What is CYMT Innovation Lab?

We are passionate about youth, as well as the intersection of daily life and living faith. The Innovation Lab aims to help develop new models of faith formation for young people. 

Who We Are

The Center for Youth Ministry Training launched the Innovation Laboratory in 2018 for the purpose of spurring innovation in youth ministry. We are passionate about youth, as well as the intersection of daily life and living faith. We are excited about what new models of youth ministry might mean for the formation of young people.

About the Center for Youth Ministry Training

The Center for Youth Ministry Training equips youth ministers and churches to develop theologically informed and practically effective youth ministries. Our graduate residency program is unique: CYMT creates a whole-person learning environment by nurturing residents academically in the classroom, vocationally in the local church, and emotionally through personal coaching and peer interaction. At the end of three years, you’ll graduate with a Master of Arts in Youth Ministry, three years experience in a local church, a cohort of theologically-minded people, and no debt.

For more than a decade, CYMT has been committed to training and educating well-equipped, called, and theologically informed youth ministers to lead the next generation of youth ministry. We are convinced that creative and innovative youth ministers who are educated as practical theologians are key for the future of youth ministry.





Foster the creation of new models of youth ministry beyond the tired youth group model


Discover and name congregational characteristics that either promote or hinder innovative ability


Refine our approach to successfully leading congregations through a practical theological innovation design process



Through participation in the Innovation Laboratory, your congregation will be lead through a process of creating an approach to youth ministry that is organic and unique to your congregation and context. Along the way you’ll find that your congregational culture is enriched and enlivened, and you’ll gain experience leading a team of people through a transformative theological innovation process. You will have developed and tried a new model for youth ministry and will be equipped to keep thinking in new ways that will help you continue to innovate.

Why Innovate?

We believe that the modern formula for youth ministry, which emphasizes gathering peer-based groups as the dominating model, needs updating. We also believe we have been called to create and innovate in the image of our Creator.   CYMT is creating A Path towards Innovation that has several vital components that we believe are necessary for success.

What do we mean by ‘innovation’? We don’t mean just coming up with a new idea to replace the lock-in or a creative way of doing Sunday School.  Rather than seeking tweaks or incremental enhancements to existing models and processes, the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry seeks to foster innovation that dramatically changes assumptions about the nature of youth ministry, upends expectations, and develops groundbreaking means and disruptive methods for ministry with young people in the American mainline church.




Lilly Endowment Grant

CYMT was awarded a $1.1 million grant in 2017 to create our Innovation Laboratory for the faith formation of young people.  By bringing design thinking into conversation with practical theology, we hope to help youth ministers develop the ability to create and test new models for youth ministry that organically fit the context of their local congregations.

Texas Methodist Foundation Grant

In 2018 CYMT was awarded a $219,00 grant from the Texas Methodist Foundation for the Innovation Laboratory for Youth Ministry. This grant allows CYMT to create a second cohort of the Innovation Lab in Texas so that we can continue to discover new models of youth ministry.