I am in countdown mode. I leave for our intergenerational Peacemaking trip on Sunday, a mere three days from now. This will be the first time I've been away from my nearly 13-month old daughter for longer than a few hours since she was born. In...
Part of the “magic” of mission trips and events like the 30 Hour Famine is that they take place outside of the normal context of students’ lives. Often, they take place in a different location, away from teens’ family and friends. In so doing,...
What I'm Reading:
May was even more INSANE than April. Nevertheless, I still read three fiction books.
Best mystery: The Last Mile by David Baldacci.
I also read two non-fiction books during April: Colors of...
In a recent project for Arbor Research Group, a Bible teacher at a Christian school talked about the moment “when the lightbulb goes on” for the kids in his classes. In the weeks since, this phrase has echoed around my head.
As youth workers who...
What the book's about: Colors of Goodbye is a beautiful memoir about the life and death of September Vaudrey's 19-year old daughter, Katie. Using flashbacks as well as Katie's art, it's a story about grieving, choosing life after...
At a recent conference, I attended a workshop where, among other things, the presenter made the case for using gender-neutral pronouns to teach children and youth about God.
This is a debate that rages in a lot of circles. People fear that if we...
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...
Baby girl turns one on Sunday, a milestone which has left me feeling nostalgic. There's so much I want to capture about this first year; things I fear I will forget in a year in which scrapbooking has fallen by the wayside.
During my pregnancy, I...
What the book's about: In many ways, Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark picks up where Addie's first book, When We Were on Fire, leaves off. It addresses the question, "What does faith look like when the fire wanes?" using the...
What I'm Reading:
April was an INSANE month. Nevertheless, I still got some reading in.
Best mystery: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
Perfect beach read: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny...
Like many congregations, mine uses a traditional educational hour or Sunday school format. This means that our junior high and high school students meet separately for 45-minutes each on Sunday mornings.
I love the opportunity this time provides...
In this never-ending election cycle, immigration has been a source of constant debate amongst our candidates. As a long-time refugee champion, I have some definite feelings about refugee policies & quotas. Yet, I'll be the first to admit that...
Recently, a new youth worker told me about how, after taking his first job in youth ministry, he decided the best way to begin his ministry would be to do a series addressing his high school students' questions about their faith. His first week on...
As part of our preparation for our upcoming Peacemaking Trip, we've been wrestling with the story of the Good Samaritan. In it, a lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” In response, Jesus tells a story about a man who gets robbed, stripped, and...
Like most families, mine has been touched by terminal illness. I've lost grandparents and an uncle to cancer; Another grandparent to the horrific Lou Gehrig's disease. During each of their illnesses, I depended on my faith and inevitably...
What I'm Reading:
I read a lot during the month of March, finishing six fiction books.
Best mystery: She's Not There by Joy Fielding. I've been a fan of Joy Fielding for years. This was a well-written, engaging read about a...
I slunk into worship a few minutes late on Sunday, something that is, unfortunately, not unusual for this harried mama youth pastor. I hurriedly slid into a pew in the back of the sanctuary along with my 10-month old daughter.
A few minutes...
What the book's about: Saying Is Believing is a research-based book about the necessity of testimony in adolescent spiritual development. It's also a practical guide for how to invite teens to practice giving testimonies in our ministries. ...
My favorite comedy is Friends, I think because for years, I longed for the kind of close-knit friendships depicted in the show. Thanks to an amazing small group experience a decade ago, I found those kinds of friends – friends that have been with...
For years, one of my high school students wrestled with the story of Jonah.
She knew it well – at least the Sunday school version of it. She'd grown up hearing about how Jonah disobeyed God and got swallowed by a big fish. While inside the fish,...
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
A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm
Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders
The Real Jesus
The Jesus Gap
What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus
Based on National Research
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