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

CabinA 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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Discovering More About Young Adults - Resources Installment #2

faithA blog post by Terri Elton

As we begin to imagine accompanying younger adults in their journey, what are some things to keep in mind?

1. Younger adults are tinkerers. According to Robert Withnow:

“The single work that best describes young adults’ approach to religion and spiritual life -- indeed life -- is tinkering. A tinkerer puts together a like from whatever skills, ideas, and resources that are readily at hand. In a culture like ours, where higher education and professional training

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Young Adult Resources, Installment #1

QuestionA blog post by Terri Elton

Over the next several weeks, we will share with you some resources that might help you understand some aspects of what’s going on in the lives of people in their 20s and 30s. This first installment address these three questions: Who are they? Why is this so important? What is their main “task”?

Who are they?

Demographics are helpful to a point. They do at least two things -- for those who know nothing about a population, they offer some insights, and

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Young Adult Intro

Young AdultsA 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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10 Things I've Learned About Young Adults

WrestlingA blog post by Aaron Fuller

For the past three years, I’ve been coaching wrestling at Augsburg College, a small ELCA college in Minneapolis. This time has given me the gift of hanging out with young adult wrestlers. Because of the nature of the sport and the coach/athlete relationship, I’ve learned some important lessons about young adults and their lives, which I would like to share with you here.

1. Athletes are “typical” young adults. So if you grew up disliking athletes

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How Do We Get Young Adults to Come to Church?

Aaron Fuller - wrestling coach and pastorHere's the next awesome feature in our series of MA thesis posts. This one, by Aaron Fuller asks the question if the problem with twenty-somethings and the church has to do with the structure of leadership.  And yes, that really IS Aaron in the picture. 

How do we get young adults to come to church?  That’s the question that drives most churches these days.  However, they understand that to mean, “what types of ministry will draw them in?”  Those are not

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Ministry to Young Adults

By Neil Christianson

David Kinnaman, author of the book unChristian, tells us that we are operating out of an old model that isn’t effective for young adults today. In his new book You Lost Me, he says that close to 60% of young people who went to church in high school drop out after high school. Why? Barna Research gives us six reasons. You can check out the details online HERE, but the six reasons are:

1. The church is overprotective. They have an isolation mentality “us verses

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Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

In light of Nancy's blog post Looking for the "Nones" and the recent Pew study that showed one in five adults have no religious affiliation, you might be wondering why people are leaving the church. 

A five-year project headed by Barna Group president David Kinnaman explores the opportunities and challenges of faith development among teens and young adults within a rapidly shifting culture. 

Overall, the research uncovered six significant themes why nearly three out of every five young

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Living Your Strengths by Nancy Lee Gauche

"Everyone has a calling. Discovering it is what life is about and that calling does not come from God's voice thundering from above; but it more often comes from whispers deep within you, from the very essence of your being. God expects nothing more from you than to live that life for which you were created!" — (Living Your Strengths)

A strengths-based journey focuses on fulfilling the calling for which you are uniquely equipped. In turn, that contributes to the fulfillment of God's

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