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The world is changing. 

Stay up to date on the latest research, resources, and reflections exploring how to cultivate Christian faith in the 21st century. 

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Sep. 12, 2012

Review of The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry in the Journal of Youth Ministry

Review by Tagg Wolverton, Greater Europe Mission, Netherlands Excerpt: In recent years some tough criticisms have been leveled at modern youth ministry. While evaluation and critique are to be expected with youth ministry coming of age as a profession, many of the rest of the concerns can be traced back to the lack of readily identifiable measures of the nuanced
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Sep. 11, 2012

What are you counting?

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary   Here at First Third we’re taking time once again to celebrate the Exemplary Youth Ministry study. Because we now have our Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry book available as an e-book. But also because we feel compelled to keep the things we learned from
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Sep. 05, 2012

Celebrating Exemplary Youth Ministry

By Dr. Nancy Going, Director of the CYF Distributed Learning Program at Luther Seminary   Every now and then, one comes across an idea or a piece of work that reorients one’s way of thinking. For us, at Luther’s Center for First Third ministry, the EYM study has done just that. Ten years later, the Exemplary Youth Ministry study is
Jul. 28, 2011

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
Jul. 26, 2011

Coaching Your Pastor by Nancy Going

Exemplary Youth Ministry is really about leadership on multiple levels — your leadership as the youth minister, your adult leaders. One of the key findings of the EYM study is that the pastor is the chief youth minister. A senior pastor who champions and keeps youth ministry central to the congregation’s culture is critical. Now in case you are nodding
Jul. 26, 2011

Dispelling Cultural Myths by Tim Coltvet

In Disconnected: Parenting Teens in a MySpace World, Chap and Dee Clark take on a popular cultural myth that, sadly, most of us in youth ministry buy hook, line, and sinker: simply, that teenage youth do not want to spend time with their parents. We often run into the smokescreen when recruitment for small groups comes around. We think, “I
Jul. 26, 2011

Participatory Faith by Anita Smallin

[first posted in March 2009] Earlier this week, I was reminded of an article I read about the Facebook generation.  In this article Gary Hamel lists 12 ideas that the Facebook generation has toward the world.  (For the full article: http://bit.ly/aXXHxG.) It’s an interesting list to think about when we talk about youth ministry.  As I have been thinking this
Jul. 26, 2011

Life Teams Part II by Jerry Watts

We started our Life Teams by recruiting current & former confirmation, mission trip, and Sunday School teachers to agree to join the Life Team that already exists (i.e., parents,  godparents, grandparents, confirmation mentors, etc.) in a youth’s life as intentional cheerleader in the faith on behalf of the congregation. We centered our ministry around these informal relationships that would begin
Jul. 26, 2011

The Dangers of the EYM: Fad, Fiction, or Future? by Jerry Watts

I was talking to a friend this week who wondered if all the hype about Exemplary Youth Ministry wasn’t just that. He was not discounting all the good stuff we’ve been blogging about but he did wonder if we were just moving on to the next new thing, the latest fad, the buzz in youth ministry these days. He wondered
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Jul. 26, 2011

Life Teams Part IV by Jerry Watts

Moving into a youth ministry marked by mature faith markers is slow work sometimes.  But living in Jesus’ promise in Matthew 28 to be with us always to the end of the age strengthens us for the upward call of discipleship and evangelism that comes with the promise. For me the picture below is one of those God sightings. Sitting