First Third Conversations

How about a NEW Year?

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

Are you ready for that?   

We at the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary are ready to move beyond helping you talk about what is wrong and how hard ministry is today and why the vehicles aren't working.  We know that attending workshops and gaining important information and perspective about change in the church is often a helpful thing for leaders.  We've done a fair amount

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Moments beyond words

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

Where were you when you heard the news on Friday? I was in California visiting my brother, sister-in-law and niece. The morning news had just ended and it was time to bring my niece to preschool. I sat with my high school daughter and we watched, and listened as the bad news poured in. After awhile we knew we had to turn it off. But turning it off didn't take away the hollow feeling or the deep sadness.

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Twenty Percent

By Andy Sahl

Continuing education types of gatherings must walk a fine line for me.  If the ideas presented are purely practical, I get the sense of “been there, done that, didn’t learn much.”  If the pendulum swings too fart to the theoretical or abstract ideas, I leave feeling like the presenters didn’t really speak to those of us in the trenches. 

At our most recent First Third Dialogue, Why Can’t Church be More Like Camp, our presenters navigated

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Communities of Practice

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

I love change. Most people don't, but I do. Get this, I even love to move. The actual physical process of moving itself. I know, pretty crazy, right? Of course, I get overwhelmed at some point too, but I love the pure change of picking up myself and my stuff and bringing it to a new place and new circumstances.

And yet, I also hear so many of my ministry friends deeply struggling with change. Whether we like

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Presently Separate & Separately Present

By Derek Tronsgard

Last Christmas my wife's sister joined us while we opened our presents.  A few weeks ago I did pre-marriage counseling for some friends.  Yesterday I showed a friend a picture of my dog.

Pretty unremarkable...

...except when you consider the fact that I live in Minnesota.  My sister-in-law lives in Denver and was at the dinner table via Skype. The engaged couple lives in North Dakota and were talking to me face-to-face on their iPhones.  And my friend

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Waiting

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

 I have a confession to make - I’m not much for waiting. Most of my days are filled with things to do and people to see, moving from one thing to another. Truth be told, I even try to choose the quickest line at the grocery store. I don’t like waiting, and I’m not very good at it. But when it comes to the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my attitude changes and

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Why Can't My Church Be More Like Camp?

See this video of Dr. Nancy Going discussing what congregations can learn from camps.

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Awe

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

I just had dinner with friends last week.  I hadn't seen them in a couple of years. Most importantly, I hadn't seen their son who happens to be developmentally disabled.  And when I had seen him last, I had never spent a lot of time with him.  It was just a very occasional dinner at their house over the course of a couple of years.  There is so much that limits this wonderful son, much that

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Time and Place

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

 This weekend I attended the funeral for the mother of three “former students” of our youth ministry. It was an honor to be there, and it threw me back decades to the times we’d spent traveling on buses, studying Scripture and sharing life together in the various ministry activities. Years have passed, and we’ve all grown up, but seeds of faith were planted back years ago.

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Holy Spacers vs. Holy Embracers

By Derek Tronsgard

 Earlier this week Mike King led a First Third Dialogue session talking about the power of space in our ministry and it got me thinking.

About a year ago a woman in my congregation cornered me on Sunday morning. 

“We need to talk,” she said.

Crap, I thought.

She went on to share her frustrations about my Confirmation kids' presence in Sunday morning worship.  The kids' behavior was just fine, she explained.  They were participating fully in the

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