The Master of Arts in Youth Ministry prepares you to be a transformational leader in youth ministry through theological education simultaneous with youth ministry placement in a congregation. Through a cohort experience, students merge scholarship, piety, and justice within covenant community relationships. The MAYM at MTS is a national leader in preparing students for youth ministry!
Hybrid Education Model
To complement the cohort experience, courses are a hybrid approach to the classroom experience, which we call “Retreats”.
This approach blends traditional classroom contact, face-to-face small group discussion, and electronically mediated interactions between students and professors.
We think this 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 remote. 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.
Early deadline for Fall semester: May 31
Final deadline for Fall semester: August 10
Early deadline for Spring semester: November 30
Final deadline for Spring semester: January 10
Core Components of the Program
Be part of a group of peers. Together, you will learn about youth ministry and theology. You will develop life-long relationships that encourage and support you in your ministry.
The course work (taught in intensive retreats on the Austin Seminary campus) is designed to help you understand more than just what to do in youth ministry. You’ll learn to think theologically about the ministry you lead and have the knowledge to design ministry programs that help young people develop a deep, life-changing Christian faith. And your tuition will be fully covered by a tuition grant!
Receive regular one-on-one coaching from a youth ministry veteran to help master critical ministry skills and apply what you’ve learned. Your coach will also help your church staff and congregation develop a healthy understanding of the role of youth ministry in the life of the church.
Gain “in-the-trenches” youth ministry experience by serving 25 hours per week in a local church. This allows you to put all the pieces together—everything you learn from the peers in your cohort, the professors in the classroom, and from your coach. You also will receive a stipend to cover your living expenses!
The Master of Arts in Youth Ministry equips students for competent leadership in ministry with young people in the church and the world. This specialized ministry degree develops students in practical theological reflection as they develop a skill base for ministry with youth in the church and the world. Students will be required to complete 48 graduate credit hours and a church internship in order to complete the degree in a minimum of three years of study. The Master of Arts in Youth Ministry curriculum reflects the mission of MTS by introducing students to theological scholarship, fostering their growth in spiritual faith and practice, and promoting the capacity to engage in ministry to young people that leads toward the just transformation of youth, the church, and the world. Candidates for the order of deacon in the United Methodist Church can meet ordination requirements with this degree.
The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry curriculum intends to shape lives devoted to scholarship, piety and justice in these ways:
Ministry to young people grounded in the study and critical interpretation of scripture, history, and Christian doctrine.
The ability to employ practical theological reflection and exercise the skills for ministry to young people in light of diverse cultural contexts.
Deepened self-awareness and personal health through personal and communal relationships for sustainable ministry leadership.
Increased openness to diverse perspectives and practical expressions of love for God and neighbor.
New perspectives on the dehumanization and oppression of young people and other groups through transformative encounters with personal and systemic injustice.
The ability to prepare young people for critical, creative, and compassionate responses to injustice guided by religious faith.
Youth Ministry Practicum
Students must arrange for an internship or position at a local congregation or ministry (minimum 25 hours per week) that serves youth, children or young adults. Students will be assigned a youth ministry coach/practicum supervisor who will work with them.
The courses rotate each year, allowing a student to complete the degree over six semesters (three years). First year students will join the second and third year students for core courses while also taking Youth Ministry Practicum in their first and second semester. Second and Third year students will be taking a core course along with a youth ministry course each semester with the occasional elective. Formation will be taken each semester by all students.
Core Courses – 18 hrs
|Interpreting the Hebrew Bible||3|
|Interpreting the New Testament||3|
|Christian Heritage I||3|
|Christian Heritage II||3|
|Context and Models for Mission and Evangelism (includes field education)||3|
Youth Ministry Courses – 12 hrs
|Theological Foundations for Youth Ministry||3|
|Missional Studies in Youth, Church and Culture||3|
|Communicating the Gospel to Youth||3|
|Youth Minister as Pastor and Leader||3|
|Practical Theology for Youth Ministry||3|
Spiritual Formation – 3 hrs
|Formation for Ministry Year 1||1|
|Formation for Ministry Year 2||1|
|Formation for Ministry Year 3||1|
Youth Ministry Practicum – 6 hrs
|Practicum Year 1 – Semester 1||3|
|Practicum Year 1 – Semester 2||3|
Electives – 9 hrs
|Elective Weekend Intensives||2|
|Elective Weekend Intensives||2|
|Elective Weekend Intensives||2|
Total Credits: 48
If student live outside of the Memphis area they 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 CYMT at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can also check with MTS regarding on-campus housing.
The first retreat in the Fall semester for MAYM students will be in Birmingham and the first retreat in the Spring semester will be in a rotation of locations. Students are required to make arrangements for travel, overnight accommodations, and food. For more details of these locations contact Dr. Andrew Zirschky – firstname.lastname@example.org. All other retreats will be on the Memphis Theological Seminary campus.
If an applicant does not have a ministry they are working in and want a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry, we are proud to introduce you to a partner program, Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT). CYMT is an alternative way to be admitted into the MAYM program at MTS. CYMT provides a job placement and a community of Youth Workers who are on the same track to learn beside each other while MTS provides the theological education and training for a sustainable youth ministry. Those admitted into CYMT are placed in a three-year job placement where they serve as the youth director.
We appreciate your interest in Memphis Theological Seminary. The MTS admissions staff is committed to supporting you in your theological journey. We are here to help you while you are discerning your call, considering degree and certificate options, and supporting you as you do ministry in the real world. At MTS we are committed to educating and sustaining men and women for ordained and lay ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety, and justice. Please don’t hesitate to ask how we can assist you along in your journey.
Rev. Fekecia Gunn
Director, Enrollment Services
Rev. Byron Forester
Byron is a graduate of Bethel College (1974) and of Memphis Theological Seminary (2007). He serves as pastor of the Newbern, TN Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Roellen, TN Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Byron spends Monday mornings as a volunteer at Manna House, a place of hospitality for poor and unsheltered people, He and wife, Michelle Brown have three daughters. They live five blocks from MTS.