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

This morning the idea of home was swirling in my head. This past week I was on the road traveling, so sleeping in my own bed, hanging with my family and even cleaning my house was a gift. Home, a shelter and place for family. Last night my college daughter returned from a week traveling abroad and our family got to join her for dinner. There in the restaurant sharing stories, a feeling of home. A friend’s

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Ministry to Young Adults

By Neil Christianson

David Kinnaman, author of the book unChristian, tells us that we are operating out of an old model that isn’t effective for young adults today. In his new book You Lost Me, he says that close to 60% of young people who went to church in high school drop out after high school. Why? Barna Research gives us six reasons. You can check out the details online HERE, but the six reasons are:

1. The church is overprotective. They have an isolation mentality “us verses

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The Future of the Church

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

 Terri Elton and I are attending a conference right now at Group Publishing about the future of the Church. The speakers are giving us lots of insight into what the great decline in church attendance and membership looks like across the spectrum of Christianity and across our country. There were scholars who have said for years, that American Christianity will never go the way of Europe. These scholars

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Listening to Old Ideas and the Wisdom of Elders

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

I don’t know about you, but music often speaks to my soul. Music has a way of drawing me deeper into my own human experience, while also moving me out of myself connecting me to the world and the greater human community. Theologian, colleague and friend, Christian Scharen, understands what I’m talking about, this connection between music and the human experience. In the current issue of Immerse

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Youth Ministry and the Rise of the "Nones"

By Derek Tronsgard

Earlier this month the Christian blogosphere exploded when news came from the Pew Research foundation stating that the fastest growing religion in America is, in fact, “no religion”.  This self-identifying group of the “nones” are young (18-29), uninterested in joining a church (even after kids!), and evenly distributed between men & women, economic backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and even -  to some extent -  ethnic backgrounds.

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Banging Your Head? Here's An Option For Your 2013

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

You've all heard that definition of insanity:  When you keep doing the same thing over and over, and this time expect a different result?  Could it be that we might just be there (insanity) when it comes to our churches and the vehicles we use for the spiritual formation of children and youth?  Sunday School. Confirmation. Youth Group.  

We at the Center for First Third Ministry at

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The Child

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

 My niece is a lively, energetic preschooler. She is curious and asks lots of questions. And she has opinions, and isn’t afraid of sharing them. I love my time with her, as I introduce her to new things and she invites me to enjoy life’s ordinary moments.

Last Thursday night in class we wrestled with the question…what is the call of childhood? And what does faith formation entail?

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Attention Parents! We Need You!

By Julie Hagen

This fall my congregation began a new format for our children's church school. We need a significant larger amount of leadership from parents than years past and I've discovered that much of my job is finding ways to communicate the importance of being involved. We need parents to be a part of the ministry that is happening each week.  Nancy Going recently blogged about The Race we, as the church, find ourselves in against all of the other things children have going on in their

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Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

In light of Nancy's blog post Looking for the "Nones" and the recent Pew study that showed one in five adults have no religious affiliation, you might be wondering why people are leaving the church. 

A five-year project headed by Barna Group president David Kinnaman explores the opportunities and challenges of faith development among teens and young adults within a rapidly shifting culture. 

Overall, the research uncovered six significant themes why nearly three out of every five young

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Looking for the "NONES"

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

Did you see this news in today's USA Today?   I saw a tweet this morning that named the meat of the report: "The fastest growing religion in America is no religion."  

"In the 1960s, two in three Americans called themselves Protestant. Now the Protestant group -- both evangelical and mainline -- has slid deeper in the statistical waters, down to 48%, from 53% in 2007."

Where did they go? Nowhere,

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