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It's about their friends

On the night of the 2016 election, I sat glued to my television, watching the Presidential returns come in. As the night wore on and Donald Trump’s lead grew, my heart sank.

That’s when my phone began dinging.

I received text after text from the...

Wrestling with privilege

“Being in jail is the best thing that's happened to me this whole game!” cried Ben in anger. For a moment, I thought he was going to flip his Monopoly board over in a fit of rage.

He didn't – even though the game never improved for him.

It...

Where are all the youth?

One of the questions I hear most frequently from the older people in my congregation is, “Where are all the youth?”

I’ll admit this question frustrates me. Underneath it is typically one of two beliefs:

1. There are no youth in our congregation.
2....

Skeletons

Apparently, if you want optimal choices, you have to buy toddler halloween costumes in July. Not knowing this, I went at the end of September and thought I was doing good. Instead, I found only two left in my daughter's size: An adorable dog and a...

Suspend Judgment

At a recent training, I sat at a table full of strangers. Rather quickly, we were asked to share vulnerably. One of the women at our table began, saying, “I have some thoughts, but I don't know if you're going to like them.”

Hoping to reassure...

The park

Today, I'm linking up with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Park.

Five Minute Friday 4 300x300

“Shoes. Door.”

They're typically two of her first words after waking....

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:

Fiction:

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...

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.

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Jen's Books

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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