I adored this youth ministry and its curriculum. It was solid theologically, incredibly creative, and designed specifically to...
My youth ministry did the 30 Hour Famine last week. It went well. Very well, in fact. Unfortunately, I felt like my colleagues didn't notice it, let alone affirm my role in it. This was disheartening to me – a fact that I hate.
Yet, what I’m...
It was my due date the first time I was pregnant. Only I never made it that far. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I miscarried and my world shattered.
Even now, nearly four years later, I still grieve that day. More often...
Much to my delight, my daughter, Hope, loves to read. We read in the morning, in the afternoon, and before bed. The other day, we even caught her reading while she was trying to go potty.
This girl likes books – a fact that couldn’t make me...
“Mama, do you need me?” my 2-year old daughter, Hope, cried from the living room.
The truth is, I didn’t.
When Hope cried out to me, I was cooking dinner – making homemade mac & cheese out of squash. I had two boiling pans on the stove and the...
Mission trips to Rwanda have made me interested in east Africa. For that reason, I was excited to read Katie Davis Majors’ Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful.
In Daring to Hope, Katie shares stories from her...
During a recent organizational assessment I did through Arbor Research Group, I asked one of the ministry’s leaders how critical it was for his staff to recruit and equip adult leaders. In response, he said, “When they get their job description,...
Christmas has always stressed me out. That stress has only worsened since I became a mom.
For that reason, I was intrigued by Alexandra Kuykendall’s Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season. In this book, Alexandra sets...
The event’s due date passed and my numbers were bleak.
Worse, I simply hadn’t heard from the majority of people in my youth ministry.
Were they not interested?
Did they have plans?
Had they simply forgotten to turn in the forms?
That night, I...
A few years ago, I participated in one of The Youth Cartel’s Youth Ministry Coaching Programs, which was a great investment in my leadership development. Among other things, I loved getting to rub shoulders with great youth workers and learning...
I have faint memories of reading Corduroy as a child.
So, when someone gave us Corduroy at my daughter’s baby shower, I was delighted, eager to share the adorable bear with the missing button with my daughter.
What I didn’t remember from my...
My student leaders waffled between God the Creator and Jesus the Savior before one eventually suggested, “I...
An increasing body of research suggests that young people are leaving the church. Churchgoers don’t need the research to tell them what they see playing out in their own congregations.
As a person of faith, I care deeply about this phenomenon. As...
On Sunday, I watched one of my former students, Marcy, preach in my congregation – the congregation where she grew up. She stood at the pulpit, full of grace, and gave a beautiful message on Exodus 16:2-15.
Among other things, what...
To do this, I’m intentional about making sure my students open a Bible and dig into Scripture at each gathering we have. I’m also intentional about giving away Bibles.
The last six weeks have been challenging.
The transition at my church continues to be difficult.
My daughter started preschool and while she’s thriving, adapting our schedules has been rough for all of us.
Multiple people in my husband’s family...
What the book's about: A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting by Karla Akins chronicles Karla's journey of raising twin boys with autism.
Why I read this book: As a youth pastor, I work with some teens who...
Being a parent is hard.
So, too, is navigating technology and screen time with young children.
For this reason, I was excited to read Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane's Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World.
Recently, one of the big wigs in my denomination distinguished between “called” staff and “hired” staff. According to him, “called” staff are those who are ordained or rostered by our denomination. An entire congregation then calls them into...
I love to read books that challenge me to think differently about something. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News by Brian Zahnd did just that.
In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd explores...
Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry
Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, 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 the forthcoming 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
Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders
The Real Jesus
The Jesus Gap
What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus
Based on National Research
- 9 questions to ask before a youth pastor audition
- Recognizing Graduates with Prayer Books
- Review: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit by Christopher J. H. Wright
- Review: On Pills and Needles by Rick Van Warner
- Being Above Reproach in a #ChurchToo World
- Playing Church
- Review: Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
- 10 Ways to Respond to a Suicidal Student
- Review: Fire Road by Kim Phuc Phan Thi
- Favored Leaders
- Coming Back to the 30 Hour Famine
- Review: Immeasurable by Skye Jethani
- Stuff You Can Use: A Bullseye Prayer Station
- Seven Ways to Tweak Curriculum
- Review: You Are the Beloved by Henri Nouwen
- Review: Talking with your kids about God by Natasha Crain
- Making Jesus accessible
- Review: Free of Me by Sharon Hodde Miller
- 9 Keys to Choosing Curriculum
- Review: The Shadow by Kimberly Rae