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Learn how you can become a student at MTS by requesting information from the Admissions Department.

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The Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree at Memphis Theological Seminary is a 48-hour degree.  It is a cohort experience, where students are grouped with 12-16 peers who will journey together as they learn about youth ministry and theology.  Students will experience community and create relationships that will encourage them as they grow. A new cohort forms each year and joins two other cohorts already in years two and three of their residency to create a community of 36+ MAYM students.  The courses rotate each year, allowing a student to complete the degree over six semesters (three years).

Retreat-Based Education Model

To complement the cohort experience, MTS has developed a retreat-based model that provides the best education and training available by allowing students to take classes through intensive retreats while working in local congregations. The program calls for three to four retreats each semester, during which one youth ministry course and one core seminary course will be presented.Between retreats, graduate residents meet in regionally based discussion groups to process the course material.  We have groups in Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, and online. They meet for two hours every week except during weeks when there is a retreat. Each discussion group is led by a veteran youth minister who helps bring practical application to the coursework.

Youth Ministry Course Descriptions

Youth Minister as Pastor and Leader – Sample Syllabus

  • Understanding the role of the youth minister in the life of the church, youth, and families
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling Teenagers
  • The role of relational youth ministry

Teaching the Gospel to Adolescents – Sample Syllabus

  • Learn how to develop solid biblical and theological lessons using a variety of techniques and settings,
  • Develop a basic understanding of male and female adolescent development,
  • Understand how to program and work with Junior High youth

Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry – Sample Syllabus

  • Understand the history of youth ministry,
  • Study effective, cross-denominational models of youth ministry in the church and parachurch,
  • Learn to think theologically about youth ministry programming, and
  • Develop a theological model for ministry within a specific context

Advanced Studies on Youth, Culture, and the Church – Sample Syllabus

  • Examine youth ministry through the lens of postmodern culture,
  • Examine the modern church and how it is shaping and being shaped by culture, and
  • Explore the latest studies in youth, culture, and religion

Youth Ministry Practicum

Every MAYM student is required to take two semesters of youth ministry practicum.  Students must arrange for an internship at a local congregation (minimum 10 hours per week), or with a ministry that serves youth.  Students will be assigned a youth ministry coach/practicum supervisor who will work with them both semesters.

Youth Ministry Elective Courses

The MAYM curriculum allows for nine elective hours as a part of course requirements.  Each semester, a two-hour Contemporary Issues in Youth Ministry Course is offered.  These courses are often taught in conjunction with a national youth ministry event like Youth Specialties, National Youth Workers Convention or in conjunction our partner the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT).  These elective courses allow students to experience a wide variety of youth ministry professors and the leading voices in the field.  Most Contemporary Issues courses are open to visiting students from other seminaries and for continuing education units.

Here are some of the contemporary issues courses offered in the past:

  • Children of Divorce
  • Sabbath
  • Preparing Parents for Spiritual Leadership
  • Symposium on Sexuality
  • From Txt2Speech: Proclaiming the Gospel in a Digital Age

Youth Ministry Professors and Instructors

The youth ministry coursework is facilitated by MTS and led by Dr. Andrew Zirschky, who serves as the youth ministry professor for all of the core youth ministry courses. MTS is intentional about inviting leading youth ministry educators to participate in our classes and to help teach Contemporary Issues in Youth Ministry courses. Below are some of those leaders who have taught as a part of the program:

  • Kenda Creasy Dean, Youth Ministry Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Andy Root, Youth Ministry Professor at Luther Theological Seminary
  • Drew Dyson, Youth Ministry Professor at Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Tony Jones, Professor of Christian Spirituality at Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Karen-Marie Yust, Professor at Union-PSCE
  • Mark DeVries, President of Youth Ministry Architects and prominent author


MAYM students can arrange for their own housing and meals during retreats, or they may choose to stay with the CYMT (The Center for Youth Ministry Training) graduate resident program.  The CYMT graduate residents utilize the SOS building, located just two blocks from MTS’ campus, or another retreat center in the Memphis area.  The typical cost to stay with the CYMT program is $12-15 per night. CYMT will also gladly account for your meals at $5 for breakfast, $8 for lunch, and $12 for dinner if arranged 2 weeks in advance of each retreat.  You can make those arrangements by contacting Julia Wilburn at  Alternatively, you can also check with MTS regarding on-campus housing.


“I am grateful every day for the partnership between MTS & the Center for Youth Ministry Training. I was stretched when I sat in class; I was supported by my cohort; I am humbled by the call God has placed on me and thankful for the education which helps me live more fully into that call; I am proud to be a graduate of MTS.”

Samantha Hassel

Master of Arts in Youth Ministry Graduate 2015

Rev. Melissa Malinoski

Rev. Melissa Malinoski

Director of Admissions

Melissa graduated from Bethel University in 1999 and from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2002.  As an ordained Cumberland Presbyterian minister, Melissa has served congregations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.   She is married to Rev. T.J. Malinoski.  They are the parents of a son, Morgen and a daughter, Madeline.

Contact Melissa:

Joanna Wilkinson

Joanna Wilkinson

Admissions Associate

Joanna completed her undergrad from Southwest Baptist University in 2010 and a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry in 2013 from Memphis Theological Seminary. She has worked and served in youth ministry since 2007. Missouri CP Presbytery certified her as a Youth Minister in the Fall of 2013. She and her husband Neal moved from Nashville to Memphis in the summer of 2015 and love living in the Midtown area.

Contact Joanna:

Jeremy Calico

Jeremy Calico

Admissions Associate

Jeremy graduated from The University of Memphis with a masters in Strategic Leadership in 2014. He also completed an undergraduate degree in Communications, Broadcasting & Electronic Media in 2002. Jeremy has worked in Urban Youth Ministry in Memphis since 2005 and has been on world missions trips to Indonesia (2005) and South America (2007).  Jeremy has 9+ years in higher education experience in Enrollment Services, Special Academic Programs and Business & Finance. Jeremy is married with 3 children.

Contact Jeremy: