First Third Conversations

Building More than a House

By Jordan Elton

Growing up as the daughter of employees of the church, faith has always been incorporated into my life. I believed this was the norm and just went with the flow of it. As a part of my childhood, my parents (one of them being a missions director) instilled the act of service and taught my sister and I the importance of setting aside your own needs to serve others. I didn’t realize what a gift this was until recently, when 19 students, including myself, loaded the bus at 5 am

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On the return home…

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Last week we introduced our spring 2013 FirstThird Dialogue theme, Reclaiming the Servant’s Heart, with the first of three webinars. The webinar’s theme was “Making Mission More Than a Trip.” This week we will get various perspectives on mission trips themselves as we prepare for this week’s topic, “Servant Learning.” Let me start the week by offering my own perspective

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Church History Rhymes

By Derek Tronsgard

There's well-known saying by Edmund Burke that says “those who don't know history are destined to repeat it”.

How well do you know your congregation's history? 

Earlier this month my congregation started a visioning process for our youth ministry to map out the next 3-4 years, and one of the most helpful things we did was to write a complete, exhaustive history of the youth ministry in our congregation, stretching all the way back to our church's beginning in 1956.

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Save the Date for the next First Third Dialogue!

This March, First Third is bringing the Dialogue to you in a whole new format. Wherever you are, with your team or on your own, we want to help you cultivate faith in the first third of life. 

Reclaiming the Servant's Heart for Mission in CYF Ministry

  • First Third Dialogue in 3 interactive webinars! Join in the Dialogue through live streaming, ask questions and enter the dialogue. Sessions will also be archived for later viewing. 
  • Dates: March 8th, 15th, 22nd
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 am Central
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Tourists or Missionaries?

By Andrew Root

Tourists or Missionaries? Theological Questions You Need to Answer Before Your Group’s Next Mission Trip

March/April 2013 | YouthWorker Journal

Check out Andy speaking at the First Third Dialogue Webinar on The Mission Trip as Global Tourism this March!
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The role of the mission trip?!

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Between 20-33% of young people in the United States have participated on a short-term religious or mission trip. That’s around 5.5 million 13- to 17-year olds. Yet I continue to hear youth workers ask, “Why do mission trips?”

Mission trips and service learning have become a stable in ministry, not only with youth, but within congregations as a whole. (For example, about 10 years ago the

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Youth Leader or Congregational Leader

By Andy Sahl

There are many areas of our leadership as youth and children’s ministers where we have a LOT of freedom.  In many congregations, the youth and children’s ministries are allowed to experiment and fail in a way that other ministries are not. 

Experimenting and dreaming up new ideas for our little silos can be fun.  But the world of youth and children’s ministry has changed over the years we’ve come to understand that most effective youth and children’s

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Making the Main Thing….

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

Anyone in ministry will tell you that it's all about relationships. And while there have been great correctives in recent years about the nature of those relationships (thank you, Andy Root!), the fact remains that relationships in ministry are what matter most.  So what would it mean to spend most of your ministry time in relationships?  

It doesn't mean spending your every working hour with people (whew

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A Night at the Movies

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Any weekend I see a movie is a good one. Dramas, comedies, action-thrillers, musicals, historical pieces…you name it, I love a good movie. My weekdays are full and demanding, so being transported into a story for a few hours on a Friday night, with my husband and a Diet Coke, and I’m good! Sure, sometimes the story is far-fetched and I need to stretch my imagination, other times the story is

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New ways of equipping leaders

By Julie Hagen

I’m done with winter, but according to the forecast, it looks like Mother Nature has a different opinion. I may be stuck in the cold for a little bit (or more) longer, but my church calendar is looking like summer! Summer registrations are open and we’re busy finalizing details and looking to the fall. 

Over the past few months, we’ve been blogging about the role of youth minister.  I’d like to add the youth minister as equipper. Ministry with young

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