (age 3). If Joseph could be anywhere, it would be backpacking in the southern mountains of Colorado.

Email Joseph

Rachel Toomire

Coach

Rachael Toomire currently lives in Bandera, Texas with her husband Kyle, who is a United Methodist Pastor. They have two boys, Elias and Micah. Most weekends their family can be found at a sporting event. Her boys are great at keeping her active. She became a Christian in college and was immediately called into youth ministry. She served in small church youth ministry settings for over 7 years. Later, Rachael served at the Texas Wesley in Austin doing college ministry for 11 years. She is passionate about the CYMT model because of the support that is given to new youth ministers. She has wanted to be a part of the CYMT ministry for years and now celebrates that everything has aligned to make that possible.

Email Rachel

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. 

Email Valerie

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

 

Whitney Waller-Cole

Coach

Whitney Waller-Cole currently serves as the Minister of Faith Development and Mission at Creekwood Christian Church, where she has served for over four years. As a pastor, Whitney loves to serve, teach, and empower other faithful Christians to work through and for God’s love, justice, and peace. Whitney is passionate about learning to be a better ally and advocate for dear ones living life in the margins; laughing with friends and loved ones; living authentically and attuned to God’s will and work; and finding the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Email Whitney

Randy Knighten

Coach

Randy Knighten has worked in youth and urban ministry in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas since 2000. He currently serves as youth minister at Covenant UMC in Austin, Texas. Randy and his wonderful wife, Maya, have two amazing sons. Randy is also completing a master’s degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Email Randy

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.

Email Joel

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

Email CJ