First Third Conversations

The BIBLE, yes that’s the book for me!

This post was originally published on 11/1/2012

By Julie Hagen

This past Sunday we celebrated the 3rd grade Bible milestone. Children processed into worship and stood in front of the whole congregation before receiving their New Adventure Bible! I was honored to read the names of each child as Bibles were handed to their parents. Remembering the Promises made at Baptism, parents placed Bibles in their child’s hand.  We encouraged them to read their Bibles and learn the stories of God’s

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Setting the Table: Our Calling to Outdoor Ministry

TableA blog post by Alyssa Fitzgerald

Image Credit: Table_HDR2 by Mark Thornhill on Flickr

As the Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3). In this holiday season, I have been blessed with the opportunity to reminisce, remembering those I met at this year’s joint Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA) and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (LOM) Annual Conference as I give thanks to God for the work they do every

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Summer is Coming!

Summer flowerA blog post by Jake Sorenson

Image Credit: Summer Sun Shining Through by Will Montague on Flickr

As a new year dawns, the weather is frigid in the upper Midwest. Schools are cancelled in several states due to extreme cold, and the warnings say things like, “Skin will freeze within 5-10 minutes.” Seriously, my skin is going to freeze?!

The trip to the mailbox reminds me of a Jack London story. Bundling up with five layers complete with ski goggles, I make the 75-foot trek through

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Fostering Faith in a Digital Age - a command and a question

PhoneA blog post by Terri Elton

Image Credit: Social Media Apps by Jason Howie on Flickr

It doesn’t take much to make me feel incompetent when it comes to technology. For example, while my college daughter was home during break, I asked for help fixing something in iTunes. After a sigh, she let me know iTunes was “out” and Spotify was better. Now, I knew about Spotify, but didn’t know how it worked. Forty-five minutes later I was up to speed with a few playlists and friends.

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Halloween Post: Is teaching kids about money too scary? - by Rev. Tim Coltvet

Pumpkin cousins

This article was originally posted on 10/20/2011. If you didn't catch it then, we hope you enjoy its message anew!

Dorothy C. Bass and Craig Dykstra once unpacked the meaning of Christian practices. They write: "By Christian practices we mean things Christian people do together over time to address fundamental human needs in response to and in the light of God's active presence for the life of the world. Thinking of a way of life as made up of a constitutive set of practices breaks a way of life

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Rally Sunday

Pew ParadeA 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 for

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The Child

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

 My niece is a lively, energetic preschooler. She is curious and asks lots of questions. And she has opinions, and isn’t afraid of sharing them. I love my time with her, as I introduce her to new things and she invites me to enjoy life’s ordinary moments.

Last Thursday night in class we wrestled with the question…what is the call of childhood? And what does faith formation entail?

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Attention Parents! We Need You!

By Julie Hagen

This fall my congregation began a new format for our children's church school. We need a significant larger amount of leadership from parents than years past and I've discovered that much of my job is finding ways to communicate the importance of being involved. We need parents to be a part of the ministry that is happening each week.  Nancy Going recently blogged about The Race we, as the church, find ourselves in against all of the other things children have going on in their

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The Race

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

I just spent the weekend at a big conference of Children's ministers, and I heard the same conversation over and over. "Our parents keep their children so busy."  "We don't know even really know the parents or children in our churches."  And I heard lots of conversation about figuring out new ways to get their attention.  

Much of the American church (big or small) is deep into a race

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No Parents/No Ministry

By Neil Christianson

Remember the last baptism you saw? It is a beautiful miracle to see! Through the water and the word, God claims one as his own and we see the transformation right before our eyes. God promises to work in the life of that individual and bring them to eternal life. What a promise! But that’s not all. There is a sacred promise made by the parents that I want you to think about.

In the service, the pastor says, “In Christian love you have presented this child for

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