My Senior Pastor Came on the Winter Retreat

Winter Retreat One of my favorite ways to end a winter retreat is with worship and communion. To me, there’s something so powerful about sharing the body and blood of Christ with those with whom you’ve spent a transformational weekend.

The problem is, in my...

My New Passport

The other day, my new passport arrived in the mail.

Upon opening the envelope, the first thing I noticed was the absence of my previous passport. I grew immediately irritated as I reflected on the places that passport had taken me – Nicaragua,...

For the days you want to quit

This is for the days you want to quit.

- For the days when you dread checking your e-mail because you know there’s going to be another nastygram from someone you’ve upset.
- For the days when staff transitions leave you feeling unsettled.
- For the...


Believing that who I am and what I have is enough, this year I give myself permission to...

- Be brave in all things
- Try new things
- Dream big
- Daydream, even if it seems like “wasting” time
- Devote time, energy, and even money to things that...


Several years ago, my colleagues and I read and discussed the book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Among other things, this book introduced me to the concept of scarcity and abundance.

With regard to money, I immediately recognized myself in...

Intergenerational Starts With Me

I’m an introvert. I love people, but I hate large groups and I despise small talk.

This means that my least favorite time of Sunday mornings is “coffee hour”. I dread this time so much so that most weeks, I make a mad dash from worship to the...

The Great Christmas Exchange

The days leading up to the holiday season were incredibly difficult for me, as I kept imagining what should have been.

After Thanksgiving, I even told my husband, “Maybe we shouldn't put up a Christmas tree this year.” He quickly nixed that idea,...

2013 In Review

2013 was a hard year for me; So much so that a large part of me just wanted it to be over. 

In contrast with years past, I didn't want to linger there any longer, or to reflect upon it. 

That said, after more than a decade in youth...

My Favorite Books of 2013

Skiier With Bag My husband and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year's skiing in the Canadian Rockies. At one point, as we prepared to ski out of Sunshine Village, my husband joked that my backpack made me look like a skier about to head off into the...

13 in 13

13 In 2013My husband and I were fortunate to have time off during the holidays this year. In addition to connecting with family and friends, traveling, skiing, and relaxing, I enjoyed using some of that time to reflect upon 2013. To that end, today, I'm...

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

Jen's Books

Now Available!

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

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Now Available!

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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