First Third Coaching Cohort

Learning Community Calls

- Are your ministries with young people more interested in program participation or cultivating a faith that matters in everyday life?

- Are you spending more time and energy coordinating events than fostering conversation about faith?

- Are you struggling to get the attention of your youth and their families?

Is your Youth Ministry helping to foster Maturing Christian Young People?    

The National Study of Youth and Religion shows that participation in congregational youth programs does not assure long-term congregational participation. It also discovered that students active in youth ministry does not equate to a faith that impacts daily life post-high school. These and other startling recent findings, call into question much of what has been standard youth ministry practice.  The results of the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study, led by Dr. Roland Martinson of Luther Seminary, tell us that the ways Christian young people develop a maturing faith takes place is a much larger picture than the focus of many of our current youth ministry practices:

  • Young people who are integrated into the life of a spiritually alive congregation are more likely to develop a maturing Christian faith.
  • Leadership matters:  The attention of the pastor of a church is the critical for a children, youth and family ministry to thrive.  
  • Parents and other adult relationships critical for developing a maturing faith. 

This calls for real change in many of our systems for ministry with children, youth and families. This level of adaptive change in the life of a congregation also takes time.

That’s why Luther Seminary’s Center for First Third Ministry is launching a yearlong coaching cohort for 2014. 

We help you focus on the entire congregation, not only the youth leaders.

At the heart of Luther Seminary's work with those in the first third of life is helping congregations develop a culture of fostering mature faith. While much of this work engages children and youth ministry leaders directly, without connecting with the entire congregation as a system and households, this work will not have long-term impact. Hence, this coaching process brings both the primary youth ministry leadership into conversation with overall congregational leadership as it thinks about faith formation.

Our primary goal throughout the course of the twelve months is to help you absorb the insights of the EYM study while you learn to read your own ministry context. We offer you tools to facilitate an adaptive leadership process that allows your congregation to create and live out its vision and mission for children, youth, and family ministry. 

  The results we’ve seen in the churches we’ve worked with have been:   

  • They are able to make real strides in empowering parents to nurture their child’s faith development.
  • They involved the entire congregation in ministry with young people.
  • They named and built on the assets for youth ministry that their congregation already had.
  • They moved beyond an events-based ministry to focus on the maturing faith of young people. 
  • And they facilitated change in their church based on Exemplary Youth Ministry insights, which in turn changed their ministry with children, youth and families.

Here’s how the First Third Coaching Cohort can help your congregation

1.  We help you focus on the target.  The target that we’re aiming for is a lasting and sustainable faith.  The way we speak about it is in terms of a “mature or maturing Christian faith in young people.” 

2. As we explore that question FIVE big ideas will surface. They are the result of a decade-plus of solid faith formation research:

a. The power of Congregational/Inter-generational faith life.

b. The power of Parents in faith formation.

c. The power of Mentors in faith formation.

d. The power of Mission and Outreach in faith formation.

e. The power of choosing the right target, Maturing Christian Faith.

3. Assessment.  Each congregation must begin asking questions of how one’s community or “culture” is set up for supporting lifelong faith in young people.  We’ll help you complete a faith assets assessment to:

a. Map assets within your community.

b. With those assets, get a picture of how balanced those assets are across four important areas:  the congregation, leadership, age-specific ministry, and the family.

4. We accompany you to implement action steps that transform your culture into an asset rich environment for young people to grow in faith.

 As a part of the First Third Coaching Cohort, you’ll get access to our Luther faculty and Staff, including  Dr. Terri Elton, Rev. Tim Coltvet and Rev. Nancy Lee Gauche. 

We are only accepting 20 congregations for 2014. 

Coaching Cohort Logistics for 2014

  • Cost is $3,800 plus your travel 
  • Includes 2 face-to-face summits, online webinars and meetings
  • Includes individualized consultation providing your congregation with an asset assessment.
  • A minimum of two leaders from a congregation are needed to participate in the Coaching cohort, including senior/solo pastor.
  • January 2014-December 2014

For more information or to apply call 651.523.1621