MASTER OF ARTS IN YOUTH MINISTRY
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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can also check with MTS regarding on-campus housing.
HEAR WHAT STUDENTS HAD TO SAY
“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
Rev. Felecia LaVant
Felecia completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology at Fisk University in 1982, and MDiv at Memphis Theological Seminary in 2014. She serves as an Associate Minister and the Director of Christian Education at Central Baptist Church, Inc. Felecia also volunteers with Manna House, a place of hospitality in the Catholic Worker Tradition. She is the proud mother of two adult daughters, Andraea and Alexandria.
Rev. Byron Forester
Byron is a graduate of Bethel University (1974) and of Memphis Theological Seminary (2007). He serves as pastor of Hopewell Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Benton Co. MS and as Coordinator of Ministries for West Tennessee Presbytery. He participates and serves in several ministries to people who are unsheltered. Byron and his wife, Michelle Brown have three daughters. They live five blocks from MTS.