BY: Anna Kathryn Simmons


The Center for Youth Ministry Training (Tennessee and Texas) is excited to welcome John Rivas in the new role as Texas Development Director. CYMT continues to grow and expand throughout the Southeast and Texas, and we are thrilled to have him bring his experience and wisdom to bear on CYMT’s mission and vision of equipping youth ministers and churches for thriving and sustainable youth ministries.

John has a strong and diverse history of 27+ years as a development professional and strategist. John came to CYMT after having served as Executive Director of New Mexico Activities for Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) and, prior to merging with TMF, Executive Director of the New Mexico Conference Methodist Foundation. John has also held positions at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, The United Methodist Church Foundation/Discipleship Ministries, and New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Science in Las Cruces, NM. John holds the CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) designation and has a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from LaGrange College, a master’s in religious education from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a BA from Southern Nazarene University. 

Dietrich Kirk, CYMT’s Executive Director shared, “In 2005, John was a member of the task force that created CYMT.  Fourteen years later, John joins CYMT at an exciting moment in our ministry. John will expand CYMT’s capacity to reach young people with the good news of Jesus.”

John will be working to enhance CYMT’s fundraising efforts in the Texas region. When asked to join the CYMT team, John accepted the position by concluding, “I am excited to use my gifts to forward the vision of CYMT over the next 10 years.” 

CYMT offers a 3-year Graduate Residency to provide theological and practical training to those called to youth ministry. Residents gain hands-on experience by being placed in a local church to serve as their youth minister, while also earning a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry through one of CYMT’s partner seminaries. Residents receive full scholarship for tuition, books, housing, and utilities, as well as a $1000/month stipend. As the largest graduate program focused in youth ministry, it’s CYMT’s mission to equip theologically informed and practically trained youth ministers for the cultivation of thriving youth ministries and churches. 


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