First Third Conversations

Open Hands, Open Hearts

open hands A 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

typing A 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!

typing A 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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Play Chess!

ChessA blog post by Nancy Lee Gauche

There are so many fascinating people who have lived and contributed to our lives. Peter Drucker is one of those people in my estimation. Drucker was born in a suburb of Vienna, Austria on November 19, 1909 and died in November of 2005, just shy of his 96 th birthday.  His kindergarten teacher taught “the concept of management,” and his 4th grade religious instructor asked, “What do you want to be remembered for?” His father held gatherings

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Resources for the Journey

Leadership A blog post by Terri Elton

Every ministry leader has their eyes open for resources that will help them lead along the journey. Each week this month First Third will be sharing some of our best “go to” resources. Check them out, and then feel free to suggest your own.

Leadership Network is a great resource for church leadership trying to think beyond the everyday. Leadership Network is trying to learn about ministry from those on the edges -- innovating, experimenting, and reproducing

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Leading at Intersections

Intersection A blog post by Terri Elton

Church buildings are often located at intersections; Main and 8th, County Rd 42 and Highway 35, Elm and University. Sometimes intersections have no significance, but sometimes they physically signify the coming together of different communities. Might physical intersections, like street corners, be a metaphor for leading ministry today?

In these changing time, intersections offer leaders clues about how to navigate the many and varied streams of our time. Think about

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Breaking News...

Twitter A blog post by Terri Elton

...students Tweeting in class at the request of the teacher!

Today might have been a first at Luther Seminary. Instead of discouraging social media in class, Terri Elton and Nancy Lee Gauche encourage d it. Today, as Nancy Lee Gauche lead a discussion with the theme “yourself as leader,” Terri Elton and a few other students posted what they learned, questions, and comments live on Twitter. It was fun, and we even had a few outside voices join in. Here’s

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Transitions...

Autumn Leaves A blog post by Terri Elton

...at the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary.

Many church leaders have experience with ministry transitions, some from years back, and others very recent. Transitions happen for various reasons, some planned and others not so much. Luther Seminary is in the midst of a season of transition. Last year we began thinking about a curriculum redesign, and we ended the year with an interim president, an interim CFO, and a much smaller staff and faculty. Like

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Rally Sunday

Pew Parade A 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

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Leadership Advice Gleaned from a Race

DualthonA blog post by Terri Elton

Sunday I participated in my first race of the year, a duathlon in downtown Minneapolis. It was a hot, humid August morning. As racers made their way to the starting line, the race organizers warned us that they'd be keeping an eye on the weather and if the heat index got too high, they'd call off the race for safety reasons.

Now I was not in my best racing condition and hadn't trained in this extreme heat. So, I had mixed emotions regarding these announcements. But as

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