First Third Conversations

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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Setting the Table: Our Calling to Outdoor Ministry

Table A 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

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Summer is Coming!

Summer flower A 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

Phone A 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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And it's a wrap...

Dove A blog post by Terri Elton

Image Credit: Holy Spirit Dove Window by Hickory on Flickr

As we face the new year, the holidays are just about all wrapped up. The Christmas music has lost its luster, the holiday treats are gone (and fresh veggies sound better than ever), and it is almost time to pack up the decorations for another year. It is just about time to call this holiday season a wrap.

But before we do, let's take a look back. How'd it go? Did you get lost in the holidays or were you able

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Get Lost

A blog post by John Potts 

Image Credit: Path by pkdon50 on Flickr

“Get lost,” were the words that my cousin, Ray, would say. I was staying with him and his family. He was a teenager and I was a little kid. The words first hurt. Rejection by someone who you really look up can hurt.

But in the moment, I move on and took permission by his words to explore. To get lost.

So I would start to look around his house for things to do, to see and to discover.

It was never dull to be at

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Getting Lost in the Holidays

A blog post by Rachel Schwenke

Last Sunday, as I was attending to the craziness of Sunday mornings with youth and parents gathered round, I lost track of my 3 year old daughter Lily at church. At first, I just assumed she was playing with the other kids in the lobby or dining hall. Then I broadened the search to include my office, the youth room, and the reception area, where there is candy to tempt her. I hoped she wasn’t playing in the sanctuary and falling into the baptismal (again)! I

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Christmas and December 26th

A blog post by Brigette Weier

At the beginning of December every year, alongside bills, advertisements, endless catalogs, and credit offers, we start to receive Christmas cards from family, friends, and people we can't remember how we know. It's always fun to get anything other than bills, so going to the mailbox takes on the air of a mini retreat in my day. But there is always one piece of mail that comes in the midst of in those cheery -- albeit somewhat self-aggrandizing reminders of how cute

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Finding Advent Rhythms

A blog post by Ben McDonald Coltvet

Image Credit: Advent Terminus - Happy Holiday 5 by Stuart Dootson on Flickr

Free time: It's one thing that easily gets "lost in the holidays" in my household. Time to play, time to be a family, time to be alone, time to sleep.

With all the schedules and commitments that overlap at the end of the year, it's easy to feel like our family's calendar is out of control.

How does this happen? Is it a result of poor planning or too much planning? Both?

One gift that

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A Time to Connect

friends A blog post by Terri Elton

Image Credit: Friends by Rodrigo Suarez on Flickr

Each year as I turn the calendar from November to December my mind creates a list of people I’d love to connect with during the holidays. Some of the connections are givens, like time with my brother and sister-in-law from California. Other connections are not guaranteed, like meeting with my college roommate. The “not guaranteed” connections require intentional effort to happen, and somehow the holiday

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