First Third Conversations

Sabbath, push back, and grace


By Andy Sahl

"Andy, I don’t think I want to be an intern anymore."  

I really couldn’t believe my ears.  For years our few spots for high school interns (high school students that help with our middle school program) was a coveted role.  For the last two years we’ve added the number of inters and only allowed them to serve for a semester instead of the whole year.  There is honor and status in being an intern.

The young man asking to be relieved of his intern

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The Reality of Scattering

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

Several weeks ago I wrote about the power of gathering. Gathering is a vibrant part of abundant life, of living a Christian way of life. But there is other side of that coin, the reality of scattering. No matter how rich the gathering, taking leave of one another is a necessary reality.

Yesterday after a great weekend, I lived the scattering side of the coin. I came into the weekend tired and stressed.

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'Sam I Am'

By Julie Hagen

Sam, a shy 1st grader, asked his small group leader if she would call him 'Sam I Am' from now on.  They hadn't seen each other for a few weeks but last Sunday, she remembered and his face lit up when he sat down by their group and heard "Hi Sam I Am."  Every time he was called, his group called him by his new name.  As class ended 'Sam I Am' saw his parents coming to pick him up but before they left the room, he ran back and gave his leader a hug. They both know that

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Who’s Going?

By Neil Christians

I’m sure you may find these text messages familiar.

“Hey Neil, is there still room for me to go on the ski retreat? I know it’s past the deadline but I still want to go.“

“I think I can find a place for you. Let me check the rooming list and space in the vans.”

“Thanks!”

“Looks like we can get you in but you’ll have to room with some underclassmen. You still want to go?

“Yes! Thank you SO much. I’m

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The CYF Minister

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

 Leaders in Children and Youth Ministry have ALWAYS had a unique view of the church.  

Unique, generally because of the type of people that God calls to lead from the second chair.   (An aside:  Have you ever thought about that? You chose not to be the Senior Pastor, why was that?)

And unique, because you see things about the Church and your congregation that no one else can see in quite

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The Power of Gathering

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

We have just ended the season of “gathering” – the six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year when friends, family and co-workers come together over food and conversation to celebrate the holidays.  Some of these gatherings I look forward to, and others I obediently attend for one reason or another. And next year, like this year, these gatherings will happen again because gathering

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What I learned from Max

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

 We're a week into 2013 and I, like many, use this change in the calendar year as a time to reflect. It can be typical and ordinary in many ways, but I do it faithfully each year. I'm not keen on making resolutions, but know amidst my fast-paced life, I need to stop and create space for discernment.

Discernment for me usually centers around the question, "how am I stewarding my life?", with secondary

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Prepare the Table, part 2

By Neil Christians

This is part 2 of this post. See Part 1 here. 

Reflect

We are the ones who hold up a mirror to our students. We need to show them what they cannot see; themselves as a beautiful and wonderful creation in the image of God. Everyone needs to know these three things.

First is that they are okay. Deep within each of us, we feel that we are defective in some way.  We are broken and wonder if God somehow made a mistake in making us. This is never more evident than

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Prepare the Table

By Neil Christians

At the First Third Conference on “Why Can’t Church be more like Camp?” there was a lot of talk about adults needing to prepare the table. This is what happens at camp which most of us don’t do effectively in the church. So in our congregations, we need to prepare the table for students as they come to church and then expect God to work in their lives. We prepare the table for them to have God moments. We must create on environment where they feel comfortable

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Immanuel

By Julie Hagen

Christmas is quickly approaching and the to-do list that might otherwise stress me out, seems somewhat insignificant this year.  Instead of finishing my end of year budget at work and wrapping gifts at home, I’ve been reading stories of children, teachers and administrators whose lives were all cut too short.  Our lives have been rocked by the death of those 20 innocent children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT. 

Earlier this week, Terri wrote a powerful

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