This morning, I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of the Walk to Emmaus, which Luke tells at the end of his Gospel. The line I find most compelling in this story is when two disciples tell Jesus (whom they do not yet recognize) about Jesus'...
Twice, I’ve had the privilege of leading mission trips to Rwanda. On both occasions, well-meaning people commented, “How great that you’re going to save the Rwandans!” or “It’s so awesome that you’re bringing God to Rwanda!”
How disappointed those...
Yesterday, my student leaders and I were talking about a chapter from Bob Goff’s Everybody Always and wrestling with how we can spread hope & courage within our ministry – now, during a time when we’re meeting virtually, in a season when...
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. – 1 Corinthians 12:26
I’ve been thinking about these words of Paul a lot lately, as COVID continues to spread throughout our country...
I’m a fan of Kristen Welch – both her writing and her ministry. My husband gifted me with a subscription to Fair Trade Friday Earrings several years ago and I LOVE it. It’s one of my most favorite gifts EVER. Because of my familiarity with Kristen...
Many congregations, including mine, bless teachers at the start of the school year. This year, we did so during live Zoom worship. Since it worked well and we heard many good things about it, I'm posting it below in case you're looking for...
As a children and youth minister, I’m often sought as the “expert” on parenting. I lead the classes, refer parents to other professionals in times of crisis, and share parenting stories in my sermons. As much as I try to share parenting failures,...
Because we are not gathering in person, we offered this as...
The first author book signing I ever went to was for Ann M. Martin – author of The Babysitters Club. To say I was in love with this series as a kid is an understatement. It fostered my love of reading AND contributed to my desire to become an ...
My congregation held virtual VBS a couple of weeks ago. As I’ve continued to reflect on the experience, I keep returning to these six things I learned from virtual VBS:
1. The problem isn’t Zoom. Four months into this pandemic, you’ve no doubt...
In late April and early May, my VBS leaders and I began wrestling with what to do with VBS this year. We felt skeptical that things would be open enough for us to offer in-person VBS. We felt even more skeptical that people would come if we did...
I was supposed to be on a mission trip last week.
With the exception of the two summers I was on maternity leave, this is the first time since 2003 that I haven’t spent my summers leading mission trips.
Mission trips are – for so many junior...
Over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about Martin Luther King Jr.
As a kid, MLK was the ONE black man I learned about in a positive way. He was the pastor who gave the “I have a dream” speech and who advanced the notion of...
As states reopen, the conversations are raging in youth ministry circles about when and how to “reopen” our youth ministries.
My youth ministry will not be regathering this summer.
I'm using that word, regather, intentionally because even though...
Perhaps in the last few weeks, you’ve seen a meme like this one:
I certainly have.
Between the pandemic, the murder hornets, the killing of another black man, the protests, and the riots, I've heard more people than ever before say something...
Hope is very into party planning right now.
Yesterday, she planned a carnival for our family to participate in, complete with individual tickets for each activity – tickets she spent two hours making.
One of the carnival activities was CHALK,...
This week has broken me.
It’s left me feeling exhausted.
And I’m someone who knows what exhaustion feels like.
I’ve felt the complete and utter exhaustion that defines a first trimester...
As a parent, I, like so many, want to shelter my girls from the horrors of the world. At 10-months old and 5-years-old, they are, after all, still so young.
Yet, the reality is that Hope (the 5-year-old) hears EVERYTHING… And she asks questions...
Although I grew up in the church and was taught that Jesus sacrificed himself for my sins on the cross, I didn't really learn about self-sacrifice until twenty years ago when I was a summer staffer for YouthWorks Missions.
That summer, I was told...
As we stood at my mother-in-law’s casket, my nearly two-year-old nephew chased my four-year-old daughter around the empty funeral home room – something they could do since, thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions, the room was empty except for us.
Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry
Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, 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), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.More about Jen
A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm
Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders
The Real Jesus
The Jesus Gap
What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus
Based on National Research
- The morning after: Why I'm weeping on this post-election day
- Rwanda, missions, & saving our neighborhoods
- What teens need from their youth ministries right now
- Social distancing, masks, & caring for one another
- Review: Made to Move Mountains by Kristen Welch
- Stuff You Can Use: Fall Teacher Blessing via Zoom
- Notes from the pandemic: The difficulty of watching church with kids
- Sending Ritual for College Students
- Seven Things the Church Can Learn from The Babysitters Club
- 6 things I learned from virtual VBS
- 17 Keys to Making Virtual VBS a Success
- Is this the end of short-term missions?
- A sanitized MLK
- 8 reasons why our youth ministry isn't regathering
- Is the church going extinct?
- I hope they'll listen
- Notes from the Pandemic: Exhaustion
- Notes from the Pandemic: Mentioning the Unmentionables
- Notes from the Pandemic: Self-sacrifice
- Life from death