youth ministry leadership development summer institute

About the Summer Institute

featuring the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies® Program provided through the Center for Ministry Development

The Youth Ministry Leadership Development Summer Institute is a ministry education program for adults in ministry with youth in both parish and school settings. It equips leaders with the knowledge, skills, practical tools, and techniques needed for creative and comprehensive ministry with youth. Participants in the Certificate Program must be at least 18 years of age and have graduated from high school.

This program is designed for adults involved professionally or as volunteers with younger (10-14) or older (14-19) adolescents in a parish or school setting. The potential audience for the program includes: coordinators of youth ministry, directors of religious education, youth ministry volunteer leaders, junior high leaders, high school campus ministers, teachers, clergy, university students and seminarians. Individual weekends are also helpful for leaders who specialize in particular ministries. For example, the Justice and Service course can serve leaders involved in social justice ministries.

The primary aim of the program is to promote personal, spiritual, and ministerial growth. Courses in the first year cover youth ministry principles and practice, and leadership theory, processes, and skills.

The Certificate program is utilized in a number of ways:

  • as an integrated formation program leading to a Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies
  • as an enrichment or continuing education program for veteran leaders
  • as a workshop series which can be taken on a course-by-course basis by professional or volunteer leaders

Special intent will be given to 20 Volunteer Coordinators of Youth Ministry from under resourced urban parishes struggling to develop or sustain youth ministry program because of the lack of affordable professional training in youth ministry. Greater focus will be given to Vicariates III, IV and VI where the sparks of youth ministry emerge but cannot grow stronger without support.


CMD's Collaboration with Loyola University's Institute of Pastoral Studies

For students who completed the full 2 years of courses for the CMD Certificate in Youth Ministry, Loyola’s Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) will award 9 credit hours of advanced standing toward your 36 credit hour Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. Taking advantage of advanced standing, you’ll build on your CMD certificate as you learn with a lively and collaborative community of peers. The remaining credits of the degree can be completed entirely online, on campus, or as an online/on-campus hybrid. IPS also offers summer courses in Rome.

For those who wish to complete the Certificate program, please contact the Office for Catechesis and Youth Ministry at the Archdiocese of Chicago to let us know.

Archdiocese of Chicago scholarship Goal

After the Chicago Archdiocese participants complete their Summer Institute training, they will make a commitment of two years to their parishes. This will create parish youth ministry programs which are ministered and administered effectively towards growth, thus impacting and inspiring young people of our urban communities to Christ and His Church.  The OFCYM and the parish pastor will evaluate the work of these participants after the first and second year of their parish service and evaluate the impact of the training and its delivery. Funds to support this goal will be subsidized through the To Teach Who Christ Is Campaign.

AOC pilot program & Certificate Completion

The Archdiocese of Chicago is hosting this program as a PILOT. Therefore, due to our desire to make offerings truly suited to the needs of youth ministers, pastors and parishes, we will only be offering only the first year of the full two-year program. To complete the full program and receive the final Certificate from the CMD, as well as apply for equivalency at Loyola IPS, students must finish the program's second year.

More information on completing the courses can be found on the CMD's webpage.

General Requirements

  1. Participants must be 18 years old or older. Veteran volunteer ministers are welcome and encouraged to revamp their current programs.

Scholarship requirements

  1. Applicants must be a current volunteer in their parish or be on track to be a Coordinator of Youth Ministry.
  2. Applicants must  submit a letter of recommendation from their pastor, and open a file with the Office of Catechesis and Youth Ministry (submit file to
  3. Must commit to remain in a parish as a youth catechist or coordinator for 2 years.
  4. Must receive ongoing evaluation and mentorship in their programs, especially focusing on how the Certificate has aided them in ministerial practice.
  5. Participants must attend all four days of the two weekend retreats.

Outcomes & Benefits

  • Understand and build skills in the process of individual and youth evangelization to Christ.
  • Vision and plan discipleship building for the year & beyond.
  • Connect disciple making with appropriate and effective methodologies.
  • Shape, lead and form an adult youth ministry team.
  • Advocate for teens & the ministry within the parish.
  • Create sustainability in the program, team and in the youth leader.

*Participants of the Pilot program will NOT receive a final CMD certificate at the end of the summer. The summer institute only covers year 1 of 2 for 2016.


Scholarship Nomination Process

Those who wish to receive the scholarship through the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign funds must be nominated by the pastor of the parish they wish to serve in for the 2 year commitment. Please follow the following procedure:

  1. The nominating pastor should email Renee Zachar at
  2. Pastors, in the return email, will be issued a link to our Nomination Form, where he can enter the information of his candidate. Submissions are due by May 17, 2016.
  3. Names submitted on the Nomination Form will be gathered and presented to the corresponding Vicariate Bishop's Team, and reviewed. Each Vicariate has about 3 scholarship seats to offer. Using their own determined criteria, those Teams of Bishop and deans will determine scholarship recipients. 
  4. Scholarship recipients will be notified May 20, 2016. At that point they will submit their letter of recommendation from their pastor. In return they will be issued a coupon code for their registration process.


Summer 2016 Pilot Timeline

Course I: Visioning For Catholic Youth Ministry
Online -  June 12-July 8

Course II: Principles of Youth Ministry (9am-5pm)
Course III: Practices of Youth Ministry (9am-5pm)
Cabrini Retreat Center - July 16-17 presented by Tom East

Course IV: Foundations of Ministry Leadership (9am-5pm)
Course V: Skills for Christian Leadership (9am-5pm)
Cabrini Retreat Center - August 27-28 presented by Anne Marie Eckert

Course VI: Leading Catholic Youth Ministry
Online - September 4-30

Pilot Course Content - year 1 of 2

The CMD offers a blended learning program that utilizes both a four week online course as well as in-person courses over a two day, retreat style weekend. These in person courses will be offered at Cabrini Retreat Center. For the pilot program, only year 1 is scheduled and will be evaluated for year 2 production.

Online Course 1:

Visioning for Catholic Youth Ministry

Visioning for Catholic Youth Ministry presents an overview of the history and the essential Church documents for Catholic Youth Ministry. It will present research that proposes a pastoral response to adolescent development and family life.  This course will also explore the leadership implications for ministry in a culturally diverse church including practical skills for working together as a ministry team to promote parish-wide collaboration on behalf of youth and their families.  12 hours of online formation over 4 weeks.

In-Person Course 1:

Principles of Youth Ministry

Principles of Youth Ministry presents the foundational understandings and principles for developing effective, comprehensive ministry with young and older adolescents. It presents the vision and principles for comprehensive youth ministry and a model for developing youth ministry which incorporates developmentally appropriate youth programming, strengthens family life, involves young people as integral members of the faith community, and collaborates with civic organizations in a common effort to promote positive youth development.  Seven hours of instruction.

In-Person Course 2:

Practices of Youth Ministry

Practices of Youth Ministry explores the development of comprehensive youth ministry through the collaborative sharing of the resources in the community. Rooted in a theological and pastoral vision of community life, this course develops foundational understandings that will assist leaders in setting and implementing a vision for dynamic ministry with youth. This will include skills for advocacy, planning and organizing youth ministry efforts.  Methods for collaborative leadership among ministries and within ministry teams will also be developed. Seven hours of instruction. 

In-Person Course 3:

Foundations for Ministry Leadership

Foundations of Ministry Leadership explores the theology, principles, and practices of effective leadership in Christian ministry. Participants will also learn how to empower individuals and teams of leaders for ministry with youth. The course combines theory presentation with experiential learning as participants explore (a) leadership theory and an assessment of styles for effective leadership; (b) theological and pastoral foundations for understanding leadership and empowerment; and (c) processes and tools for inviting and nurturing adult and youth leaders in ministry. Seven hours of instruction.

In-Person Course 4:

Skills for Christian Leadership

Skills for Christian Leadership addresses the theories and skills needed for principle centered leadership in ministry.  Participants will develop a practical, working understanding of leadership process and skills and the experiential ability to use the skills.  The course stresses the application of leadership skills to various ministry settings, problems, and issues. Seven hours of instruction.

Online Course 2:

Leading Catholic Youth Ministry

Leading Catholic Youth Ministry will explore current leadership concepts and approaches, as well as Christian perspectives on leadership.  It will include development of a personal mission statement as well as practical skills for preparing leaders for ministry, building community with youth and planning a season of ministry initiatives. 12 hours of online formation over 4 weeks.


General registration: $600

The Archdiocese of Chicago will subsidize the cost of this program for 20 individuals who are registered in an Archdiocese of Chicago parish and have a pastor recommendation. Participants beyond the TTWCI Scholars and from other diocese are welcome and encouraged to attend, however their fees will be standard.  To nominate a candidate please email

registration is closed

Please contact us to nominate for scholarship program.


Renee Zachar
Cardinal Meyer Center
3525 S Lake Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647

Weekend Retreat Location

Cabrini Retreat Center
9430 Golf Road
Des Plaines, Illinois 60016