2016-17 YMI Students

This is the second year in a row we haven’t been able to successfully recruit a female student. I’m not really sure why. It has been my observation over the last decade that churches, in general, are more reluctant to invest in a female. (I have no reliable statistics to back my claim other than observation and conjecture.) But, regardless of that, meet our YMI Florida students.

Rick WilliamsRick Williams –  Rick has been the Youth Director for Covenant UMC in Port Orange, Florida, since April 2014 but started in a volunteer role in 2012. In 2008, he married his wife, Allie, who is the director of children’s ministries at Covenant UMC. They have 3 boys: Jake (5), Danny (4), and Caleb (6 months). He is a full time Fire Lieutenant/Paramedic with the Daytona Beach Fire Department and has been there since 2006. In his free time, he enjoys going to the beach with his family. Rick says, “I look forward to attending YMI and deep down inside am a bit nervous.”

Tyler SlatonTyler Slaton – As a young boy, Tyler moved around a lot, but Alabama has always been home. He received his call into ministry at the age of 13 and explored it with the help of his mentors at his home church in Alabama. He worked toward pastoral ministry and missions before realizing that youth ministry is where his passion is. Tyler volunteered for years in the ministry in which he grew up until taking the position he is currently in at First United Methodist Church, New Port Richey, FL.

Jake McKnight (1)Jake McKnight – Jake is the new youth director at Trinity UMC in Palatka, Florida. This is his first official youth pastor position so he is very excited to start his journey of discipleship and mentorship with the teens of the church. Jake graduated from Florida State University with a B.A. Degree in Music. His interests include but are not limited to sports of all kind, board games, music, and trying out new restaurants and dining establishments. Jake is a very outgoing person and says he has never met a stranger. He is very passionate about worship and the arts. Jake is also very passionate about helping people; whether it is helping a teen through a critical time in life, or helping someone with yard work or heavy lifting. Jake’s servant’s heart is one of his greatest assets.

Logan Allen

Logan Allen – Logan was born in Winter Haven, Florida, and has lived in Auburndale, Florida. He is currently working on his Bachelors in Business Administration at Polk State College and he anticipates graduating in Spring of 2017. Logan also works for the City Of Auburndale at the Cindy Hummel Tennis Center where he provides tennis lessons, assists with the odds and ends of the pro shop, and whatever else is needed.

Logan says, “I also am blessed to serve at First United Methodist Church of Auburndale as the Youth Director. This means so much to me because it allows me to ‘give back’ to a church that has given so much to me and my family. I have nothing but fond memories of my time in the youth group. It guided me through my teen years which are often difficult for most. My church family helped me understand my faith journey and tenderly assisted me along the way. I look forward to spreading the word and helping my youth explore their faith during our times together.”

Logan is also doubly blessed with his fiancée, Kristin. They have dated since 2012 and their wedding will be in the Summer of 2017. Kristin is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and is excited to mold young minds! “We are both incredibly happy to be surrounded by family and plan on residing in Auburndale to build a life with God’s blessings.”


Drew Von PreysingDrew Von Preysing – Drew has been the Children’s and Youth Director at Skycrest United Methodist Church in Clearwater, Florida, since January 2016. He started his journey in youth ministry as an Assistant Youth Pastor in 2011. He is also a college student seeking his degree in history from the University of South Florida. In his free time, Drew enjoys playing sports, video games, board games and exploring the outdoors.

chris temple


Chris Temple – Chris began as a part-time youth minister at New Hope UMC in Brandon and has recently moved into a full-time position. He longs to help his students to become better disciples of Christ. Chris is a student at the University of South Florida. He is married to Michelle and one of his passions is being a father to his three children. He has two boys, ages 3 and 6 years and one girl, age 9 years. Chris has been a musician for 10+ years and is passionate about guitar, vocals, arrangements and composition.


Nic MandoliniNic Mandolini – Nic has been the youth minister at Wesley Memorial UMC in Tampa, Florida, since February, 2016. He was formerly an intern at the USF Wesley Foundation. His passion is watching teens grow in their relationship with Christ and applying their faith to life.  Nic plays drums and guitar in his spare time and loves watching baseball, especially the Oakland Athletics.



JonahJonah Burkett the new youth director at St. John’s UMC in Winter Haven, Florida.  He recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in business.  He served as a youth leader during my time in Orlando and felt youth ministry was what God was calling him to do.  He has a passion for ministry and that passion and calling led him to St. John’s UMC.  He is a very adventurous person who enjoys the outdoors, sports, and mission work.


Classes are beginning.  We aren’t finished.  At least two more students are turning in their paperwork.  It is a very exciting time.  Pray that some females join our group!!!

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