Interviews with the Saints

Most in the youth ministry world are aware of both research and anecdotes suggesting millennials are leaving the church.

As a youth worker, this breaks my heart. I wholeheartedly believe you cannot be a solo Christian. The church is vital to our faith, to the formation of meaningful community, and for the betterment of our world. In order for students to learn this, we’ve got to regularly talk with them about why the church matters.

To do this, recently, I canceled our regular weekly youth gathering and instead, sent teens into the homes of the saints of our congregation. In preparation for this, I asked my colleagues for the names of people who they thought would be open to such an experience. I then reached out to these individuals, explained what we were doing and why, and asked if they’d be willing to participate. I made it clear they didn’t need to worry about refreshments (in fact, our students brought them baked goods) or even chairs; That our teens were adaptable and could sit on the floor if need-be. I then worked with my student leaders to write interview questions. Writing interview questions created excitement for these interviews among my student leaders. Their excitement was contagious.

During our hour-long visits with the saints, teens asked them questions about their childhood, marriage, education, work, faith, and involvement in church. Connecting with saints on their turf allowed us to interview people who were no longer able to drive at night. It also increased their comfort level, making it easier for them to share their stories with our teens. As they shared, teens heard stories about how our church has changed from those who’ve been part of it since it’s inception. They also heard about the connection between faith and the church from people far wiser than they.

Read the rest of this article 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

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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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