First Third Conversations

Christian Camping in Light of Emerging Adult Research

cross sunset- A blog post by Jake Sorenson

Christian outdoor ministry is an incredibly understudied field. As scholarly attention increases in the fields of youth ministry and emerging adult ministry, camp is conspicuously absent from nearly every study. Evidence for camp’s effectiveness is left largely to anecdotal accounts that seem convincing to those of us who have had wonderful camp experiences but leave others in doubt. Camp is often viewed as mere fun and games, an experience that at best is theologically

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Emerging Adult Faith Formation and the Camp Experience

Cabin A blog post by Jake Sorenson

In diverse studies on emerging adult religiosity, three essential factors consistently rise to the top as important for lasting faith formation: relationships, internalization of faith, and incorporation of faith into daily living. These factors align remarkably with the “essential trinity” of camping: community living, away from home, and in an outdoor, recreational environment. This alignment demonstrates why Christian summer camps are vibrant expressions

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Young Adult Intro

Young Adults A blog post by Terri Elton

My daughter is almost 21. She can vote and serve in the army, but in the eyes of society she will not be an official adult until her birthday appears on the calendar. Yet her birthday and the ability to drink in a bar are only two markers of her transition into adulthood.

We, her parents, already know she has left adolescence and entered into something new. As the primary decision-maker of her life, we are invited in new and different ways -- to celebrate, discern, and

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Rally Sunday

Pew Parade A blog post by Terri Elton

This weekend I sat behind a grandpa and his preschool granddaughter in worship. It was sweet to watch him guide her and explain the various parts of worship. At one point in worship small group leaders of children, youth, and adult ministry were invited up front, and we prayed for and commissioned them as they, like the grandpa, talk about what it means to be a person of faith today. Sitting with me in my row was a woman, another mom, whom I'd co-led small groups with

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Being Brave: Daring Greatly Part II

brave A blog post by Megan Clapp

Have you heard “Brave” by Sara Bareilles? I’ve been listening to it on repeat all summer. If you haven’t heard it yet, check out the lyrics video below before you keep reading:

http://vevo.ly/2AqimM

Also on my summer agenda has been reading, processing, and living with Brene Brown’s incredible book, Daring Greatly . She writes about vulnerability and how it can transform the way we live, love, parent and lead. She also writes about shame

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Bringing Justice into the Light

Justice into lightA blog post by Jesse Weiss 

Recently, a group of young adults that are serving as camp staff this summer got into a fairly deep conversation about salvation and the question of God’s justice. Their conversation was good, but it was grounded more in cliché answers than in theological understandings. As we further explored the issue of a just God, not only for their own understandings but also for their roles in the lives of our campers, we tried to gain a better understanding of

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Bring it on home

HomeA blog post by Jesse Weiss

Each spring, I conduct about sixty interviews with young adults interested in serving on summer camp staff. Throughout the years, I have encountered many responses to interview questions that have brought me joy, as well as a fair amount of responses that have made me cringe.

For instance, when asking, “What does God’s grace mean to you,” I’ve gotten everything from “it means that I’ve been given a gift of undeserved love through Jesus

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Incorporating Adventure Experiences into Your Ministry

Grand Canyon A blog post by Sarah Bane

I was tired, and it was hot. The top of the canyon could have been Mount Everest for all I cared. The last week had tested my grit, and I was ready to be done. I kept asking myself why the hardest day of hiking had to come when I was so physically and emotionally spent. One of my best friends from high school, Kaitlin, had asked me to join her family on a hiking trip through the Grand Canyon. Our itinerary was to hike from the north rim of the Grand Canyon to the south

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Top Ten Characteristics of a Healthy CYF Ministry

Family Ministry A 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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Faith Five Steps for your family

Hands faith five A 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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