First Third Conversations

A Night at the Movies

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

Any weekend I see a movie is a good one. Dramas, comedies, action-thrillers, musicals, historical pieces…you name it, I love a good movie. My weekdays are full and demanding, so being transported into a story for a few hours on a Friday night, with my husband and a Diet Coke, and I’m good! Sure, sometimes the story is far-fetched and I need to stretch my imagination, other times the story is

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New ways of equipping leaders

By Julie Hagen

I’m done with winter, but according to the forecast, it looks like Mother Nature has a different opinion. I may be stuck in the cold for a little bit (or more) longer, but my church calendar is looking like summer! Summer registrations are open and we’re busy finalizing details and looking to the fall. 

Over the past few months, we’ve been blogging about the role of youth minister.  I’d like to add the youth minister as equipper. Ministry with young

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The Relationship Broker

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

I saw a job description last week for a Children's Ministry Leader, which listed as "able to write curriculum" at the top of the list of other capabilities this church was looking for. 

Have you noticed how common it is when times get tough, and there are fewer kids showing up, or fewer families committing to the program you are running, or fewer people in the pew on Sunday morning, for leaders to spend

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On the day we honor presidents…a word on leadership

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

Each year our country takes a day to “honor” past presidents. Mostly we honor them by getting the day off from school, or work if we are lucky, giving little or no attention to presidents at all. But on this president’s day I got thinking about presidents and leadership. Every four years we, the people, offer our voice regarding who should be the leader of our country. We do this based

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Fill up your cup

By Neil Christians

 I was sitting in our new member class eating, eating lunch and talking to some new families when the question came up.

“So, what do you do for the church?”

“Well, I work with children, youth, young adults and families. Pretty much from birth through 30 years old; the first third of life.”

“What do you do with all the different age groups? What is your primary area of responsibility?”

What is it that we do? How do you explain this

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It’s Lent…grab your camera!?

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

Today marks the beginning of Lent. Some church bodies embrace the season of Lent, others not so much. For the ones who do Lent is accompanied with particular practices, special worship experiences, and the Christian’s call for faith to intersect with their daily life. Most often practices take the form of “giving up” or fasting from certain things; worship experiences are usually sober

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Live Human Signposts

By Pastor Nancy Lee Gauche

I heard Krista Tippett’s interview with Vincent Harding the other day. Vincent Harding is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Back in 1955, he paid a life-changing visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Vincent Harding says that the phrase "civil rights" never adequately described King's vision or the human transformation that it stirred. By the early 1960s, Vincent Harding and his late wife, Rosemarie,

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The Craft Ministry Revolution

By Derek Tronsgard

A funny thing happened this fall.  My wife and I were on our way to the Minnesota Golden Gophers homecoming football game against Purdue.  We had parked our car in the street several blocks away and had to walk right through the main row of fraternity houses to get to the stadium.

As we walked down frat row it was pretty obvious that the college kids were celebrating homecoming weekend with gusto.  It was 10:30 in the morning, but there were young kids out on their

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What are you doing?

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

 Here is how the job that many Youth ministers or pastors find themselves doing asks them to spend their time. Is this true for you?

Events planning (even if the event is a small group system), event recruitment, curriculum assessment, curriculum writing, marketing (finding goals and language to attract people to the programs) and then recruiting other adults as chaperones at the minimum, or ministry partners

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Knowing and Living

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

 I must admit, I can live in my head. I love ideas, theories, and understanding why. But sometimes I need to be reminded that knowing about ideas is different than living out ideas. In other words, knowing is one thing, living is another. The two must go together.

Usually daily living is what sets me off exploring new ideas. And more specifically, wrestling with big ideas most often comes from being

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