First Third Conversations

Time – Do you spend or invest?

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

This past weekend was homecoming at the high school. Daughter #2 was excited about going to the dance, but a few weeks ago discovered her tennis team had an all-day tournament on the same day and, to complicate matters, it was over an hour away. Needless to say, both mom and dad were needed to make the day come together.

This past Monday Daughter #1 called from college. She was getting everything in

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Makin’ a list, checking it twice

By Andy Sahl

Sunday mornings can sometimes be a scramble in our youth ministry.  Our (Episcopal) Parish has a large youth center that gets used for a number of events every weekend.  This means we do a lot of setup on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes that setup can lead to us being distracted from being fully present from our youth and adults because we’re pulling a table out of the closet for donuts or setting up  the projection when we could be chatting with someone.

Inspired

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Review of The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry in the Journal of Youth Ministry

Review by Tagg Wolverton, Greater Europe Mission, Netherlands

Excerpt:

In recent years some tough criticisms have been leveled at modern youth ministry. While evaluation and critique are to be expected with youth ministry coming of age as a profession, many of the rest of the concerns can be traced back to the lack of readily identifiable measures of the nuanced process of adolescent discipleship. How can one adequately judge the effectiveness of youth ministry from a perspective that includes spiritual,

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What are you counting?

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

Here at First Third we're taking time once again to celebrate the Exemplary Youth Ministry study. Because we now have our Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry book available as an e-book. But also because we feel compelled to keep the things we learned from this study in front of the church. Welcome to the conversation. 

And as you are starting your program year, I'm sure you are getting (and tempted

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Scripture, Tradition and Human Experience

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

According to Missiologist Stephen Bevans, Christians’ understanding of God emerges from a dialogue between Scripture, tradition and human experience. At times one of those voices may be more prominent than another, but day in and day out people of faith come to discover God through these means. How have Scripture, tradition and human experience revealed God to you this week?

I must admit, I didn’t

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Creating Space to Share Ideas

By Julie Hagen

I'm so excited about the kind of space FirstThird.org can be. In my first blog here, I thought I’d play everyone’s favorite ice breaker called Two Truths and a Lie. Here we go!

     1. My favorite color is green. 

     2. I've yet to join Pinterest. 

     3. I have a crush on Joe Mauer

Do you have a guess? The lie is......

     2. I’ve yet to join Pinterest. 

In fact, I may be turning

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Celebrating Exemplary Youth Ministry

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

Every now and then, one comes across an idea or a piece of work that reorients one’s way of thinking. For us, at Luther's Center for First Third ministry, the EYM study has done just that. Ten years later, the Exemplary Youth Ministry study is STILL a brilliant gift to the church.  It’s a gift in that the study was ecumenical and national. It’s a gift that offers statistics and

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A Letter to the Church

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

Dear Church,

It’s here. The first day of school, a day that marks the beginning of a new season in my house – the school year. For the next 9 months our life will consist of navigating schedules, deadlines, and demands from outside our family. We will be thoughtful and intentional each day, each week, each month. And we will discover life in places not expected, and live with the consequences

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Experiencing Grace

Rembrandt’s painting “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (c. 1669) is a classic picture of forgiveness and grace.By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary  

"Grace is Experienced, Not Explained"---- Bp.Todd Hunter

People who are leading children's or youth ministry in the church often talk about the program time--Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group--we have with students as a GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  This time of year especially, parents are interested signing up their kids for our programs, and that's why we get excited.  We have this unique opportunity

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Capitalizing on the Ordinary

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

Is this the right time? Are these the right people? Can we agree on the right move? When leading change, it’s easy to get lost in searching for “the right thing” and “the right time” while missing transformational moments. Yes, it’s important for leaders to coordinate efforts and set the stage, but leading change rarely takes place within the confines of a strategic

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