First Third Conversations

Developing a Youth-Friendly and Youth-Involving Congregation

Dr. Nancy Going writes about The Faith of Adolescents and how young people must be integrated and central to the life of the congregation.

But how do you DO that?

Assessment

How would you rate your efforts in developing a youth-friendly and youth-involving congregation, building intergenerational connections between youth and the congregation?

Reflection  

  • Reflect on the results of your assessment with the church staff and youth ministry
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Integration and Imagination

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

What will future leadership in the church entail? That’s the question our faculty are asking as we think about redesigning theological education. With my colleagues this weekend, we had the chance to name moments where students were living into the kind of leadership we think the church needs in the future. It was a fun conversation and engaged us on several levels. As teachers seeking to prepare

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Time – Do you spend or invest?

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

This past weekend was homecoming at the high school. Daughter #2 was excited about going to the dance, but a few weeks ago discovered her tennis team had an all-day tournament on the same day and, to complicate matters, it was over an hour away. Needless to say, both mom and dad were needed to make the day come together.

This past Monday Daughter #1 called from college. She was getting everything in

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Makin’ a list, checking it twice

By Andy Sahl

Sunday mornings can sometimes be a scramble in our youth ministry.  Our (Episcopal) Parish has a large youth center that gets used for a number of events every weekend.  This means we do a lot of setup on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes that setup can lead to us being distracted from being fully present from our youth and adults because we’re pulling a table out of the closet for donuts or setting up  the projection when we could be chatting with someone.

Inspired

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Creating Space to Share Ideas

By Julie Hagen

I'm so excited about the kind of space FirstThird.org can be. In my first blog here, I thought I’d play everyone’s favorite ice breaker called Two Truths and a Lie. Here we go!

     1. My favorite color is green. 

     2. I've yet to join Pinterest. 

     3. I have a crush on Joe Mauer

Do you have a guess? The lie is......

     2. I’ve yet to join Pinterest. 

In fact, I may be turning

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A Letter to the Church

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

Dear Church,

It’s here. The first day of school, a day that marks the beginning of a new season in my house – the school year. For the next 9 months our life will consist of navigating schedules, deadlines, and demands from outside our family. We will be thoughtful and intentional each day, each week, each month. And we will discover life in places not expected, and live with the consequences

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Experiencing Grace

Rembrandt’s painting “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (c. 1669) is a classic picture of forgiveness and grace.By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary  

"Grace is Experienced, Not Explained"---- Bp.Todd Hunter

People who are leading children's or youth ministry in the church often talk about the program time--Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group--we have with students as a GREAT OPPORTUNITY.  This time of year especially, parents are interested signing up their kids for our programs, and that's why we get excited.  We have this unique opportunity

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Capitalizing on the Ordinary

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

Is this the right time? Are these the right people? Can we agree on the right move? When leading change, it’s easy to get lost in searching for “the right thing” and “the right time” while missing transformational moments. Yes, it’s important for leaders to coordinate efforts and set the stage, but leading change rarely takes place within the confines of a strategic

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Lessons on Adaptive Change

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

Yesterday I spent the day talking about adaptive change with leadership teams from seven congregations. Adaptive change is dealing with situations for which there is no known answer. Technical change, the other type of change, deal with situations which have been encountered before. The two require different things from leadership, have different work, take different amounts of time, and seek different

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Learning from Children

By Ashlea Denton, MA CYF graduate from Luther Seminary

When asked to come up with an example of learning from children, nearly every adult can quickly give a response.  Whether it be from their own child, a distant relation or a chance encounter, adults have been, often unconsciously, learning from children for generations.  Matthew 18:2-5 is often quoted when speaking of the role of children in the church and illustrates the importance of children,

"I'm telling you, once and for all,

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