Following a morning devotional time during a mission trip, one of my students found me and announced with a great deal of frustration and fury, “Job sucks”. After asking this student several questions, I learned she'd chosen to read Job during her...
On Easter, as our opening hymn began, so too did my tears. Fresh tears of grief flowed freely, the result of having endured the most difficult two weeks of my life. Those tears mixed with tears of joy that came from celebrating the risen Christ....
As a child in the 80's and a teenager in the 90's, I somehow missed all the boy band fads. I was never an NKOTB or Backstreet Boys groupie or really, even a fan. To be honest, I don't feel as though my life is lacking because I wasn't.
In his blog post, Give Every Teen a Voice on More than Dodgeball, Chris Wesley said, “I have mixed feelings when it comes to student leadership groups within your student ministry. While it’s important to create leaders, to group them risks...
For the last eight months, I've been immersed in a research project, investigating what high school students in my denomination (ELCA) believe about Jesus. Among other things, I asked hundreds of students, “Why did Jesus die?”
The majority of...
I've done the 30 Hour Famine – an event where students fast for 30 hours in order to "taste" hunger and raise money and awareness to fight world hunger - ten times as a youth worker. Traditionally, it's been one of my favorite events but I've...
This week's review is of Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos.
What the book's about: This book is about the author's search for the "real Jesus". It's a story of rooting out all the imaginary Jesus' surrounding him and discovering the...
Last week's list of “33 Ways You Know You Were a Youth Group Kid” from Buzz Feed generated quite a response in my world.
As someone who was a youth group kid in the 90s, I absolutely relate to many – if not most - of the things on this list. As...
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...
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
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- Review: The Jesus Who Surprises
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- 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
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- 6 ways to make a service-oriented mission trip more justice focused
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- 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