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How to brainstorm with teens

Over the Christmas holiday, I've got an entire day blocked out in my schedule in order to figure out our ministry's spring calendar. The dates of our major events (like retreats) were announced months ago, but things like trip meetings and events...

Review: Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt

Packing Light

As someone who both loves to travel and to write, I was excited to read Allison Vesterfelt's Packing Light: Thoughts on living life with less baggage.

Despite taking me a while to get into, I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book. In it,...

The 1st question you should ask in small groups

On Sunday mornings, we utilize small group discussions as part of our large group teaching in our high school ministry.

Currently, we're in the midst of a series called “Jesus' Family Tree”. It's our way of talking about the characters in the...

4 Reasons to Take Sunday Off

In a recent meeting, my senior pastor reminded our staff that the church is supposed to be countercultural. One way we can be countercultural is by helping people slow down and linger.

One way to do that, in turn, especially in a youth ministry...

Why'd you stay?

I've been in ministry at my church for seven years.

One thing I love about having been in the same context for a while is that alumni from my ministry are starting to serve with me as adult leaders.

One of those leaders was a senior my first year...

The way confirmation should be

Confirmation 2014

As is the case every year in my congregation, Confirmation Sunday was also Reformation Sunday (the day we remember and honor Martin Luther and the beginning of the Protestant reformation). To commemorate this special occasion, Reformation Sunday...

Which is better: Breadth or Depth?

Breadth Depth1

This fall in my youth ministry, we did a series on the attributes of God based on words that teens use to describe God that may or may not actually be accurate.

The last week of this series we discussed how, if at all, God resembles a genie....

Parents: Partners or Enemies?

The phone rang.

Upon seeing it was the parent of one of my teens, I immediately took a mental inventory of what I might have done to anger or upset this mom.

You see, my experience has taught me that when a parent calls, I've almost always done...

The not so amazing "Amazing Grace"

Amazing Grace

Last night, my husband and I saw the new musical, Amazing Grace, in it's pre-Broadway Chicago run. As you might guess from the show's title, it's a musical about John Newton, the man who wrote the beloved hymn, Amazing Grace, after turning from a...

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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What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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