Archive for 2014

When the fires rage

I'm currently putting out fires in what feels like every area of ministry.

I'm exhausted and feeling defeated. Yesterday, I awoke and immediately just wanted to go back to bed. I had no desire to work. Lacking motivation, I zoned out to a...

The Biggest Vocation

For years, I’ve watched and enjoyed The Biggest Loser. As a youth worker, I love and appreciate the stories of life change this show tells.

Naturally, this means that last night, I watched The Biggest Loser finale. At one point in the finale, the...

What I Wish I Would Have Done

In Mark Oestreicher's recent post, he wrestles with why so many youth workers are abused by their churches. After suggesting several reasons for this, he then turns the question on it's head and asks, “What if the reason so many youth workers are...

My Senior Pastor Came on the Winter Retreat

Winter Retreat One of my favorite ways to end a winter retreat is with worship and communion. To me, there’s something so powerful about sharing the body and blood of Christ with those with whom you’ve spent a transformational weekend.

The problem is, in my...

My New Passport

The other day, my new passport arrived in the mail.

Upon opening the envelope, the first thing I noticed was the absence of my previous passport. I grew immediately irritated as I reflected on the places that passport had taken me – Nicaragua,...

For the days you want to quit

This is for the days you want to quit.

- For the days when you dread checking your e-mail because you know there’s going to be another nastygram from someone you’ve upset.
- For the days when staff transitions leave you feeling unsettled.
- For the...


Believing that who I am and what I have is enough, this year I give myself permission to...

- Be brave in all things
- Try new things
- Dream big
- Daydream, even if it seems like “wasting” time
- Devote time, energy, and even money to things that...


Several years ago, my colleagues and I read and discussed the book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Among other things, this book introduced me to the concept of scarcity and abundance.

With regard to money, I immediately recognized myself in...

Intergenerational Starts With Me

I’m an introvert. I love people, but I hate large groups and I despise small talk.

This means that my least favorite time of Sunday mornings is “coffee hour”. I dread this time so much so that most weeks, I make a mad dash from worship to the...

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

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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