Cultivating journeys of

faith with our youth

 Read More

A digital sabbatical

"2008-04-08 (Methwold Old Vicarage) - 061" by Nick McPhee via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.A blog post by Andy Root

Image credit: "2008-04-08 (Methwold Old Vicarage) - 061" by Nic McPhee on Flickr.

Hello faithful visitors to this First Third site!

You have probably noticed that things have been quiet on this page, as well as on our Twitter and Facebook feeds for the last four weeks or so.  There’s a reason -- things have been very busy for Children, Youth and Family Ministry (CYF) at Luther Seminary.  We’ve moved into some very exciting new places (both figuratively and literally). 

Terri Elton has changed positions and is now the Associate Professor of Leadership at Luther Seminary. While Terri is still incredibly passionate about Children, Youth and Family Ministry, she is also equally passionate about leadership. She has spent the last year redesigning the leadership courses associated with Luther Seminary's new curriculum and will be teaching a number of leadership courses this fall. Terri has also been working as the Lutheran representative on the steering committee for a large Lilly grant housed at Princeton Seminary that is examining confirmation.  The Confirmation Project, as it is called, will be the biggest study ever done in the U.S. on this topic.

We’ve launched a John Templeton Foundation planning grant called Science for Youth Ministry. Just a few weeks ago, we finished some very interesting research that showed that young people see little direct conflict between science and faith. Nevertheless, they feel their churches do see a conflict and refuse to talk about science in church. Stay tuned for more findings in this area.

And we’ve literally moved into a fun new space. Tim Coltvet moved into the Contextual Learning area in Northwestern Hall several months ago. Now, Nancy Lee Gauche and the headquarters of CYF have left the back end of Bockman Hall to relocate in the fish bowl room of Northwestern Hall. We’ve also teamed up with student services to sponsor a really nice student lounge on the first floor of Northwestern -- come check it out when you’re on campus.

Very importantly, we just graduated one of our largest CYF class of students, and with them the old curriculum. We’re excited for our graduates as they continue their important work in a host of interesting ways. And, as we close out one curriculum and move into a new one, we look forward to offering students more flexibility, a wider variety of electives and more options for serving in ministry. As you might imagine, a lot of hard work and creative thinking is going into the creation of our new curriculum.

So, we’ve been busy. That leads me back to this site and what you can expect from it over the next few months. With our many initiatives and transitions, you won’t see much activity on this site, or on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be taking a kind of sabbatical from the digital as we move through this busy time and reorient ourselves in our new curriculum. Luther Seminary’s CYF Ministry will continue to be a strong and vibrant program with a valuable web presence after this digital sabbatical. It will take on some new dimensions and that’s part of what we’re working on this summer. So, stay tuned.

As for other offerings, we’re excited to announce that Dr. Nancy Going, formerly our CYF Director of Distributed Learning, has become the Interim Executive Director of Vibrant Faith Ministries. We have asked Nancy and Tom Schwolert, one of our talented alums and now a trainer, coach and consultant for Vibrant Faith Ministries, to take on the responsibility for providing access to the Exemplary Youth Ministry materials and our cohort coaching process. If you want to learn more about the coaching cohorts program, please contact Tom at

OK -- so now you have a glimpse into some of the things going on in the CYF world. We look forward to starting up our digital conversation with you in the fall. If you have any questions or want to talk, please contact Nancy Lee Gauche at 651-641-3457 or Have a great summer.

Read More