First Third Conversations

First Third Coaching Cohort

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

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Introducing the First Third Coaching Process for 2013

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

 Change is hard isn't it? 

Many Children, Youth, and Family ministry leaders find themselves thinking and talking about change in the church almost all the time. And even if you have identified and can clearly the see the change that needs to happen in the structures for the formation of faith for children and youth at your church, knowing about the change does not mean you can make that change

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Eli's Transformation

We are getting excited about our upcoming First Third Dialogue titled "Why Can't My Church Be More Like Camp? The Power of Immersion Learning in Faith Formation." We've only got a couple of spots left, so register today!

We wanted to start this conversation because we think there is a lot that churches can learn about faith formation from camps.  We asked Mike King of YouthFront in Kansas City and Paul Hill of current president of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries and

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Why Can't My Church Be More Like Camp?

Have you seen the topic of the 2012 First Third Dialogue? It's "Why Can't Church Be More Like Camp?"

We wanted to start this conversation because we think there is a lot that churches can learn about faith formation from camps.  We asked Mike King of YouthFront in Kansas City and Paul Hill, current president of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries and Executive Director of Vibrant Faith Ministries to be our presenters and tee off the conversion.  

Watch a video with Mike King on the power of immersion

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Consuming Church

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

Last week, Terri Elton and I were at a conference about the future of the church.  It was great conversation, but my brain is still stuck on some of the realities that were laid out about the state of the current church.  One of the ideas that really caught my ear and my heart came from a ministry leader named Mike Breen, who asserts that the three reasons the institutional church is dying in America

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The Future of the Church

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

 Terri Elton and I are attending a conference right now at Group Publishing about the future of the Church. The speakers are giving us lots of insight into what the great decline in church attendance and membership looks like across the spectrum of Christianity and across our country. There were scholars who have said for years, that American Christianity will never go the way of Europe. These scholars

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Looking for the "NONES"

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

Did you see this news in today's USA Today?   I saw a tweet this morning that named the meat of the report: "The fastest growing religion in America is no religion."  

"In the 1960s, two in three Americans called themselves Protestant. Now the Protestant group -- both evangelical and mainline -- has slid deeper in the statistical waters, down to 48%, from 53% in 2007."

Where did they go? Nowhere,

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Tool: Identifying Your Church’s Culture

Nancy's blog The Race discusses the culture of busyness and how the church interacts with that race.

Terri's blog The Shift discusses how major shifts have taken place in culture which are reframing what people think and believe, as well as how they relate and imagine life. These new realities need to be integrated into ministry. 

So how do you investigate your church's culture as it interacts with the wider culture?

Viewing Your Church as an Outsider

Begin by analyzing your church’s

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The Race

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

I just spent the weekend at a big conference of Children's ministers, and I heard the same conversation over and over. "Our parents keep their children so busy."  "We don't know even really know the parents or children in our churches."  And I heard lots of conversation about figuring out new ways to get their attention.  

Much of the American church (big or small) is deep into a race

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The Shift

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

Have you experienced it? There’s a shift underway.

There is a conversation growing in our midst. The conversation began wondering if (what we know as) Sunday School and confirmation ministries were working. This part of the conversation had many dimensions; some focused on curricular and programmatic choices, others centered on learning and teaching styles, and a few offered imaginative ideas for

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