What I Wish My Senior Pastor Would Have Done

My first year in ministry, I was 22 years old.

I was young and naïve, incredibly passionate and excited to be in ministry. I was also arrogant, convinced I was God’s gift to the church (or at least to the particular church I was serving in).

Despite my arrogance, my first year in ministry was incredible…Until 11 months in when everything fell apart. Three months later, I left my church, bruised and battered, questioning my call and my place in the church.

At the time, I blamed much of what happened on my senior pastor.

Recently, though, as I purged my office of some decade-old papers, I found a report this senior pastor had written after everything started to disintegrate. I read the report, fully expecting my decade-old rage to return.

It didn’t.

Instead, as I read this report, now as a veteran in youth ministry, I saw this man’s wisdom. Much to my surprise, this revelation saddened me. I realized that had things been different, this was a man from whom I could have learned much. I only wish that had been possible.

- I wish that rather than leave me alone until things started to fall apart, this veteran pastor would have taken the time to intentionally disciple me from day one. I wish he would have spent time investing in me, explaining the major theological tenets of the congregation and facilitating conversations with it’s saints in order to teach me about it’s history and culture.

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.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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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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