In every youth ministry I've served, I've had students who come from families that struggle financially and, therefore, cannot afford expensive events such as summer mission trips. Although we spend a year fundraising for mission trips and...
Every year, my church holds Youth Sunday. One of the challenges of Youth Sunday is helping both students and parishioners alike to recognize it as worship, not a performance.
To help students understand Youth Sunday as worship, we intentionally...
In his recent thought-provoking post, Andy Blanks raises the question, “Is Athletics Hurting Your Youth Ministry?”
In eleven years of youth ministry, I certainly have experienced the tension between not just sports and youth ministry but other...
One of the things I appreciate about my childhood is that my parents encouraged me to dabble: To try a variety of things in order to discover my interests, passions, and abilities. Throughout grade school and middle school, I dabbled in many...
This week I offer you just one review of Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith.
What the book's about: This book is a retelling of the Christmas story, featuring the wise men as it's central characters.
Why I read this book: Oddly...
On Monday morning, my online world erupted when Efrem Smith, an author, consultant and regional leader for the Evangelical Covenant Church tweeted “Until Youth Worker Journal does more to honor youth ministry experts of color and in the urban...
This week I offer you just one review of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
What the book's about: This book tells the story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young Afghan woman whose life changed overnight after the Taliban seized control...
I confess I have a love / hate relationship with contemporary Christian music.
There have been times when Christian music has truly ministered to me. I remember being at the National Youth Worker's Convention in 2003, just a month after I left my...
Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication by Charles Swindoll
What the book's about: The life of Moses.
Why I read this book: During my youth ministry's recent retreat, I used the life of Moses as the basis for our exploration of self-image. To...
Yesterday, a colleague told me about Snapchat, a photo messaging application that allows the user to take photos, send them to a controlled list of recipients, and set a time limit for how long the photos can be viewed before they vanish from the...
Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith by Jen Hatmaker
What the book's about: Jen's journey from being a pastor's wife immersed in the church world to a woman passionate about social justice and caring for the last,...
In reflecting on the success of the TV show, Friends, it's producers have said, "Our best episodes became the ones with just the six of them in the room.” To the show's producers, the heart of Friends was not it's flash. It wasn't special...
For years, my husband and I have joked he should crash one of the workshops offered for youth worker's wives that are held at various youth ministry conferences we've attended. We've always said this partly in jest, but partly in truth, wishing...
As a young girl, my favorite Christmas presents were always books. I looked forward to Friday nights because it meant I could stay up and read as late as I wanted to.
Not surprisingly, I still love to read today. On my day off, you can usually...
My all-time favorite sitcom is Friends. Though I was a bit late to the party initially, I've now seen every single episode.
Let's be honest: I've seen every episode way more than once. I can recite most of them word for word.
Yet, I return to...
The Christian life demands service. It requires faith to be more than just theological musings that are blogged about or even debated with others. Without action faith is, after all, dead. (James 2:26)
For this reason, throughout my career in...
I participated in mission trips as a kid and then worked for a mission trip organization in college. Both ends of the spectrum had a profound impact on my faith. Neither equipped me to plan a trip from start to finish.
My first year in ministry, I...
What do you want to be when you grow up?
As a kid, it seemed like someone was always asking me this question.
For a long time, my answer was teacher... Until it was architect and then later, writer.
Never once was it engineer, which is what my...
Let's do a quick word association.
If I said the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, what would you say?
Perhaps you would say words like mainline, traditional, denomination, bishops, synods, liturgical, baptism, Paul, or grace. These are...
The idea of Rachel Held Evans' book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, is simple. For a year, Rachel took the Bible literally, focusing on one specific command (targeted at women) each month. It's not an entirely new idea. A.J. Jacobs did it in The...
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
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