Archive for 2013

The privilege of being a youth worker

The point at which I realized this school year was going to be a challenging year of ministry came even before it officially began.

It happened last August at a music conference I attended with several of my colleagues. Despite considering myself...

An open letter to high school seniors

Dear Senior -

For four years, you've graced our ministry with your presence. Now as your graduation approaches, I've found my thoughts drifting to you more and more frequently. I've used each thought I've had of you as a call to prayer.

As I've...

Discussing war with teens

In Lent, as we discussed the story of Jesus' arrest, my students were intrigued by Jesus' command to Peter to put away his sword because “all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Immediately, students began asking about...

Why every youth ministry should teach about Hagar


Their stories litter the pages of Scripture, sometimes as main characters in the story of God and sometimes as more peripheral ones. Yet even in churches that affirm women in ministry, too often we overlook these women. We fail to...

The Heartbreak of Miscarriage

I'm 32 and childless.

Though this has not always been the case, right now, that's an incredibly painful thing for me to say.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We got married young and knew we didn't want kids right away. But after...

What to do with your leftover youth group tee's

Dsc 0420

When I started my current youth ministry position nearly five years ago, my office was overflowing with old youth group t-shirts. I inherited hundreds of old shirts from a decade's worth of special events.

I felt as though I couldn't get rid of...

God is still God, even when we grieve

My husband and I were on our way home from a brief trip to a local state park on Monday when we stopped for lunch and heard the news about the bombings at the Boston marathon.

Immediately, my heart sunk. As I watched the images from Boston flit...

20 Tips for Making Rummage Sales Successful

Whenever I mention my youth ministry's rummage sale to people, they usually ask in disbelief, "You're really doing that again?"

To be sure, rummage sales are a ton of work; but as a youth worker, I love how they encourage people to purge in a...

What youth workers can learn from The Book of Mormon

Google the musical, The Book of Mormon, and you'll almost certainly find people using the words “irreverent”, “crass”, and “ridiculously funny” to describe it. It's a show that uses wit and humor to explore faith and in particular, the Mormon...

Job, youth ministry, and me

Following a morning devotional time during a mission trip, one of my students found me and announced with a great deal of frustration and fury, “Job sucks”. After asking this student several questions, I learned she'd chosen to read Job during her...

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

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

Order Now

Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

Order Now

The Real Jesus

Order Now

The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

Order Now




Recent Posts