As an aspiring youth minister, I was invited during my time in Divinity School to attend a retreat called OASIS, the flagship event of the CBF Youth Ministry Network. When I entered the Assembly Inn in Montreat, North Carolina, I couldn’t have known how important the CBFYMN would be to my ability to fulfill a calling to youth ministry. Simply put, in my eight years as a youth minister serving in the state of Georgia, I’ve found no better resource to empower and impact my ministry than the CBF Youth Ministry Network.

The CBF Youth Ministry Network (CBFYMN), in their own words, exists to encourage, support, and challenge those serving God and youth among the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In my practical experience, I have found this impactful resource to rise above its own expectations.

Like most networks, the strength of the CBFYMN begins with the people who comprise its membership. Youth ministers and volunteers from across our denomination come together for resourcing, peer support, and community.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, CBFYMN provided me mentorship and identity as I began developing the next chapter of our youth ministry at First Baptist Church in Columbus. When everything stopped in March of 2020, the network brought a sense of solidarity and idea sharing to enable each youth ministry to continue to function in those difficult times. As things returned to normal, we gathered for a new iteration of OASIS that welcomed in those who minister to children and young adults. It was the network’s response to the growing trend of “and” ministry, in which most youth ministers carry other responsibilities at their congregations. And it was also the network’s way to offer encouragement to the growth of networks that support the vital ministry areas most closely related to youth ministry.

In short, the CBFYMN has long been a vital resource for youth ministers throughout Georgia and the larger Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. It continues to live into its calling to support, encourage, and challenge ministers as, together with its sister networks, we all work to impact young people for the kingdom of God.

—Daniel Potter, Minister to Students,

First Baptist Church, Columbus

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