First Third Conversations

Twenty Percent

By Andy Sahl

Continuing education types of gatherings must walk a fine line for me.  If the ideas presented are purely practical, I get the sense of “been there, done that, didn’t learn much.”  If the pendulum swings too fart to the theoretical or abstract ideas, I leave feeling like the presenters didn’t really speak to those of us in the trenches. 

At our most recent First Third Dialogue, Why Can’t Church be More Like Camp, our presenters navigated

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Communities of Practice

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

I love change. Most people don't, but I do. Get this, I even love to move. The actual physical process of moving itself. I know, pretty crazy, right? Of course, I get overwhelmed at some point too, but I love the pure change of picking up myself and my stuff and bringing it to a new place and new circumstances.

And yet, I also hear so many of my ministry friends deeply struggling with change. Whether we like

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Presently Separate & Separately Present

By Derek Tronsgard

Last Christmas my wife's sister joined us while we opened our presents.  A few weeks ago I did pre-marriage counseling for some friends.  Yesterday I showed a friend a picture of my dog.

Pretty unremarkable...

...except when you consider the fact that I live in Minnesota.  My sister-in-law lives in Denver and was at the dinner table via Skype. The engaged couple lives in North Dakota and were talking to me face-to-face on their iPhones.  And my friend

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Why Can't My Church Be More Like Camp?

See this video of Dr. Nancy Going discussing what congregations can learn from camps.

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Awe

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

I just had dinner with friends last week.  I hadn't seen them in a couple of years. Most importantly, I hadn't seen their son who happens to be developmentally disabled.  And when I had seen him last, I had never spent a lot of time with him.  It was just a very occasional dinner at their house over the course of a couple of years.  There is so much that limits this wonderful son, much that

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Time and Place

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

 This weekend I attended the funeral for the mother of three “former students” of our youth ministry. It was an honor to be there, and it threw me back decades to the times we’d spent traveling on buses, studying Scripture and sharing life together in the various ministry activities. Years have passed, and we’ve all grown up, but seeds of faith were planted back years ago.

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Holy Spacers vs. Holy Embracers

By Derek Tronsgard

 Earlier this week Mike King led a First Third Dialogue session talking about the power of space in our ministry and it got me thinking.

About a year ago a woman in my congregation cornered me on Sunday morning. 

“We need to talk,” she said.

Crap, I thought.

She went on to share her frustrations about my Confirmation kids' presence in Sunday morning worship.  The kids' behavior was just fine, she explained.  They were participating fully in the

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Thinking about change in your first third ministry?

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

- Are your ministries with young people more interested in program participation or cultivating a faith that matters in everyday life?

- Are you spending more time and energy coordinating events than fostering conversation about faith?

- Are you struggling to get the attention of your youth and their families?

- Is your Youth Ministry helping to foster Maturing Christian Young People?

If you are seeing the

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Traditions, and more

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

Thanksgiving has been celebrated, and now the Elton family has turned their attention to preparing for Christmas. There is excitement in the air, and there’s no turning back. We have entered the holiday season.

This season is filled with rituals and traditions, and rituals and traditions are crazy things. They have power, yet they also create tension and lose meaning. Our family has adopted an

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First Third Coaching Cohort

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

- Are your ministries with young people more interested in program participation or cultivating a faith that matters in everyday life?

- Are you spending more time and energy coordinating events than fostering conversation about faith?

- Are you struggling to get the attention of your youth and their families?

- Is your Youth Ministry helping to foster Maturing Christian Young People?

If you are seeing

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