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New Stories to Tell

Recently, I heard a well-known Christian speaker give a sermon called, “What happens when the dream dies?”

The funny thing is I heard this speaker give the exact same sermon five years ago.

At that time, I remember sitting in the convention...

The church isn't doomed

A quick search on Amazon using the words, “leaving church” reveals dozens of ominous sounding titles:

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church
Essential Church?: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts
Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young...

God on Campus?

“State colleges corrupt people's morals and weaken Christians' faith.”

Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not sure I've ever actually heard someone utter these exact words, I suspect that this is the underlying belief that drives...

Missions: Forming Your Team

A few years ago, I met Steve, a high school kid and professed atheist. He and I spent a week together on a mission trip, visiting old people and leading a Vacation Bible School for kids. Without meaning to, in the midst of serving, Steve...

Worship is Not a Spectator Sport

This Christmas Season, the Christmas story characters that have most captivated me have been the shepherds – the riffraff to whom the angels first announced the birth of Jesus in Luke 2. As part of their announcement to the shepherds, the angels...

$3 an hour

A few weeks ago, my high school ministry hosted a Parent's Night Out at our church in order to raise money for our summer trip to my denomination's youth gathering. Over the course of 3.5 hours, 17 high school students and four adults watched nine...

Safety on Mission: Addressing Parents' Concerns

"What kind of irresponsible parent would send his or her child to Africa on a mission trip?"

This was the question that echoed in my head this past fall as I lead my ministry's informational meeting about our summer mission trip, a meeting during...

Which Organization?

This time of year, my work mailbox gets clogged with one thing: advertisements from mission trip organizations, all promising a "life-changing experience" for my kids. With so many organizations out there, how can you sift through all the...

Divided and United

Over the last week, several friends have sent me a link to this article from The Christian Post. Among other things, this article declares that youth ministry is a 50 year experiment that has failed and as such, suggests that youth ministries...

Why Should Youth Do Short-Term Missions?

Three years ago, as I interviewed for a new youth ministry position, regardless of the size or type of church I was interviewing at, I always knew one question would be the same: “How important do you think short-term mission trips are for...

Cliff Jumping

I’m a big fan of the TV series, “The West Wing.” In fact, I own the whole series and watch it far more than I’d like to admit. In one of my favorite episodes, President Bartlett asks CJ Cregg to “jump off a cliff with him” and replace...

3 Story

Last spring, I used Youth Specialties “3 Story” Curriculum with my youth ministry, largely because I was required to do so for a graduate course I was taking.

The subtitle of this curriculum is “Preparing for a lifestyle of evangelism” and for...

What the Church Can Learn from Disney

I’m often amazed at the way some Christians seem to despise all things Disney.

A few years ago, during a workout at Curves, I heard two moms discussing how Christians needed to boycott Disney because of its routine use of pagan and magical...

Simple Service

For three years, I’ve ignored the pleas of my students to serve at Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children in body and spirit by hand-packing meals specifically formulated for malnourished...

I Have a Dream

Two weeks ago, I met with one of the girls I mentor, who I’ll call Brooklyn. During our meeting, she expressed frustration to me over the fact that as a teenager, she believes she has no power; That there is nothing she can do to fix the...

Attempt Two

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been reminded over the last several weeks that moving is one of the most stressful things in life. Evidently, on the stress scale, it falls just behind death and divorce. Or at least...

A Seat at the Grown-Up's Table

My church’s annual meeting was two weeks ago. At this meeting, members of our church came together to learn about our church community, pass our church’s budget, and elect church council members.

Because I believe that my high school...

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). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

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What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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