On-the-job training and a degree in youth ministry

When did faith first come alive for you? Chances are a youth minister was one of the first people to make faith “real” for you as you struggled through the challenges and choices of adolescence. But good youth ministry doesn’t just happen! It takes compassion and skill, and a love of teens, to be be a mentor for young people as they explore the big questions of faith and life.

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in partnership with the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT), offers you the chance to develop both compassion and skill while gaining a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM). In this rather unique academic-and-practical program, you will be placed in a local congregation, working as a youth ministry professional for 25 – 30 hours a week for three years. You will receive an all-inclusive scholarship covering 100% of your tuition, books, and retreat costs. And you will receive housing and utilities and a $1000 monthly stipend. You will graduate with a Master’s degree, three years of youth ministry experience on your resume, and no tuition debt!

MAYM students attend intensive retreats three times each semester on the Austin Seminary campus while they are working in a church. They receive one-on-one coaching with youth ministry veterans and participate in a student cohort with other MAYM students. Because the students are simultaneously working and learning, all MAYM students live and serve churches within a four-hour radius of Austin. This allows you to take what you learn in class and apply it directly in real time, hands-on youth ministry.

UT alum Jose Saurez, a MAYM student serving a congregation in Austin, says, “We work with mentors and professors to discern our call to youth ministry, and we have the support that empowers us to be advocates for our youth and ourselves. We also have each other. We lean on each other when youth ministry gets messy – because people are messy – but we press into God fervently to get us to a place of clarity.”

You will hone your skills in youth ministry while you also gain a strong foundation in theological education. MAYM student Kat Bair, who serves a congregation in Ft. Worth, describes the program this way: “My Intro to Old Testament class revealed the richness and depth of the Old Testament in a way I had never experienced before. My professor made the Old Testament come alive. I am delighted to pass along my new-found fascination for the ‘First Testament’ to the teenagers I work with!

“The partnership between CYMT and Austin Seminary has given me the space and resources to be theologically reflective and intentional about my ministry,” Blair says. “The diverse set of voices and perspectives present at Austin Seminary consistently challenge me to evaluate and reevaluate how I think about youth ministry and the role of the church.”