First Third Conversations

Running into a Winnable Game

By Pastor Nancy Lee Gauche, Children, Youth and Family Ministry Program Associate at Luther Seminary

There is a remarkable story about a person named Anne Mahlum.  Anne is a runner and she passed by a homeless shelter every morning on her daily run.  She began to develop rapport with the men outside on the corner. What started out as waves and smiles from a distance became more intimate as they developed a comfort level with one another. And one morning a simple idea stopped her in her

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God called you to play a big game: Name it. Design it. Do it!

By Tom Langemo, Coach and HR professional, who coaches leaders and individuals to discover and act on their calling

What is a “winnable game”?

Winnable games are fun and challenging; they hit at the heart of what is important to the player (that’s you). They propel you toward mastery and wisdom. Winnable games are sized just right for you.

Designing a game brings a sense of creativity and openness to an otherwise daunting task of “goal setting” or “visioning”.

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Formation Centered Confirmation

By Rev. Tim Coltvet,Coordinator of Contextual Learning and Coaching for the Children, Youth, and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary

As I step back for a moment, I have to say, “I love confirmation!”  And I’m really excited for the next First Third Dialogue: Monkey Business.   I, perhaps like you, have actually been the envy of many of my evangelical Christian friends as they’ve wondered how we get this captive audience of middle school students to come to

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Full Circle Training Activity

 

 By Tom Schwolert

Influenced by relational faith circles

“To encircle young people with authentic, available, and affirming adults who support them in their faith and life journey.”

The traditional model of youth ministry asserts that if we build a youth group that is big and active, we will profoundly influence the faith of young people. The reality is that most faith-nurture happens outside the church walls in everyday life through the people that encircle and are intentional

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Place Matters: A Reflection on Mike King's Presentation

By Dr. Nancy Going

Place matters.

Mike King looks at both the church and the process of faith formation from a pretty unique perspective.  Longevity.   He has lived in Kansas City his whole life, and served the same parachurch organization—Youthfront for 36 years.  His organization figures that something like 1/4 of the population of the Kansas City area has been through their Youthfront camps. 

 That is impressive in and of itself.  But Mike’s longevity

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Space to be Church: A Reflection on Ryan Bolger's Presentation

Sandy TroyanBy Sandy Troyan, MA Children, Youth and Family senior at Luther Seminary

Conversation on the First Third of Life

The conversation is alive, yet holds two dominate perspectives:

- I am aware that the world around me is different. Things look different. People are different. And the very nature of our wants and needs are much different.

- I am aware of the world around me. This is the way things have always been. The people are like I always remember. And the very nature of my wants and needs

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Missional Church Consultation on the First Third of Life

Dr. Terri Elton discusses the Missional Church and the First Third of Life

How does the church remain faithful, while also being open and imaginative?

The church finds itself at an important crossroads. Aspects of church are being questioned, new challenges are stressing current practices and old answers are not sufficient for current circumstances. In the midst of this reality, however, some believe that the future of the church has great promise.

Those participating in the Missional Church

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EYM Shifts by John Roberto

The Exemplary Youth Ministry Study results indicate that churches seeking to develop an effective formation focus make three distinctive shifts.

SHIFT I

They emphasize personal and community transformation understanding that, though programs are a necessary dimension of congregational life, they are a means toward an end and not the end itself. Christian formation is about turning believers into disciples of Jesus Christ, so that we are formed in Christ, both personally and as a community.

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Leadership Insights: Leading EYM Style by Nancy Lee Gauche

Recently, I was asked, “If you were to go back and do youth ministry again, how would what you know now change what you would do?” I had quite a few things on my list, (hindsight is amazing!) and here are two of them that are directly related to the Exemplary Youth Ministry study results.

So, if I were leading youth ministry again I would…

  • Act theologically before programmatically. I often looked for the next “packaged program” to help me deliver the “message.” 
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Life Teams by Jerry Watts

For years I have struggled to move beyond the “if we build it they will come” programmatic formula for youth ministry.

In my quest for fidelity to the great commission I’ve asked if counting heads in our programs is not bearing fruit (as both my experience and studies like Christian Smith’s Soul Searching tell us)…then what do I aim at to judge the fidelity we seek?

Kneeling in prayer is always the best first step in responding to that question. After I did that,

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