First Third Conversations

About Your Pastor by Kristen Baltrum

One of the key ingredients to effective youth ministry is that the ministry is supported by the senior pastor. I have found this to be so true.

I will never forget the time I was sitting in worship listening to my pastor’s sermon. I don’t remember the text he was preaching on, but I do remember that he was preaching about how the home is the primary place of faith nurturing, and how we need to be thinking differently about the role of the congregation in this process.


Read More »
Comments (0)

Name It by Kristen Baltrum

When I first started in professional youth ministry, I simply wanted to create an environment of relationship and “church fun” that mirrored my own experience as a teen. While that worked on some levels, I was pretty sure something else was happening that I could not name -- I had no language for it. After a number of years in the field, I decided I needed “Language Lessons.”

After a few years studying youth and family ministry, continued reflection on the assets of

Read More »
Comments (0)

The Sweet Spot by Tom Schwolert

The term “sweet spot” is often used in sports. It is that place on the face of a golf club that creates the best possible shot or on the baseball bat that sends the ball over the center field fence.

Have you ever thought of having a “sweet spot” in ministry? I can think of a few times when a Bible study just seemed to have all the right ingredients for a unique ministry moment.  I can think of those times when a leadership team of youth just suddenly “clicks”

Read More »
Comments (0)

It's all about YOU! by Nancy Going

While it may sound like the Exemplary Youth Ministry study was just about these 121 congregations who have it all together, that’s far from a complete picture. The EYM study is really all about your church. In the years since the study was completed we’ve discovered that all-important transferability factor.

Churches who take on these Faith Assets and focus their ministry on maturing Christian young people instead of a myriad of other goals, really can and do develop a Spirit-filled

Read More »
Comments (0)

On Maturity by Nancy Lee Gauche

What is maturity anyway?

Take a look again at the characteristics of a spiritually mature youth from the EYM study.

  • Demonstrates a Personal Spirituality
  • Believes God is present in the world
  • Acts out of a commitment of faith
  • Is active with God’s people
  • Possesses a Positive, Hopeful Spirit
  • Lives out a life of service
  • Lives a Christian moral life

I agree that just getting our heads around the notion that Youth Ministry is about maturing Christian young people is challenging. 

Read More »
Comments (0)

What Works by Todd Buegler

I’ve been working in children, youth and family ministry for 23 years, and in that time, there is one thing I have learned:  The longer I do this, the more clueless I am.


When I started out, I was quite certain I knew and understood the whole thing. I knew what to do…I had great advice…I was program-ready at the drop of a hat…I played guitar…

Now? Not so much.

I think this is due to a few different “standard” things:


Read More »
Comments (0)

What if? More from the D6 Conference by Jason Miller

There is a great deal of power in those words, "what if?"

What if children, youth and family ministries were more than a program?

What if they become the basis of a fully integrated mindset for the relationship between the church and the home?

Imagine the possibilities:

  • Parents taking on their God-given roles as the primary faith formers for their children.
  • Families committed to serving their church and the world in the name of Christ.
  • The end of “drop-off” ministry because parents
Read More »
Comments (0)