First Third Conversations

Mission Trips – Why spend the money? Why go through the hassle?

By Derek Tronsgard

Last week I was asked “the question.”

You know...The question.   The question that every youth minister and/or pastor is asked whenever they are in the planning stages of a mission trip experience. 

It doesn't matter if you're going to Mexico, New Orleans, Wyoming, or somewhere in-between.  If you are a leader planning a mission trip for youth and you are heading somewhere more than 100 miles from your home-town, someone will ask you the question.

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I am on a Mission

By Paul Bertelson

I am on a mission. My mission is to change the world. Kind of grandiose, I know. I tend to like to think big. So, how exciting it is to have been used by God to create a youth missions organization that has mobilized over half a million teenagers to be change agents?  What is interesting to me is that I married someone who has the same mission. However, my wife has a slightly different approach.

Here is an example. For me, it is a rather common occurrence to drive past a corner

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Youth Mission Trips Matter

By Toby Rowe

In 1986, a 13 year old kid went across the country on a youth mission trip. After 25 years, he can still remember a few things. Like the teary yet proud eyes of an elderly, Navajo woman who received her first concrete floor. And the moment where he walked up to the cross on stage in a moment of surrender to Jesus.

That kid was me, when God used a week of missions to say, “If I can do this much with just a week of your life, imagine what I could do with your whole life.”

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Space for the Spirit

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

I had this amazing ministry experience that I still miss.  For ten years straight, I was able to serve at two or three Group Workcamps every summer. Now I miss it.  And here's why: despite sleeping on a cot in a school classroom with a bunch of people I hadn't met before the week began, it never got old.  Let me repeat that:  It never got old.  That has little to do with me or my adaptability.

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Planting the seeds

By Julie Hagen

I recently taught the Parable of the Fig Tree to my Sunday school children.  I always struggle with this lesson.  I don’t like that we never find out if the fig tree makes it or not.  Don’t you want to know what happens to the Fig tree? Reflecting on our topic of “Reclaiming The Servants Heart” has helped me gain some insight into what I believe the parable is all about.  I hope you have been able to be a part of the Webinars hosted by the

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The Allure of Normal

by Erik C. Leafblad

What’s Normal?

The group from a rural, farming community in Midwestern America descended the steps of their pristine church bus with palpable energy. They were achievers. Their parents were successful, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth people. And they were ready to help.

They had just driven four hours to this storied urban neighborhood, with its diversity amidst Hispanic flare. They had come to my neighborhood. Awaiting their arrival were their hosts, a group of 12 local

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Why serve?

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

Today we leave the celebratory experience of Palm Sunday and head straight into Holy Week. As we continue reflecting on the theme “Reclaiming the Servant’s Heart,” I want to pause a moment and change our focus from the doing aspect of mission and dwell in the why aspect of serving.

The powerful story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is an anchor in the Christian journey from

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What a Psychologist would say happens to young people on a mission trip

By Andy Sahl

“It’s like my first world problems really are first world problems.”  I could hardly believe the words came out of her mouth as we sat in a circle reflecting on our trip to Bolivia this summer.  One of our very high functioning, gifted, intelligent kids reflected that the “joke” she had been repeating for the last year wasn’t really a joke.  Her problems really were first world problems1 (I forgot my cell phone charger, the line at Starbucks

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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 three articles on mission experiences for different audiences:

This paper describes the curricular nature of short-term mission trips as experiential, often sacramental, and as a curriculum of Becoming…The educational hope of

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Mission Trips: Life Transformation or Careless Travel?

The Center for FirstThird Ministry has been proud to host three Webinars this month on "The Servant's Heart."  Last Friday, Mark Jackson led us in a great look at the difference that the process of service learning makes for the heart of those who serve.  Here he shares his reflection on how to transform what keeps many churches from the richness of the gifts of some of our short-term missions. 

 

By Mark J. Jackson

In a quiet rural Mexican village, 40 teenagers spill out

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