First Third Conversations

Fostering Faith in a Digital Age - Wrap Up

social mediaA blog post by Terri Elton

Image Credit: Social Media Apps by Jason Howie on Flickr

As we come to the end of our month thinking about this command and wrestling with what this question means for our leadership and ministry, let me pause and reflect on seven learnings.

1. It’s ok to feel incompetent! We live in a time when we are moving off the map, away from the territory many of us knew and into uncharted waters. It’s ok to be disoriented. But it’s not ok to let that

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Young Adult Resources, Installment #1

QuestionA blog post by Terri Elton

Over the next several weeks, we will share with you some resources that might help you understand some aspects of what’s going on in the lives of people in their 20s and 30s. This first installment address these three questions: Who are they? Why is this so important? What is their main “task”?

Who are they?

Demographics are helpful to a point. They do at least two things -- for those who know nothing about a population, they offer some insights, and

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A Night at the Movies

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Any weekend I see a movie is a good one. Dramas, comedies, action-thrillers, musicals, historical pieces…you name it, I love a good movie. My weekdays are full and demanding, so being transported into a story for a few hours on a Friday night, with my husband and a Diet Coke, and I’m good! Sure, sometimes the story is far-fetched and I need to stretch my imagination, other times the story is

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It’s Lent…grab your camera!?

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

Today marks the beginning of Lent. Some church bodies embrace the season of Lent, others not so much. For the ones who do Lent is accompanied with particular practices, special worship experiences, and the Christian’s call for faith to intersect with their daily life. Most often practices take the form of “giving up” or fasting from certain things; worship experiences are usually sober

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Live Human Signposts

By Pastor Nancy Lee Gauche

I heard Krista Tippett’s interview with Vincent Harding the other day. Vincent Harding is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Social Transformation at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Back in 1955, he paid a life-changing visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Vincent Harding says that the phrase "civil rights" never adequately described King's vision or the human transformation that it stirred. By the early 1960s, Vincent Harding and his late wife, Rosemarie,

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Knowing and Living

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

 I must admit, I can live in my head. I love ideas, theories, and understanding why. But sometimes I need to be reminded that knowing about ideas is different than living out ideas. In other words, knowing is one thing, living is another. The two must go together.

Usually daily living is what sets me off exploring new ideas. And more specifically, wrestling with big ideas most often comes from being

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What I learned from Max

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

 We're a week into 2013 and I, like many, use this change in the calendar year as a time to reflect. It can be typical and ordinary in many ways, but I do it faithfully each year. I'm not keen on making resolutions, but know amidst my fast-paced life, I need to stop and create space for discernment.

Discernment for me usually centers around the question, "how am I stewarding my life?", with secondary

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Ministry to Young Adults

By Neil Christianson

David Kinnaman, author of the book unChristian, tells us that we are operating out of an old model that isn’t effective for young adults today. In his new book You Lost Me, he says that close to 60% of young people who went to church in high school drop out after high school. Why? Barna Research gives us six reasons. You can check out the details online HERE, but the six reasons are:

1. The church is overprotective. They have an isolation mentality “us verses

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Youth Ministry and the Rise of the "Nones"

By Derek Tronsgard

Earlier this month the Christian blogosphere exploded when news came from the Pew Research foundation stating that the fastest growing religion in America is, in fact, “no religion”.  This self-identifying group of the “nones” are young (18-29), uninterested in joining a church (even after kids!), and evenly distributed between men & women, economic backgrounds, educational backgrounds, and even -  to some extent -  ethnic backgrounds.

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Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

In light of Nancy's blog post Looking for the "Nones" and the recent Pew study that showed one in five adults have no religious affiliation, you might be wondering why people are leaving the church. 

A five-year project headed by Barna Group president David Kinnaman explores the opportunities and challenges of faith development among teens and young adults within a rapidly shifting culture. 

Overall, the research uncovered six significant themes why nearly three out of every five young

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