Great youth workers

I recently spoke about The Jesus Gap. Afterward, a youth worker approached me and said, “If you're as into discipleship as you think we ought to be, you're probably not a very good youth worker.”

“Why?” I asked him.

In response, he said, “Because...

How to respond to difficult situations

Recently, a student arrived at our youth ministry's gathering significantly early. So I asked him about his day. Specifically, I asked, What was the worst part of your day?

Immediately, the student responded, “Someone hit me.”

Needless to say, I...

The Key to Asking Vulnerable Questions

We kicked off our fall programming this year by wrestling with the question, “Does God exist?”, a question prompted – at least in part – by the fact that some of our freshmen are adamant about their belief that God does not exist.

Part of the...

Don’t Pigeonhole Students

While on vacation, my extended family and I went boating, something I have fond memories of from childhood vacations.

As is often the case when extended family gathers, as we sat around the beach, people started telling stories. One story was told...

What I'm Into (August / September, 2016 Edition)

What I'm Reading:


The end of summer and the beginning of fall have been CRAZY! Nevertheless, I read 7 fiction books during the last two months.

Best beach read: Truly Madly Guilty by  Liane Moriarty. I don't typically consider...

Duck & Goose Teach the Church about Serving

I stopped at the library yesterday to pick up some books I'd reserved. When I did, the librarian asked me if I'd found “Goose Needs a Hug” yet.

Goose Needs A Hug

When I said it wasn't lost, she responded, “Oh. I just assumed it was since you've had it since July....

Review: Soul Bare edited by Cara Sexton

One of my consistent struggles with Christianity is that it can feel as though there is no place for those who struggle, for those who doubt. So many Christian books are written from this struggle-free perspective.

I remember being acutely aware...

To the couple frustrated by my screaming toddler

Dear Todd and Margo -

I admit, I don't know if these are actually your real names. They're likely not. But when we had the misfortune of meeting you tonight at dinner, you reminded my husband and I an awful lot of Todd and Margo Chester – the...

Where do you start with Jesus?

My research from The Jesus Gap found there’s a gap between what youth workers think churched teens believe about Jesus and what they actually know about him. In response to this data, many youth workers have told me, “I agree there’s a gap. But...

7 ways to make people feel welcome in your ministry

I recently went to a youth ministry event at a local, well-known Christian college. I arrived at the event on-time only to remember too late that youth workers seldom arrive on-time to anything. The school's greeters directed me to the event space...

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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