I am the product of an all-girls Catholic high school.
There are a few times a year when I hit a ministry slump: January / February and then again in August.
In both cases, exhaustion contributes to my slump. I enter January exhausted from the holidays only to then go full-throttle into two of my...
Today, I'm linking up with Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
This week's prompt: Forget.
During this season of motherhood, there is so much I don't ever...
Shortly before our annual winter retreat, a parent asked me, “Do you need any more chaperones for the winter retreat?”
For a second, I honestly didn't know what this parent was talking about.
My youth ministry doesn't have chaperones.
What the book's about: I Am Malala is Malala Yousafzai's account of her life in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, her desire to see ALL people, especially girls, have access to education, and her fight for her own life after being shot by the Taliban...
I'm currently doing some research for Exodus World Service, an organization that mobilizes the Christian community to welcome refugees. As part of this, I was reading some background information on the organization written by one of it's founders,...
His response left me flabbergasted.
There are a lot of topics that could rightfully be...
When I was in grad school, author and professor, Steve Gerali, taught me about how important rites of passage are in the faith formation of young people. Since then, I've been a big fan of including these experiences in my youth ministry. I'm also...
I despise fill-in-the-blanks.
They annoy me.
More importantly, I don't think they're particularly useful.
Needing to complete a bulletin filled with fill-in-the-blanks doesn't make me listen more attentively to the person talking – especially when...
More than once, I've written an e-mail, hit send, and then immediately thought to myself, “What have I just done?”
You see, with the advent of e-mail, it's become far too easy to let people know exactly what we think. After all, the beauty of...
With the blink of an eye, the holidays are over and so is one of the craziest months of my program year! Here's what we've been up to.
What I'm Reading:
I read 8 fiction books during the last two months. My favorites included:
My high school youth ministry is called FLY, which stands for Faith Lutheran Youth. It's a name I inherited and truthfully, it's not one I love... Especially since I'm surrounded by much cooler sounding youth ministries:
A junior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Stephanie Warner is majoring in biology and global health. While in high school, Stephanie was active in her church’s youth ministry and a part of it’s student leadership team. She’s a 30 Hour...
Last night, I mentioned to my husband in passing, "Tomorrow's the first day in weeks I feel like I have some breathing room in my schedule."
For me, January is always a sprint - one of the busiest months of my ministry year. To make matters...
As with retreat booklets, I thought that for something to count as a...
What the book's about: Lauren Winner's Real Sex is a book that talks openly and honestly about sex, confronting the lies both our culture and the church tell about it. It also explores the discipline of chastity.
Why I read this book:...
The first retreat I ever led was about authentic relationships. I spent HOURS prepping every aspect of this retreat – including hours on a retreat booklet for participants. The retreat booklet contained cartoons, quotes, the Bible passages we were...
What the book's about: As it's subtitle suggests, Damaged Goods is about new perspectives on Christian purity. Using her own story as well as stories from interviews she conducted, Dianna explores some of the damage Christian purity...
This weekend is my youth ministry's annual winter retreat. During it, my high school students and I are exploring the book of Revelation.
After learning what our topic is, I've lost track of how many times someone has asked me, rather...
Sarah Bessey is a writer's writer. Her words are beautiful; Her language, poetry. She's someone I read when I need inspiration.
Needless to say, my expectations about her second book, Out of Sorts, were incredibly high, so much so that I...
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
- Will you let your shoes fly in welcome?
- Review: Mere Science and Christian Faith by Greg Cootsona
- Teaching kids to like worship
- When Should You Take an International Mission Trip?
- Picture Rules for Mission Trips
- Review: The Power of Vision by George Barna
- Yay! Jesus Bread!
- Review: Glorious Weakness by Alia Joy
- Why you shouldn't build mission trips around seniors
- Why opening presents is an important part of toddler birthday parties
- Should you confirm in the spring or the fall?
- 6 ways to make a service-oriented mission trip more justice focused
- 5 marks of a justice-focused mission trip
- Review: Parenting Beyond the Rules by Connie Albers
- 4 reasons why rules are important
- Review: The Eternal Current by Aaron Niequist
- To those who think youth group is no longer fun
- Review: Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World by D.A. Carson
- Review: When I Pray For You by Matthew Paul Turner
- In defense of games