A Fierce Love

I'm thrilled to be guest posting at Adela Just's blog today in response to her prompt, "What is the most important thing you want your kids to know about the love of God?”

Recently, a student told me this story:

A Sunday School teacher shows her class a picture of a squirrel and asks “What is this?” A child responds, “Well, it looks like a squirrel but I know the right answer is Jesus. The right answer is always Jesus.”

As a youth worker, I fear this story is all too true. We’ve conditioned our church kids to know the right answer is always Jesus; Even when they cannot actually see Jesus.

In the same way, when we talk of God, we’ve conditioned them to know the right answer is always love.

When I ask church kids, “What’s God like?” most will say, almost reflexively, “He’s loving.”

To some degree, this is good. I want the students with whom I work to know, without a doubt, that God is loving.

However, my fear is that because this is our conditioned response, most kids don’t really understand what this means; Most kids don’t really know how God’s love differs from the love of others. And because they don’t, I worry that our constant association of God with love has actually reduced God into something he is not: A wimp or a doormat who we can trample over.

For this reason, as a youth worker who’s not yet a parent, there are two things I most want my kids – the students with whom I have the privilege of working – to know about the love of God.

Read the rest of this post here. 

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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