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What If They Like It Better?

Throughout my youth ministry career, I’ve intentionally taken students to worship in other Christian congregations.

The first time I did this I was working at a multi-ethnic congregation. One spring I canceled our own youth worship service for...

Proud to be a Spiritual Mutt

One of my vivid high school memories is from a conversation I had with the dad of the kids I babysat for.

Somehow, as Mr. Manson drove me home, we began talking about the three key components of my spiritual heritage:

1) I attended a Missouri...

When Ding Dong Ditch is Good

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a parent telling me that her son (a high school freshman) would not be participating in my congregation’s high school youth ministry. This is not the first time I’ve received such a message from a parent. Each...

Hope is a precious commodity

For the past month, my suburban community has been slowly making improvements to our sewer system.

Truthfully, I don't exactly understand the details.

Insituform

What I do understand is that when the Insituform truck arrives outside my house, it's going...

Stuff You Can Use: Les Mis Discussion Part 1

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...

Does doubt foster belief?

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...

Is God green?

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...

I'm Not a Bible Scholar

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,...

Why I submit

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...

The new gender equality

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...

Reaching the Marginalized

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...

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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