Today, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 

This week's prompt: Grateful .

Last week, I spent 45 minutes on the phone discussing a research project I'm involved in, something my nerdy self finds incredibly life-giving and rewarding. In the midst of that conversation, my colleague said something along the lines of, “I can't wait to see what God does in your life.”

I hung up the phone overwhelmed with gratitude.

I felt extraordinarily grateful to be involved in something that I love – something that not only breathes life into me, but also that uses every one of the gifts God has given me.

Beyond that, however, I felt extremely grateful for my friend's encouragement and affirmation.

As I reflected on this later, I realized that's an area of my life where I've always been blessed. For as long as I can remember, people have come alongside me, called out the best in me, encouraged me, and challenged me.

In junior high, a pastor thrust me into leadership responsibilities in my church youth group, long before I ever identified myself as a leader.

As a sophomore in high school, an English teacher also called me a leader. She said others listened to and respected me.

In college, a youth pastor affirmed and then mentored me in my call to ministry.

Several years into ministry, an editor took a chance on me and then started throwing writing work my way. He consistently affirmed both my ideas and the quality of my writing.

In grad school, a professor suggested I dream bigger.

In my current call, my mutual minister consistently tells me I give him hope.

My husband continually champions me.

No doubt, I am who I am today because of these people. Yet, as I look at this list, what's interesting to me is that while some of these people know the role they've played in my life, others do not. For them, encouraging others is simply what they do.

And for that, I'm grateful.

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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