First Third Conversations

Ready for an Adventure: Leading Youth Trips

A blog post by Tashina Good 

Image Credit: Tashina Good

Who doesn’t love the idea of going on a summer youth group trip? You get to hang out with youth, have an amazing faith experience, and fun is bound to happen. Planning for a trip and being “in charge” as you go on one is a completely different story than being a participant.

Almost three years ago, I was tasked for the first time with leading a mission trip. I had already worked with the youth for about a year and had

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Comfort in the Reality of Life

A blog post by Sara Quarberg

Image Credit: "Peace I Give to You..." by Sharon on Flickr

Almost two years ago, I met the love of my life. Before meeting Joe, I truly didn’t know what true love was. I now know that it’s a profoundly beautiful thing that can only be experienced with the right person.

So, naturally, what society and my childhood of watching Disney movies tells me is that when I meet my prince charming, birds will sing, life will fall into place, and we’ll live happily

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What Matters? 5 Big Ideas from a Fascinating Decade of Research

This post was originally published on 9/17/2012

By Tim Coltvet, Coordinator of Contextual Learning and Coaching for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary

It’s a great picture that I nabbed off of google images for one of my powerpoint presentations on faith formation.  I love the picture because it captures the whimsical nature of child simply doing their thing…playing with dandelions.   The longer you look at it, however, the more it draws you

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Ministry Starts by "being with"

Summer StaffA blog post by Luke Halverson

What is one thing I have noticed about young adults?

Early on in the book of Job, Satan is granted power over Job’s life. From Job losing his children to having sores inflicted all over his body, Job endured enormous amounts of pain and loss. When Job’s friends heard of his pain, they sought to comfort him, but when they saw Job, they just sat with him for seven days and seven nights without speaking a word to him. They didn’t offer a ten step -- or

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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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Leadership Resources

A blog post by Terri Elton

Here is another installation of leadership resources. This time we go to the “non-ministry” world and see what insights they can give us on leadership. Watch, read, reflect, and enjoy.

Harvard Business Review

Anything with Harvard in its name in it probably means high quality, and this certainly is true with regard to the Harvard Business School. The Harvard Business Review highlights key ideas and research in the area of leadership. Most of their work does

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Leading toward the Unexpected

Holy SpiritA blog post by Eric D. Barreto 

Perhaps the one constant in the Bible is surprise. When we least expect it, God shows up with a gift of grace. When we least expect it, someone receives the call to lead a people. When we least expect it, God changes our world.

This theme of surprise is particularly true when it comes to leadership. The unexpected, the seemingly unqualified, the irretrievably flawed often become the heroines and heroes of faith precisely because they follow God’s lead.

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Open Hands, Open Hearts

open handsA blog post by Terri Elton

Yesterday, I was a guest preacher in a congregation that I had never been to before. I entered as I do many congregations -- a friendly stranger -- but left with more than I had anticipated. I left with a deep sense of connection to God and insight into what it means to be the body of Christ.

On all accounts, this congregation was welcoming. Several people came to me and introduced themselves as I entered. Many talked with me afterwards, sharing a bit about their lives

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Blogs, blogs, blogs! Part II

typingA blog post by Terri Elton

As a continuation of yesterday's post, here are some additional blogs to check out from our ministry leaders who offer their voices of leading from the frontlines of congregations. Enjoy! 

Adam Copeland is a Presbyterian pastor who currently serves on the religion faculty at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. But don’t let either of those things confine your view of Adam. Adam offers a refreshing voice as he shares his thoughtful and critical perspective about

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Blogs, Blogs, Blogs!

typingA blog post by Terri Elton

Today’s virtual world is filled with more blogs than we have time to read. But blogs are a great resource for leaders in the church. Many people are aware of the blogs from “ministry stars,” and I encourage you to follow those church leaders because they offer a wide picture of the church.

But most of us are not a “ministry star” and will never be one. So often times reading their insights has a dual effect -- both helping us frame ministry

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