Show them health, not perfection

Recently, my high school teens and I discussed God's gender.

During this discussion, small groups made a list of God's characteristics and classified them as masculine, feminine, or gender neutral. As we did this, my husband and I, who were leading separate small groups, both found ourselves explaining our classifications using examples from our marriage.

Afterward, my husband commented how surprised he was by what teens had noticed about our relationship with one another.

For example, one student commented on my tendency to nag my husband over stuff related to our darling cat.

Now, I like to think that what teens notice about my marriage is how awesome it is; How it's based on mutuality, a relationship in which we both willingly serve one another out of love and respect; How we encourage, challenge, and affirm one another; And how we are the best of friends.

And don't get me wrong. Maybe youth do notice those things.

But during this recent conversation, it became crystal clear to both my husband and I that teens also notice other – much less flattering – things about our marriage as well.

At first, I felt a bit of shame regarding this.

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

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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