Dietrich Kirk

Executive Director

“Deech” Kirk has been in youth ministry for 20+ 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 continues to serve as one of Brentwood’s associate ministers. 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. When he is not leading the CYMT, speaking at youth events, or training other youth workers, Deech enjoys spending time with his wife Keeley and daughters Carlisle and Hallie.

Email Deech

Lesleigh Carmichael

Associate 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.

Email Lesleigh

Andrew Zirschky

Academic Director

Andrew holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He
has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.

Email Andrew

Teresa Kingsbury

Texas Regional Director

Teresa Kingsbury has 25+ years of experience in Children’s and Youth Ministry. Her ministerial experience includes serving as the Director of Children’s Ministry at Laguna Hills United Methodist Church in California as well as Student Ministries Pastor at Bethany UMC in Austin, Texas for 12 years. Appointed to Bethany UMC, she continues to serve on the Pastoral staff. Teresa and her husband Chris have 3 children and 2 additional children through their marriages: (Chad and Erin, Eric and Maribeth, and Kellie) and 4 grandchildren (Shia, Miles, Kate, and Finn). Teresa enjoys the outdoors, cooking, reading and time with family and friends.

Email Teresa

Kris Konsowitz

Southeast Regional Director

Kris served as the Director of Youth Ministries and Young Adults at Collierville United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn. for more than two decades. She is married to Bob and they have three children: Melissa, Chris, and Laura. Kris serves the Southeast region coaching, supervising coaches, and partnering with churches to build foundations for effective youth ministry.

Email Kris

Brady Banks

Development Director

Brady directs development efforts for the fulfillment of CYMT’s mission. He has spent over a decade as a nonprofit manager and development officer in organizations in Tennessee. Most recently, he served as the executive director of The Contributor, Nashville’s homeless street newspaper and magazine, where he led a financial turnaround and strategic revitalization of the social enterprise. He has also served as a city councilman in Nashville. He’s a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Mercer University. He’s married to Rev. Kristin Clark-Banks and the father of Thaddeus. He’s a Nashville sports enthusiast, frequent world traveler and hiker, and lay preacher and teacher. He loves being a part of a team dedicated to training youth ministers, making young disciples and building up the Church.

Email Brady

Anna Kathryn Simmons

Marketing Director

Anna Kathryn (AK) is the Marketing Coordinator 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 East Nashville with her husband Andrew and two dogs, Piper and Crosby. AK is a singer, songwriter, and plant lover. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

Email Anna Kathryn

Lindsay Brooks

Resource and 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 to manage our major events.  She loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Email Lindsay

Jasmine Hiland

Communications Coordinator

Jasmine Hiland received her B.A. in Religion and Intercultural Studies from Trevecca Nazarene University. She previously served as the Program Coordinator for a Lilly Youth Theology Institute and is a mentor to incoming freshmen at Trevecca. She is currently in the Grad Counseling Program at Trevecca. Jasmine was born and raised in Nashville. She enjoys going to coffee shops, hiking, and spending time with her husband, Stephens, and her two dogs- Atlas and Scout.

Email Jasmine

Ashley Briggs

Academic Support Coordinator

Ashley Briggs is the Academic Support Coordinator at CYMT. She has an English degree from Belmont University. Her varied career has included editing cookbooks, running social services programs, and managing healthcare e-learning projects. At CYMT, she handles retreat details and supports the academic team. Ashley is interested in just about every topic but particularly enjoys sci-fi movies, the National Parks, cooking, and listening to music. She is married to Aaron and has two children.

Email Ashley

Dea Wathen

Recruitment Director

Dea Wathen is the Recruiting Coordinator at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kentucky Wesleyan College and then went on to graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as a Youth Minister in Fayetteville, TN as part of CYMT’s Graduate Residency. Shelives in Louisville, KY with her husband David and son Davis. Dea loves running, talking about life, and exploring coffee shops. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

Email Dea

Corrie Summerville

Business Administrator

Corrie works as the Business Administrator at CYMT. After graduating from Auburn University, she moved to Nashville where she has worked in both the public and nonprofit accounting fields. Corrie lives in Franklin, Tenn. with her husband, Joe, and their two sons, Jack and Ben.

Email Corrie

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.

Amy Howell

Texas Innovation Laboratory Director

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

Andrew Zirschky

Academic Director

Andrew holds an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He oversees the development of our academic program and also teaches many of our youth ministry courses offered through Memphis Theological Seminary. He
has 20 years of ministry experience as a youth and college minister at churches in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has also been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism based upon his research emphasis in youth and young adult ministry.

Email Andrew

Kate Unruh

Managing Director

Kate holds an M.Div and M.A. in youth ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she is also a Doctoral Candidate in practical theology.  Kate co-directs the Innovation Grant and teaches education and formation at Memphis Theological Seminary. Her research interests include youth ministry, confirmation, and the intersection of youth, faith, and culture. Kate is married to Kyle, an architect. When they are not chasing around their two young children, they like to travel, cook, and watch KU basketball.

 

Email Kate

 

Lindsay Brooks

Resource and 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 to manage our major events.  She loves to cheer on the Clemson Tigers, run outside, drink coffee, and spend time with her family.

Email Lindsay

Dea Wathen

Recruitment Director

Dea Wathen is the Recruiting Coordinator at CYMT. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kentucky Wesleyan College and then went on to graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary through CYMT. Prior to coming on board with CYMT, she worked as a Youth Minister in Fayetteville, TN as part of CYMT’s Graduate Residency. Shelives in Louisville, KY with her husband David and son Davis. Dea loves running, talking about life, and exploring coffee shops. She would love to connect with you to help promote the mission of CYMT!

Email Dea

Tiffany Malone

Recruiter

Tiffany is an alumni of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. She graduated from the Northeast Nazarene University and Memphis Theological Seminary. She is the youth minister at Hope UMC in Denver, Colorado.

Email Tiffany

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.”

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.

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 is married to his wife, Ashleigh and the have two awesome rescue dogs and a guinea pig. Taylor loves his wife, 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

Dee Wells

Coach

Dee Moore Wells is a third generation Disciple minister and has spent many years at Bethany Hills as a counselor or director of camps. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and is serving as Senior Minister at First Christian Church in Livingston, Tenn. She is married to Al Wells, and they live together on a 10 acre mountainside with dogs, cats, a brood of chickens and a host of goats. She has two children, David and Dana, and two grandchildren, Lizzy and Clay. Dee enjoys camping, boating, golfing, backpacking, entertaining friends, vegetable gardening, watching good movies, and reading.

Email Dee

J Nelson

Coach

J Nelson has been the Director of Youth Ministries at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi since August 2013.  J initially began working in youth ministry while in college at Mississippi State University, continued throughout his time studying at Wesley Biblical Seminary and is approaching nearly 18 years in the field all directly associated with the local church. Specific to youth ministry, J has an affinity for Middle School ministry, the creative process and how it can shape what we communicate, as well as one-on-one discipleship opportunities.  J lives in Madison, Mississippi with his wife, Wesley, and their three children.

Email J

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.

Email Jim

Jerrod Gunter

Coach

Jerrod Gunter currently serves as the Youth Pastor at New Direction Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn. Prior to joining New Direction, Jerrod worked for the Urban Youth Initiative serving as an Educational Outreach Specialist. For six years, Jerrod also worked at Youth Villages, working as a Teacher-Counselor, Senior Supervisor, Senior Program Manager, and a Transitional Living Senior Specialist. The Lakeland, Fla., native earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2001 from Tusculum College. He has a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy in 2008 from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minn. He is married to Lakeicha, and they have three children, Dezmon, Ariana, and Jalen.

Email Jerrod

Joanna Cummings

Coach

Joanna Cummings is the Minister of Children and Spiritual Formation at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Brentwood, TN where she has served since 2009. Joanna is an alumnae of CYMT with a Master’s degree in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary. Additionally, Joanna is a curriculum writer and enjoys resourcing others in ministry and in faith. She is passionate about nurturing the spirituality of children, their families and bringing generations together in the faith community. Joanna is married to Chris, and they have a dog named Shalom. You can usually find them creating up-cycled art and doing DIY projects around the home.

Email Joanna

Toby Chastain

Coach

Toby is an alumni of the Center for Youth Ministry Training. He graduated from the Huntingdon College and Memphis Theological Seminary. He is the youth minister at FUMC Hartselle, Alabama.

Email Toby

Trey Carey

Coach

Trey is the Pastor of Youth and College Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He has a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Seminary and is currently finishing up a Doctorate of Ministry from Fuller Seminary in Youth, Family, and Culture. He is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church and has been in full-time youth and family ministry for over 15 years. Trey is married to Abbey and they have two kids, Lilly Broox and William. He is also a lover of music and boasts of being able to sing and play the guitar…as well as at least three songs on the piano (unfortunately, all of them are from the Frozen soundtrack). Trey is passionate about encouraging and equipping people of all ages to grow in their relationships with Christ and others.

Email Trey

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.

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

David Chambers

Coach

David lives in Austin Texas where he has served as the Director of Youth Ministries at Tarrytown United Methodist Church since 2006. “My joy is helping others discover their God given gifts and talents and helping them use those unique qualities as their ministry in better connecting the world through God’s love.” David is excited and honored to be working with CYMT as an opportunity to teach and learn from the future leaders of the church.

Email David

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

Kit Tomlison

Coach

Rev. Kit Tomlison is a youth pastor at Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church. Prior to his current position he created and served a skateboard ministry in San Antonio, TX for 8 years. He has served in youth ministry professionally and in volunteer roles for the past 19 years. Kit graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech University and a Master of Arts in Youth ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. His wife is Rev. Leslie Tomlison and he has two children. Fun Fact: Kit doesn’t like Chocolate.

Email Kit

Jenny Monahan

Coach

Jenny Monahan is the founding and acting Executive Director of UM ARMY SWTX/Río Texas where she has served since 2003. Jenny is passionate about sharing the Greatest Commandment and leads/mentors others so that they can truly have success in living a life of faith. Jenny has close to 30 years professional experience in youth ministry and has served United Methodist Churches in Wimberley, New Braunfels and League City, Texas. Jenny holds a degree from Texas State University with an emphasis in secondary education.  Jenny and her family live in Wimberley, Texas where she and husband Thomas have raised their sons, Blake and Brazos.

Email Jenny

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.

Email Abby

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.

Email Eddie

Russ Boyd

Coach

Russ earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University as a Religion and Political Science in  2000. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Brite Divinity School in 2003, and was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) after graduation.Russ currently serves as a Deputy Command Chaplain in the Army Reserve. Outside of church, Russ enjoys traveling and finding great restaurants , dabbling in home improvement projects, and attempting DIY endeavors. Russ’ wife, Sarah, is also a lifelong Disciple and TCU alumna. They have four children.

Email Russ