First Third Conversations

Looking for the "NONES"

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

Did you see this news in today's USA Today?   I saw a tweet this morning that named the meat of the report: "The fastest growing religion in America is no religion."  

"In the 1960s, two in three Americans called themselves Protestant. Now the Protestant group -- both evangelical and mainline -- has slid deeper in the statistical waters, down to 48%, from 53% in 2007."

Where did they go? Nowhere,

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The Shift

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Have you experienced it? There’s a shift underway.

There is a conversation growing in our midst. The conversation began wondering if (what we know as) Sunday School and confirmation ministries were working. This part of the conversation had many dimensions; some focused on curricular and programmatic choices, others centered on learning and teaching styles, and a few offered imaginative ideas for

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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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Resource: Strategies for Family Faith Formation

For the good of families and the whole Christian community, congregations can provide opportunities to equip homes as centers of faith formation at every stage of life. Congregations and youth ministries can make family faith formation a focus of everything they do as a church community, using an array of approaches and strategies to nurture faith at every stage of the family life cycle and in all the diverse forms and structures of the contemporary family. They can educate and

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Experiencing Grace

Rembrandt’s painting “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (c. 1669) is a classic picture of forgiveness and grace.By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary  

"Grace is Experienced, Not Explained"---- Bp.Todd Hunter

People who are leading children's or youth ministry in the church often talk about the program time--Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group--we have with students as a GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  This time of year especially, parents are interested signing up their kids for our programs, and that's why we get excited.  We have this unique opportunity

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What Could Change Look Like for Us?

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

If you've tracked Fuller's Sticky Faith Initiative at all, you would quickly see that the study results call the church to real changes in youth ministry practice. In fact, those changes are remarkably similar to the ones that Luther Seminary's EYM study also encouraged. The bottom line is, many people in the church are talking about how youth ministry needs to change.  And they are all calling

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Resource for Adaptive Changes in Confirmation

As we explore confirmation, here is a resource to move the dialogue into action.

Your ministry is a game worth playing in this life, and we want to help you set yourself up to win. There’s a great deal at stake! The goal-setting process below is to help you take what you’ve learned and design a way to bring it to life in your ministry: create a “winnable game”.

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Looking for Change in all the Right Places

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

 And that would be in people.

  • Not in things running more smoothly.
  • Not in a calendar.
  • Not do they like the curriculum better.

Why not, for one year, focus your goals for ministry on observing Holy Spirit led change in your student's lives and way of engaging with their faith and with the world. What activities with them might bring you to that goal?

Why not engage your volunteers with that

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Back to Confirmation

Bet you've got your head down now!  We know you are working hard on getting all kinds of things ready for "Back to School." 

Including Confirmation. 

At FirstThird.org, we're going to use this month to keep pushing what you might be thinking about how you are going to approach this critical ministry with your youth. It's critical not because of what you do together on any individual Wednesday night (or  whenever you have your time together).  It's critical because

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Resources for Sowing Seeds of Hope through Environmentally Focused Ministry

The Story of Stuff

 

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us to create a more sustainable and just world.

www.storyofstuff.org

Youth Energy

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