NASHVILLE, TENN. (August, 2019) – The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) is proud to announce a new advancement for the CYMT Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry.
The Center for Youth Ministry Training launched the Innovation Laboratory in 2017 through a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. in an effort to help youth pastors and teams from their congregation develop new, practical models for youth ministry that are theologically grounded, and which better intersect with the real lives of today’s adolescents.
Nearly all of the models for modern ministry reduce youth ministry to a peer-based youth group. Despite the fact that the mainline church faces declining numbers, it continues to turn primarily to the modern formula with its emphasis on peer-based groups for personal spiritual enrichment as a dominant, if not sole, form of youth ministry. CYMT believes the key to breaking out of the mold is to help a select group of congregations design and test innovative models of youth ministry that are practical and theologically rich.
The laboratory, then, exists to provide congregations the resources and tools to create innovative models based on a five-phase research plan, the Theological Innovation Process.
In their first year, the Innovation Lab carefully selected ten churches across the Southeast to begin implementing the Theological Innovation Process.
In 2018, shortly after the inaugural cohort of Innovation Churches began, CYMT was awarded a second grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation to allow CYMT to extend its reach and create a second cohort of a research-based incubator for innovation in youth ministry in Texas.
CYMT is now pleased to announce that the congregations of the Texas cohort have been selected and are on their way to begin their own findings for new ways of youth ministry.
The CYMT Texas Innovation Lab Church Congregations and their Lead Innovators are: First United Methodist of Fort Worth (Lead Innovator: Kat Bair), First United Methodist Church of Katy (Lead Innovator: Zach Cheeseman), St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Houston (Lead Innovator: Tiffin Wilsford), Westbury United Methodist Church in Houston (Lead Innovator: Katy Sabayrac).
Olivia Keffer and Makenzie Knowlden have been friends since the beginning of their CYMT graduate residence journey, and this friendship has turned out to be one of the things that helped them make it to graduation day. Their story is one of affirming fellowship between two women who, despite living in different cities, helped each other answer their call to youth ministry.
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The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) recently received a $1.19MM grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to fund the next phase of the Innovation Laboratory. The grant will enable CYMT to strengthen the Innovation Lab by building on what we learned from our original cohorts and tweaking our process and strategy for greater impact.