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Youth Ministry Think Tank 2008 Revisited

The Center for Youth Ministry Training was blessed in 2008 to receive a grant from the Lilly Foundation to enhance our program, develop a youth ministry resource site (www.ymtoday.com), start a second campus, and to host an annual think tank where some of the leading practitioners and academic leaders in the field of youth ministry could gather and discuss.  Folks from the East Coast and West Coast from the North and the South and everywhere in-between to talk about how we could better educate and equip youth workers.  Here is who joined us the first year:

Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary – Dayle Rounds

Princeton Theolgical Seminary – Kenda Creasy Dean and the Timothy Scholars

Timothy Scholars (YM PH.D Students) – Andrew Zirschky, Amanda Drury, Drew Dyson, and Jason Santos

Fuller Youth Institute – Brad Griffin

Center for Youth Ministry Training – Dietrich “Deech” Kirk, Lesleigh Carmichael,  and Will Penner

Youth Ministry Architects – Mark DeVries and Sara Bailey

Truett Theological Seminary – Amy Jacober

Duke Youth Academy & Duke Divinity School – Fred Edie

Seattle Pacific University – Jeff Keuss

Memphis Theological Seminary – Virginia Lee

Garrett Theological Seminary – Reggie Blount

Youth Ministry Institute – Steve Schneeburger

Youth Ministry Guru’s – Jay Cousino, Lars Rood,  and Mike King

The immediate impact of the Think Tank was the camaraderie of the participants.  New friendships developed that will have a long term impact on the work of each individual and institution represented.  These new friendships are providing support for leaders, but also are creating new collaborative efforts as participants invite others to join in their individual efforts.  The dreams of the Think Tank have expanded the horizon of what the I could have imagined.  CYMT received a tremendous boost in credibility within the academic and youth ministry community simply because we were blessed to rub shoulders with these folks.  Our new friendships have provided more collaborating partners and a larger shared vision of youth ministry training.

From the first word, it was clear that the Spirit was at work.  The gathering of individuals who share a common call sparked a Divine collective power as we wrestled with questions dear to our heart.  Due to immense creative energy created by this gathering, it is impossible to reflect all the fruit of this gathering.

Some of the main themes that emerged from the conversation in 2008 were:

  • Lack of training for the average Youth Worker
  • Need for Coaches, Mentors, and Catalysts for Change for youth workers and the church
  • Need to develop educational tools for those who do not come in contact with academy
  • Disjointedness of the youth ministry communities efforts
  • Lack of resources and training for the marginalized
  • Need for a national organization to develop and promote these conversations

At the end of the 2008 Think Tank, we choose three areas to focus our attention:

  • Studying the coaching impact of the CYMT and YMI on its participants
  • Exploring the impact of peer learning in a youth ministry community
  • and developing some ideas around a youth ministry training matrix

One of the side benefits was the continued camaraderie of the participants throughout the year at Youth Specialties, Group, AYME, and other national youth gatherings!  We learned a great a lot about the three focus areas over the year and shared that information as we regathered in May 2009.  See tomorrow’s post for the 2009 Think Tank rewind.

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