NBC news has recently been airing a series of reports about the mental health toll of the pandemic on young people. As a youth pastor, I’m well aware of these. I’ve seen the toll this pandemic has taken on the young people in my ministry. I’ve...
It’s school enrollment season and as the parent of a kindergartener, I’ve been thinking about education a lot.
A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast by The Mom Hour in which they reflected on their school priorities. That got me thinking about...
I have fond memories from my childhood of curling up in my mom’s lap, in her big (ugly) green recliner and reading the Berenstain Bears’ books. They were classics that every kid my age loved.
I’ve loved introducing these books to my own girls,...
I’m an introverted youth pastor who has, for years, considered myself to be a pretty good listener. Sadly, I fear that I sometimes listen BETTER to other people’s kids than I do my own. Having recognized this in myself, I was excited to read Becky...
I’ve gotten a few questions about my post, 7 Things That Are Working Well in Virtual Sunday School, that make it clear I need to clarify how we do Virtual Sunday School.
In our context, virtual Sunday School is a LIVE event, held (almost) weekly...
We woke up to about 9 inches of snow on Sunday morning and all I could think was, “I’m so glad Sunday School is virtual this morning!” Had we been in person, we would NOT have had any kids. Instead, we had a lively and robust morning of virtual...
Recently, I’ve seen an increasing number of posts in various children and youth pastor’s forums about how to rebuild an adult leadership team that’s been decimated by the pandemic. It seems that as many people switched to virtual ministry, their...
Two and a half years ago, I transitioned out of a 10-year call that I loved.
The decision to leave was NOT an easy one. It’s one I struggled with a lot… And along the way, I did what I always do: I turned to books for guidance.
I dutifully read...
Like so many others, I watched in horror yesterday as domestic terrorists seized the US Capitol.
I’ve been in the Capitol building.
As a child, I visited it with passes from my Illinois senator. As an adult, I availed myself of my rights and went...
As news of the vaccine began to spread and more and more people began taking it, like so many other youth workers, I began wondering what implications this would have for my summer ministry, which until now, has largely been on hold.
In the doctor’s office, when Hope writhed in pain,
God was with us.
Through Hope’s pediatrician, who called ahead to the ER to pave the way,
God was with us.
In the emergency room, when we waited for answers,
God was with us.
Through the Linus...
I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Kelley Nikondeha speak a couple of times, first at the women’s’ retreat she mentions often in Defiant, and more recently at Evolving Faith. Having heard Kelley in person and experienced first-hand her heart for the...
There are four reasons I loved this book:
1. It rhymes…...
I’m type A.
I have an engineering degree.
I’m also an introvert.
All of these things contribute to the ways in which I overanalyze EVERYTHING. (And I do mean everything!) Why make a decision in 5 minutes when you can take 5 weeks?
My desire to...
I’m a fan of lists. Always have been, always will be.
I even have a Christmas spreadsheet tracking what gifts we’ve purchased, what gifts we still need to buy, etc. In the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, I unhealthily obsess over my list,...
I am extraordinarily thankful for the work I get to do with young people.
Even so, I wholeheartedly believe that the primary spiritual influencer in a young person’s life is their parents. As Kenda Creasy Dean says in Almost Christian, “When it...
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...
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
- Notes from the Pandemic: Pandemic Babies
- 3 educational priorities
- How the Bible Ruined the Berenstain Bears'
- Review: How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk
- 7 reasons to do Virtual Sunday School as a Live Event
- 7 things that are working well in virtual Sunday School
- 4 ways to utilize leaders in virtual ministry
- The story behind CALLED
- On the Capitol Siege, President Trump, and Epiphany
- 5 Realities to Keep in Mind as you Plan for Summer 2021
- God with us
- Review: Defiant by Kelley Nikondeha
- Review: All the Colors of Christmas by Matthew Paul Turner
- Review: Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel
- Receive the gift
- The outsourcing of faith formation
- 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