First Third Conversations

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs!

typingA blog post by Terri Elton

Today’s virtual world is filled with more blogs than we have time to read. But blogs are a great resource for leaders in the church. Many people are aware of the blogs from “ministry stars,” and I encourage you to follow those church leaders because they offer a wide picture of the church.

But most of us are not a “ministry star” and will never be one. So often times reading their insights has a dual effect -- both helping us frame ministry and making us feel inadequate. So as we focus on the theme of leadership, we are going to point you to some lesser know ministry leaders who offer their voices of leading from the frontlines of congregations. Enjoy!

Adam Butler is a recent MDiv graduate who just began his first call as a pastor in South Dakota. He offers a reflective perspective on faith and church as an “insider” who has a passion for engaging people not currently connected to a faith community in conversations about faith and God. His writing is both simple and provocative. Check out this one entitled “called”:

Jeni Falkman Grangaard serves as the pastor in a church in rural Minnesota, but that doesn’t limit her view of the world, faith, and the church. Poetic and provocative, Jeni sees things in the world I often miss and offers me a chance to stop and engage the very happenings of our world. You can find her blogs at:

http://jfalkmangrangaard.wordpress.comAnd one in particular I’d like to hold up is “God ran with us”:

Eric Clapp is a husband, pastor, media addict, aspiring author, and theologian. He lives in Clinton, Iowa with his wife, Megan, who is also a pastor. Eric’s been blogging for some time, and one of his recent posts on Miley Cyrus went viral. He’s a good writer and thinker and often is writing about current cultural experiences. Check out this honest reflection on creativity and comparisons:

Bishop Mike Rinehart is not your typical bishop in the ELCA. He regularly tweets about his “life as a bishop” in a part of the world where there are not many Lutherans -- Texas and Louisiana. His website not only includes his blog, but also includes other resources like podcasts. Check it out at: While there are lots of resources on this site, a more practical one is helping congregations prepare for disasters. From the synod where many hurricanes hit, this isn’t a little thing. Check it out:

Aaron Fuller is an adopted Korean kid, turned Minnesota dairy farm kid, turned Naval Officer who worked aboard submarines and with nuclear reactors, now turned Lutheran pastor (ELCA) and Navy Reserve Chaplain. Oh, and he’s a wrestler/wrestling coach as well. His site honors many of the ideas woven into wrestling and integrates them with our life of faith. While I’m not a wrestler, I appreciate Aaron’s view on the church, leadership, young adults, and, of course, wrestling. One of Aaron’s great posts is his sharing about his view of church as seen through the eyes of his ordination. Check it out:

Terri EltonAuthor Bio:
Terri is passionate about young people and their families, and loves the church. No really!  She's our Associate Professor and teaches with an eye toward developing leaders and leading change. She also serves as Director of the Center for First Third Ministry and hopes to help ministry leaders create environments that cultivate a faith that matters. Growing up in southern California, Terri discovered her love for the city, cultural diversity and the beach. You can usually find Terri running or biking the streets of Minneapolis/St. Paul, or wherever she happens to be. When not moving, she's watching a movie with her husband or traveling with her two young adult daughters.

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