What is CYMT Innovation Lab?

Who We Are

The CYMT Innovation Laboratory exists 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.


The CYMT Innovation Laboratory seeks to (a) foster the creation of new models of youth ministry beyond the tired youth group model, (b) discover and name congregational characteristics that either promote or hinder innovative ability, and (c) refine our approach to successfully leading congregations through a practical theological innovation design process. Ultimately, the Innovation Lab will help to shape the future of youth ministry.

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.

Our Lilly Endowment Grant

We have been awarded a $1.1 million grant 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.