Notes from the Pandemic: Excitement - A familiar but unexpected emotion

Yesterday, I met (virtually) with my VBS leaders to reimagine this summer’s VBS. When I ended the meeting, I genuinely felt excited.

What’s funny is I almost didn’t recognize that feeling.

It’s been SO long since I’ve felt excited about anything.

Since the Pandemic began six weeks ago and we started doing virtual ministry, I, like so many others, have been operating in survival mode. So much of my time and energy has been consumed with executing ministry. Things that I could do almost effortlessly just weeks ago suddenly began taking ALL of my time and energy to translate into the virtual world. No wonder I was (and still am) exhausted all the time.

Because of my exhaustion, I had no capacity to dream and imagine what could be – two things that I’ve always done, but never realized quite how important they are to my emotional and spiritual well-being. In the absence of time to dream and imagine, I stopped creating, a process that fuels my ministry and breathes life into me.

For the first time, yesterday, during this VBS meeting, we took time to dream and imagine what could be.

Rather than just marching onward, we instead stopped and asked whether virtual VBS was possible and if it was, if it’s worth it. When we decided it was, rather than just try to replicate what we've always done on-line, we instead backed up and explored what’s important to this ministry and how (or if) we can still provide that in the virtual world.

The result is a plan that left us all energized and excited about VBS.

What’s more, I left with my imagination sparked and my creativity renewed. For the first time in six weeks, I began to wonder if maybe this season isn’t merely something we have to survive, but instead, a time in which God is actually moving in incredible, unexpected ways.

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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