First Third Conversations

The Gospel without Gunpowder

By Jake Sorenson

Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Tokyo, Japan with my wife. Besides celebrating our 10th anniversary, the occasion for our trip was my college roommate’s marriage to a wonderful Japanese girl. My roommate traveled to Japan in 2005 with the Young Adults in Global Mission program of the ELCA. I expected him to return to the good old USA in a year or two, but he decided to stay in Tokyo to teach English. After a while, I figured it had to be about a girl, so I was

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Turn off your cell phones and commit to this space

by Colleen Windham-Hughes, Assistant Professor Assistant Professor in Religion; Director, Theology and Christian Leadership Program; Associate Director, Center for Equality and Justice at California Lutheran University

When I think of culture I like to keep yogurt in mind. For yogurt and for people culture means conditions that foster life and growth. Now, this certainly does not mean that all of culture is life-giving, but it does mean that people are aiming what helps them live and grow and

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Mr. Rogers and Mission

By Derek Tronsgard

Earlier this week the city of Boston was rocked by bombs and tragedy.  And ever since Monday, the 24-hour news cycle, the internet, TV, radio, and other media have been covering the fallout non-stop. 

And in the midst of all of the coverage and saturation of this event, one sentiment has gone viral.  I've seen it all over Twitter, my Facebook feed, on aggregator sites like Reddit, and even in everyday conversations with people.

This sentiment originated (as far

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Resources on Reclaiming the Servant's Heart for Mission

Want to dig deeper in the First Third conversation on mission?

Here are two books on mission experiences:

 

Mission Trips that Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World by Don C. Richter, Upper Room Books, 2008.

Missions Trips That Matter offers ways for leaders of short-term mission trips and service projects (sometimes called "servant trips") to mine the meaning of mission-trip experience. This approach will help groups refelct on life together as they prepare for, engage in, and

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The Changing Frontiers of Urban Mission: Beyond The Great White Hope

by Daniel White Hodge, PhD, Assistant professor of youth ministry & director of The Center For Youth Ministry Studies, North Park University, Chicago, Ill

The ministry flaunted itself as a “community leader”; an organization that was “for youth in the city” and “creating relationships across cultures.” The ministry had been in the city for a decade, had city wide support and a major funder who requested all its money go to “urban needs.” The youth

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People possibilities

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

What happens on Mission Trips?  

Yes, kids get exposed to parts of the world that they haven't seen or experienced before.  

Yes, students have to come up against tasks that they think they aren't capable of.

Yes, kids learn about things they can do, and get drawn into God's purposes for their lives.

Yes, stopping and doing life for a week in a Christian community is a powerful experience.

Yes,

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Pain is Pain

by Andy Sahl

There’s an often-repeated (and actually true) story at the church I serve about a meeting our mission and outreach team once had with local leaders of a Honduran Community.  The team had just spent the week working on the schoolhouse for the local village and performing some medical services.  Having had a great experience, the team was ready to begin planning their next trip and next project.  In the heads of each of the “type A” mission and outreach

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The Day that Showed Us Not to Doubt

by Brook Hickle

I love my small town. Tucked against the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range in western Washington, Enumclaw is a great place to live – less than an hour from Seattle, beaches, and Mt. Rainier.  The downtown is welcoming and lined with businesses owned by people everyone knows. We’re all neighbors and friends.  Good schools, small family farms, beautiful scenery, and great people.

There are many things that we are not as well. We are not urban, or inner

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Justice in the Burbs

By Adam Butler

Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live, a book written by Will and Lisa Samson, explores what it means to “live justly” in this world no matter where you were born, where you live or how you’ve been raised. The book challenges us to think about how we live a Christian life of justice and the ways in which we can better live into the mission of God from wherever we call home. It presents an important exploration into the life of those who

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Do we have eyes to see?

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

Yes, I’ll serve…but where am I needed? And what is needed?

After listening to numerous people, inside and outside the church, I’m convinced one of the reasons serving collapses into service projects or mission trips is because most of us don’t know enough about the real circumstances of our context. And without an understanding, our vision is limited – and we are blind

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