Why I Don't Do End-Of-The-Year Parties

In my community, it's officially the end of the year. Schools get out in the next couple of weeks and it seems that between now and then, there's a steady onslaught of end-of-the-year festivities, including parties. In some instances, students have parties in nearly every class to celebrate surviving another school year and to usher in the start of summer vacation.

This mindset often seeps into the church, especially ones like mine, where summer activities are greatly reduced in order to allow leaders to take a break and encourage families to spend time together. Inevitably, at the end of the year, I get asked, “When's the high school ministry's end-of-the-year party?” to which I respond, “There's not.”

At first, people are confused by this. “Don't you want to celebrate the year?” they ask.

Well... Sort of.

I absolutely want to celebrate and name the ways God has been at work among us during the year. But I don't want to celebrate the end of the year and the start of summer vacation. I don't want to promote a graduation-like mentality that subtly suggests that when the weekly program year concludes, teens have graduated from both church and their faith.

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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