First Third Conversations

The Power of Immersion Learning

See this video of Mike King discussing the power of immersion learning at our First Third Dialogue: Why Can't My Church Be More Like Camp? (This post was originally published on 12/19/2012)

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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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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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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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