First Third Conversations

Listening to the Ideas of Our Youth

ListeningA blog post by Tim Bowman

As youth ministry people, so much of our time is spent either planning or being active that it is sometimes difficult for us to listen. It is not so much that we do not want to listen, because I genuinely believe that we do, but when there are camps, retreats, VBS, and service projects to prepare for, we simply don't often have the time.

Sure, we might have a one on one meeting with one of our students or a parent, and those are times when we do actively listen; however,

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Top Ten Characteristics of a Healthy CYF Ministry

Family MinistryA blog post by Pastor Nancy Lee Gauche

I read this post on Kenda Creasy Dean’s Blog on April 14, 2011, and it got my juices flowing around this question: "What are the Top 10 Characteristics of a Healthy Youth Ministry?" There are a million lists like this floating around, but my challenge to you is to make your own list related to your present context and culture.

I’m asking myself the same question, but in my present contexts that question expresses itself like this: “What are

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Weddings: Community, Faith, and Pastoral Ministry

Wedding Ceremony 9.18.10A blog post by Adam Butler

I love weddings. I’m partial to my own, but they can’t all be perfect, right? Weddings are awesome, though. You get to watch two people commit to life with one another in the midst of a group of people who love and care about those two lovebirds.

All in one spot, there are little kids running circles around grandpas and grandmas. You’ve got young couples, families, and folks who’ve been at this marriage game a while. Not to be forgotten are those

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Faith Five Steps for your family

Hands faith fiveA blog post by Megan Clapp

I recently moved from Arizona to Iowa. Before we left, my husband and I spent an evening with a family that we had grown to be friends with. We played laser tag, raced go-karts, and finished up the evening with a round of mini-golf. It was our last time all together before we moved. As the moving van pulled up to our apartment and the moment came to say our goodbyes, we all became quiet. We hugged and tried to hold back our tears.

My friend Elizabeth, a spunky eight year

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Leadership and Management in your ministry context

Aaron FullerA blog post by Aaron Fuller

Question for ya: Are you a leader or a manager?

Before you answer, take a minute to hear me out -- while we often will acknowledge that leadership and management are not the same things, if you pick a part your role in ministry, there's a good chance you'll discover some pretty significant contradictions.

Let me put in this disclaimer: leadership and management are linked to some degree. It's not like you're one or the other. But here's what I've found in my relatively

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Experiential Learning: Let's not reinvent the wheel

Sarah BaneA blog post by Sarah Bane

A wise educator once told me, “Learning is the residue that’s left over after the experience is over.” If this is true, then how has our Christian witness invited us to experience and think about the world around us? In the case of Abraham and Sarah, God said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name

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Leadership and Time

Ecclesiastes 3 begins … “For everything there is a season and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Recently I have been reflecting on time and its relationship with leadership. And I am convinced that a key practice of leadership is helping a community identify what time it is and then discover that it means to be “in that time.”

…a time to be born and a time to die. Sometimes it’s clear with something is being born or dying. Marriages are born

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Ordinations keep Seminary in Perspective

Adam Butler and Aaron Fuller

Saturday was a special day for one seminary grad and for the church. You see Saturday the ELCA hosted another ordination, publicly calling another M.Div. graduate into Word and sacrament ministry. He will serve a particular congregation, as he also serves the whole church.

For people who don’t hang out in seminaries, this seems like an odd thing to do on a nice summer Saturday afternoon. But for folks who spend days, weeks and years immersed in seminary life, this event is a reminder

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Closing the Ministry Gap

Josh Feala

Here's another contribution from one of our CYF graduates thesis. This one, by Joshua Feala, addresses the issue of youth ministry and congregational leadership. Enjoy!

Closing The Ministry Gap actually began years ago when I was a youth in the church. I noticed there was this distance between the pastor and my fellow youth. Our interactions were limited mainly to confirmation instruction and the awkward greeting on Sunday morning. As years passed, I noticed the same pattern happening in other

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How Do We Get Young Adults to Come to Church?

Aaron Fuller - wrestling coach and pastorHere's the next awesome feature in our series of MA thesis posts. This one, by Aaron Fuller asks the question if the problem with twenty-somethings and the church has to do with the structure of leadership.  And yes, that really IS Aaron in the picture. 

How do we get young adults to come to church?  That’s the question that drives most churches these days.  However, they understand that to mean, “what types of ministry will draw them in?”  Those are not

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