“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the...
Archive for 2014
Recently, my congregation participated in a church-wide, intergenerational day of service. As part of this, we launched people into their service experiences straight from worship. People then served in three areas for two hours each before...
Two years ago, during our Youth Room makeover, we set aside an area of the room to use as a dedicated prayer space. To differentiate it as such, students painted several verses about prayer on the wall in that section of the room.
For two years,...
I am not brave.
There have been times (usually when there's a sheer cliff on one side of me) when my husband and I have been backpacking when I've literally been paralyzed by fear, unable to take a step forward.
I'm also extremely risk averse....
Last spring, we saw a preview for Mom's Night Out . The preview had a few funny clips in it, so last night we rented it.
I'll admit, I was also curious as to why K-Love kept promoting this movie. To me, it looked far too mainstream (as in, it...
Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve spent time visiting incoming freshmen and their families in their homes. During these visits, I ask teens to reflect on their experience in our junior high ministry. I also share information about our...
Tomorrow night, my adult leaders for the coming programming year will meet together for the first time.
My leaders won't be the only one's attending this gathering.
Instead, our confirmation (junior high) leaders will join us as well.
Throughout the last week, I've been knee-deep in confirmation home visits. During these, I visit each soon-to-be-confirmed 9th grader in their home.
I used to do these visits myself.
A few years ago, I began bringing one of my student leaders...
This month, I began my 13th year in youth ministry. While I'm fairly good at what I do, I'm a strong believer that leaders are learners. To that end, you can almost always find me with my nose in a book, often one about youth ministry.
We in the church often spend a lot of time debating (or even fighting) one another over a variety of different issues. Among them?
Whether or not short-term mission trips are worth it.
Trust me, I know short-term trips are expensive. I just...
I snapped at my boss yesterday.
I realized it a few hours later and sent him an apology in which I also said, “I’m operating out of a place of depletion and stress right now.”
That’s not an excuse. It’s more a confession of my current reality.
Long before it was cool, I gave to the ALS Association.
Those gifts had nothing to do with dumping ice water over my head... Or failing to do so.
I gave because to me, ALS is personal. It's not just a rare disease. It's the disease my...
What the book's about: Cross-Cultural Connections by Duane Elmer is a book designed to prepare people for cross-cultural experiences, and more specifically, for cross-cultural mission trips. While the book is really oriented to long-term...
The country of Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills.
As it turns out, this nickname is no joke.
I experienced these hills on a recent high school mission trip to Rwanda. While there, we traveled from one side of the country to the...
Eugene Cho is a pastor and founder of One Day's Wages, an organization that he sacrificed a year of his own salary for in order to begin. To say the least, he's an intriguing character in today's evangelical landscape.
The fact that he believes...
I hate international mission trips.
Not all, but some.
More specifically, I hate international mission trips that plop teens down in an exotic location far from home and fail to make the connection between what goes on there and what goes on at...
All around me, students are headed back to school. As school looms before us, so, too, does the start of fall programming. In my context, fall programming for students begins the day after Labor Day. Fall programming for adult leaders begins two...
I just returned from a two-week mission trip to Rwanda with my high school youth ministry. Twice now we've been privileged to partner with International Teams Rwanda for the international leg of our three-year mission trip cycle.
The trip was, in...
Recently, I found myself in a Bible study in which the leader asked, “What is God telling you to do as a result of this passage?”
I had a moment of absolute panic in which I thought, “Nothing. Right this second, I honestly don’t hear God saying...
Elizabeth Esther is a blogger I've followed for years. While I don't always agree with her, I appreciate the way she consistently makes me think.
For that reason, I was excited to read Elizabeth's memoir, Girl at the End of the World: My Escape...
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
- 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
- On dance classes, motivation, & $50 costumes
- What Nancy taught me
- Church homes