Everyone faces “giants” in their lives: Fears, issues, and struggles that must be overcome. In their book, Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants, authors Shane Stanford and Brad Martin attempt to use the story of David and Goliath to “arm” us to “...
My students are, in a word, obsessed with the 2012 movie version of Les Miserables. Knowing this, I decided to use Les Mis as the basis for our first, three-week series of the year. This series is written as discussions, designed to be...
I am a musical geek.
Much to my husband's dismay, I listen to soundtracks constantly. Day and night, they're what I blast from Itunes.
Since I first got the soundtrack for The Book of Mormon nearly two years ago, one song has consistently...
This post is part of a synchroblog on Loving Nature: "Is God Green?"
Long before being green was a thing, my family was.
My parents have always driven highly fuel efficient cars. They rarely run their air conditioning. In the winter, their...
My first year in ministry, I was 22 years old.
I was young and naïve, incredibly passionate and excited to be in ministry. I was also arrogant, convinced I was God’s gift to the church (or at least to the particular church I was serving in).
I am unashamedly a fan of Kenda Creasy Dean. Her book, Almost Christian, is one I believe every pastor, youth worker, and parent should read.
As as result, when my colleague and I decided to use a book as the framework for our adult...
Recently, as I was reading through Scripture as part of Margaret Feinberg's 40 Day Wonderstruck by Scripture challenge, I was struck by the Message's paraphrase of 2 Kings 17:32-33, “They honored and worshiped God, but not exclusively… They...
More often than not, my attempts to recruit adult leaders are met with the recruit saying something like, “You know I’m not a Bible scholar, right?”
So often, I just want to respond, “You know I’m not looking for a Bible scholar, right?” Usually,...
What the book's about: The subtitle of Help! I'm a Student Leader accurately describes what this book is about - Practical ideas and guidance on leadership. It is written specifically for youth serving as leaders in a church context.
As an only child, my parents instilled in me the belief that I could do and be anything I wanted. An education at an all-girls Catholic high school reinforced this.
Rather than bemoan my gender, I was taught to embrace it; To not fear...
One of the best things my congregation does to help transition junior high students into our high school ministry is a tradition I inherited: The confirmation home visit.
Each fall, our associate pastor (who runs confirmation) visits all the 7th...
On the way to our summer mission trip in Red Lake Indian Reservation, an ELCA church graciously allowed us to spend the night in their facility. The next morning, we worshiped with them.
Later, many of my students commented on how the church we...
Recently, I met with a potential adult leader. I shared my heart with him, interviewed him, and then asked if he had any questions for me
He proceeded to tell me about how his son, who’s now in his 20s, was never involved in our church’s youth...
What the book's about: Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming chronicles the author's encounter with Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son and the exploration of Luke's parable prompted by it.
One of the steps in my adult leader recruitment process is an interview. Interviews provide me with an invaluable opportunity to get to know a potential adult leader (and for him to get to know me.)
In addition to basic "getting to know you...
As I've been reading the Bible in Margaret Feinberg's 40 Day Bible Reading Challenge, I've been struck by the physicality of our faith. Our Christian faith is one that's very much attached to people and places. It is physical, tangible, and real....
This week marks the slow trickle of kids returning to school in my community.
The return to school also means that the start of my fall youth ministry program is imminent. Needless to say, it's a stressful time of year, especially for a Type-A...
Like so many church kids, I associate the word light with songs.
First, it was “This Little Light of Mine”. Thanks to this song, even as a young child I knew I was supposed to let my light shine rather than hide it under a bushel or let Satan...
Millennials love social justice.
Give today's high school students an opportunity to serve, and most will take it. They'll readily fork over their money in support of companies, such as Toms, that benefit others. They'll also wield a hammer, make...
More than anything else, The Ragamuffin Gospel is a treatise on grace...
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