First Third Conversations

New ways of equipping leaders

By Julie Hagen

I’m done with winter, but according to the forecast, it looks like Mother Nature has a different opinion. I may be stuck in the cold for a little bit (or more) longer, but my church calendar is looking like summer! Summer registrations are open and we’re busy finalizing details and looking to the fall. 

Over the past few months, we’ve been blogging about the role of youth minister.  I’d like to add the youth minister as equipper. Ministry with young

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On the day we honor presidents…a word on leadership

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

Each year our country takes a day to “honor” past presidents. Mostly we honor them by getting the day off from school, or work if we are lucky, giving little or no attention to presidents at all. But on this president’s day I got thinking about presidents and leadership. Every four years we, the people, offer our voice regarding who should be the leader of our country. We do this based

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Fill up your cup

By Neil Christians

 I was sitting in our new member class eating, eating lunch and talking to some new families when the question came up.

“So, what do you do for the church?”

“Well, I work with children, youth, young adults and families. Pretty much from birth through 30 years old; the first third of life.”

“What do you do with all the different age groups? What is your primary area of responsibility?”

What is it that we do? How do you explain this

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The Craft Ministry Revolution

By Derek Tronsgard

A funny thing happened this fall.  My wife and I were on our way to the Minnesota Golden Gophers homecoming football game against Purdue.  We had parked our car in the street several blocks away and had to walk right through the main row of fraternity houses to get to the stadium.

As we walked down frat row it was pretty obvious that the college kids were celebrating homecoming weekend with gusto.  It was 10:30 in the morning, but there were young kids out on their

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What are you doing?

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

 Here is how the job that many Youth ministers or pastors find themselves doing asks them to spend their time. Is this true for you?

Events planning (even if the event is a small group system), event recruitment, curriculum assessment, curriculum writing, marketing (finding goals and language to attract people to the programs) and then recruiting other adults as chaperones at the minimum, or ministry partners

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The CYF Minister

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

 Leaders in Children and Youth Ministry have ALWAYS had a unique view of the church.  

Unique, generally because of the type of people that God calls to lead from the second chair.   (An aside:  Have you ever thought about that? You chose not to be the Senior Pastor, why was that?)

And unique, because you see things about the Church and your congregation that no one else can see in quite

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How about a NEW Year?

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

Are you ready for that?   

We at the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary are ready to move beyond helping you talk about what is wrong and how hard ministry is today and why the vehicles aren't working.  We know that attending workshops and gaining important information and perspective about change in the church is often a helpful thing for leaders.  We've done a fair amount

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Twenty Percent

By Andy Sahl

Continuing education types of gatherings must walk a fine line for me.  If the ideas presented are purely practical, I get the sense of “been there, done that, didn’t learn much.”  If the pendulum swings too fart to the theoretical or abstract ideas, I leave feeling like the presenters didn’t really speak to those of us in the trenches. 

At our most recent First Third Dialogue, Why Can’t Church be More Like Camp, our presenters navigated

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Time and Place

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

 This weekend I attended the funeral for the mother of three “former students” of our youth ministry. It was an honor to be there, and it threw me back decades to the times we’d spent traveling on buses, studying Scripture and sharing life together in the various ministry activities. Years have passed, and we’ve all grown up, but seeds of faith were planted back years ago.

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Thinking about change in your first third ministry?

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary

- Are your ministries with young people more interested in program participation or cultivating a faith that matters in everyday life?

- Are you spending more time and energy coordinating events than fostering conversation about faith?

- Are you struggling to get the attention of your youth and their families?

- Is your Youth Ministry helping to foster Maturing Christian Young People?

If you are seeing the

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