Austin Seminary, in partnership with The Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) in Nashville, Tennessee, is expanding its Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM) degree program to include on-site instruction in Nashville. The program, once approved by accrediting bodies and the State of Tennessee, will be the nation’s largest graduate program in youth ministry for mainline Christian denominations.
Austin Seminary has partnered with CYMT since 2016 to serve the greater Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin areas. Both institutions share similar missions of practical theological education and increasing excellence across the church’s ministries. The expansion of the Seminary’s MAYM program will allow it now to serve students and congregations in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky.
Academic Dean David H. Jensen said, “The past four years have been spent in productive, intentional collaboration in offering what I believe is the best master’s degree program for youth ministry in the country.”
“We believe that this relationship will help us continue our mission,” said Rev. Dietrich Kirk, executive director of CYMT. “The extension campus creates a model that could be duplicated in other regions in the future, creating an even bigger impact.”
“CYMT is a hub for innovation and critical thinking about best practices in youth ministry,” continued Dr. Jensen. “The organization recognizes that many people called to youth ministry have not received much formal theological education. The MAYM degree was created to increase that training among youth pastors.”
Students in the expanded MAYM program will receive on-site instruction during weekend intensives in both Austin and Nashville. All students in the degree program simultaneously serve as part-time youth directors in area churches, receiving mentorship, coaching, and hands-on experience in youth ministry throughout their course of study.
Austin Seminary has called Dr. Andrew Zirschky as director of the Nashville MAYM program. He is an internationally recognized expert in youth ministry and has been the academic director at CYMT for ten years; he holds the MDiv and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. Jensen noted, “We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to the Austin Seminary family and look forward to growing the MAYM program for the sake of the church and the sake of our young people’s future.”