Jesus > Holy Spirit

Recently, one of my new adult leaders asked me, “Why don’t we talk about the Holy Spirit more with our high school students? It seems like we’re very focused on Jesus.”

Truthfully, this is a pretty fair assessment of my high school ministry: It is very Jesus-focused. Here’s why:

1. I spent the last year researching what students in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (the denomination in which I currently serve) believe about Jesus. What I learned from this national study was that 56 percent of students surveyed (all of whom were active in local congregations) either did not believe or did not know Jesus was God. Additionally, 58 percent either believed it was possible to be a Christian without believing in Jesus or didn’t know if Jesus was crucial to the Christian faith. This means that many of today’s church kids don’t know or understand why Jesus matters – to their faith or their lives.

2. According to Kenda Creasy Dean in Almost Christian , Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), an “alternative religious vision of divinely underwritten personal happiness and interpersonal niceness,” is quickly replacing our traditional, historical religious traditions. While the guiding beliefs of MTD involve God, Jesus is absent. As a result, Dean suggests “Christian spirituality requires a particular kind of conversation that reinforces the church’s unique understanding of who God is in Jesus Christ. To state it bluntly: Conversational Christianity requires Jesus-talk, not just God-talk.”

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, 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 the forthcoming 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.

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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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