Youth Ministry Institute


Welcome to YMI!

If you've ever had a chance to sit in a smaller circle of folks and intimately learn the ins and outs of youth ministry, share emerging ideas, and look at your theology of youth ministry with people who do what you do, then you know the feeling of a peer community and the security of relating with other youth ministers. If you haven't had this opportunity, then it is now knocking on your door. 

The Youth Ministry Institute (YMI) in the North Georgia Conference (UMC) is an informational, practical, and relational training for people who serve in youth ministry. Whether paid staff or volunteer, a ministry presence of Christ in the lives of teenagers is important and deserves to be treated as such.

Churches and senior pastors: a great way to show support to your youth minister and youth ministry is to make sure his or her registration fee is covered.

Youth ministers: a great way to give support to your youth ministry team is to register, bringing all these great opportunities to your volunteer team.


YMI is a Youth Ministry Coaching Program – a whole-life coaching focusing on transformation and youth ministry development. This is a cohort led by The Youth Cartel’s Mark Oestreicher exclusively through the North Georgia Conference. YMI is scheduled to begin with an overnight retreat in September (beginning at dinner time) at Glisson Camping and Retreat Center (near Dahlonega). Each cohort meets six times in the year – every other month for two full days at Glisson.

Critical thinking and theological reflection are extremely important for youth workers who don’t merely want to perpetuate the way things have been done in the past. However, thinking and reflection are merely one portion (though a significant one) of what will help youth workers stay true to their calling and also grow in maturity and effectiveness. Emotional, relational, and spiritual health are essential to long-term impact. YMI is designed to provide both an opportunity for critical reflection and discussion of youth ministry issues, but also to provide a safe place to experience holistic growth.

In most ways, the YMCP will surpass the training that can be offered by seminars and conventions. It will even surpass the experience of formal education. This is specifically due to the structure of the program (a small cohort with accountability, safety and shared shaping of the content), as well as the content of the program (thoughtful youth ministry dialogue, real life application, customized personal development, emotional honesty, and spiritual direction).

Since its launch in 2010, YMCP has seen over 400 youth workers graduate from the program, and the results of have been astounding. Regardless of their age (from 24-60 years old) or experience in youth ministry (from one year to three decades), the ramifications of YMCP have resulted in profound personal and Kingdom impact.

After completing Youth Ministry Coaching Program, participants will have had the following experiences and opportunities:

  • Participants will grow in understanding their strengths and weaknesses, how such strengths and weaknesses impact their leadership, ministry, and personal life, and how to lead in their strengths and manage their weaknesses in healthy ways.
  • Participants will experience new spiritual growth and insight as they safely process their own journey and the integration of their personal lives with their professional lives.
  • Cohort members will receive training on a wide variety of youth ministry issues, with an opportunity for dialogue and contextual application.
  • Cohorts are customizable based on participants’ input and unique needs.
  • Participants will develop life-long youth ministry peer relationships of trust and accountability.
  • Participants will read books in preparation for every gathering, discuss them, and determine action steps for their lives and ministries.
  • Each member will have opportunities to share ministry questions and needs to the group in areas of their own choosing, with feedback and recommendations from the group.
  • Participants will work through a series of self-selected homework assignments, with input from the group, and report back on their progress.
  • Participants will have one personal coaching session per month with the cohort coach (some in person and some via phone).
  • Some cohorts include spiritual direction sessions at every cohort gathering with a trained spiritual director.
  • Participants will be provided a private social networking site for updates, prayer, questions, and dialogue. This will also be a place for active participation in helping each other with practical issues in youth ministry, and your coach will be involved regularly in giving input and feedback.

Each YMCP face-to-face meeting will be two days.

  • DAY 1: begins at 8am and continues through dinner.
  • DAY 2: begins at 8am and ends by 3:30pm. Each participant will be scheduled for a 30-minute coaching session with their coach at each of the group meetings, and will schedule a phone coaching session appointment to occur in between the group meetings.

                        Sample YMCP 2-Day Meeting Schedule

Day 1

8:00 – 9:15 am Highs & Lows, Report on Homework

9:30 – 11:00 am Teaching and interaction on a youth ministry subject

11:15 am – 12:00 pm Personal Sharing

12:00 – 2:30 pm

• Lunch break

• Personal coaching sessions with coach

• Spiritual direction appointments

2:30 – 3:15 pm Focused Input: cohort participant

3:25 – 4:10 pm Focused Input: cohort participant

4:25 – 5:00 pm Quick Input Blocks

5:30 – 6:00 pm Break

6:00 – 7:30 pm Dinner together

Day 2

8:00 – 9:00 am Reflection and Prayer

9:15 – 11:00 am Teaching and interaction on a leadership subject

11:30 am – 12:00 pm Book Discussion

12:00 – 2:30 pm

• Lunch break

• Personal coaching sessions with coach

• Spiritual direction appointments

2:30 – 3:15 pm Focused Input: cohort participant

3:30 – 3:45 pm Homework Assignments

Cost is $3500 which includes meals and lodging on each of the two-day meetings at Glisson.

Meeting Days

Accepted participants will have an opportunity to speak into the actual meeting dates, but once set, the dates will not be flexible.

Grant Opportunities

It is expected that churches will provide the funding through continuing ed or special reimbursement for YMI and not expect the youth minister to pay for YMI from his or her own personal funds; however, not all congregations can afford such an expenditure, and we do want a diversity of churches represented in each cohort

If the church is unable to provide the necessary funds for YMI there is a grant available that will help. 

Application Process

Coming soon