First Third Conversations

What Matters? 5 Big Ideas from a Fascinating Decade of Research

This post was originally published on 9/17/2012

By Tim Coltvet, Coordinator of Contextual Learning and Coaching for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary

It’s a great picture that I nabbed off of google images for one of my powerpoint presentations on faith formation.  I love the picture because it captures the whimsical nature of child simply doing their thing…playing with dandelions.   The longer you look at it, however, the more it draws you

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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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Banging Your Head? Here's An Option For Your 2013

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

You've all heard that definition of insanity:  When you keep doing the same thing over and over, and this time expect a different result?  Could it be that we might just be there (insanity) when it comes to our churches and the vehicles we use for the spiritual formation of children and youth?  Sunday School. Confirmation. Youth Group.  

We at the Center for First Third Ministry at

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Developing a Youth-Friendly and Youth-Involving Congregation

Dr. Nancy Going writes about The Faith of Adolescents and how young people must be integrated and central to the life of the congregation.

But how do you DO that?

Assessment

How would you rate your efforts in developing a youth-friendly and youth-involving congregation, building intergenerational connections between youth and the congregation?

Reflection  

  • Reflect on the results of your assessment with the church staff and youth ministry
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The Faith of Adolescents

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

You can't be in youth ministry very long, and not have both experienced and been the beneficiary of this phenomenon: The faith of adolescents. When you see expression that raw, passionate, "deeply connected to Jesus" kind of faith that comes from an amazing collision of the Holy Spirit and the unique playing field that is the phase of life called adolescence, it is nothing short of a gift. Obviously for

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Where have all the mentors gone?

By Derek Tronsgard

Luke Skywalker had Yoda.  Harry Potter had Dumbledore.  Batman had Alfred and Morgan Freeman.

Mentors are important.  And I'm sure all of us can name teachers, coaches, pastors, music directors, and other adults who made a significant impact in our own lives.  Study after study has shown the importance of positive adult mentors in the lives of teens.  As the adolescent brain continues to develop, a mentor relationship has a significant and irreplaceable

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Review of The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry in the Journal of Youth Ministry

Review by Tagg Wolverton, Greater Europe Mission, Netherlands

Excerpt:

In recent years some tough criticisms have been leveled at modern youth ministry. While evaluation and critique are to be expected with youth ministry coming of age as a profession, many of the rest of the concerns can be traced back to the lack of readily identifiable measures of the nuanced process of adolescent discipleship. How can one adequately judge the effectiveness of youth ministry from a perspective that includes spiritual,

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What are you counting?

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

Here at First Third we're taking time once again to celebrate the Exemplary Youth Ministry study. Because we now have our Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry book available as an e-book. But also because we feel compelled to keep the things we learned from this study in front of the church. Welcome to the conversation. 

And as you are starting your program year, I'm sure you are getting (and tempted

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Celebrating Exemplary Youth Ministry

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

Every now and then, one comes across an idea or a piece of work that reorients one’s way of thinking. For us, at Luther's Center for First Third ministry, the EYM study has done just that. Ten years later, the Exemplary Youth Ministry study is STILL a brilliant gift to the church.  It’s a gift in that the study was ecumenical and national. It’s a gift that offers statistics and

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EYM Shifts by John Roberto

The Exemplary Youth Ministry Study results indicate that churches seeking to develop an effective formation focus make three distinctive shifts.

SHIFT I

They emphasize personal and community transformation understanding that, though programs are a necessary dimension of congregational life, they are a means toward an end and not the end itself. Christian formation is about turning believers into disciples of Jesus Christ, so that we are formed in Christ, both personally and as a community.

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