The most important element of a mission trip is not worship, fun or service. Instead, the most important part of a mission trip is processing or debriefing your day with your team in order to help students wrestle with what they see, hear and do....
These days, there are few leadership roles I'm not willing to give students.
This is a significant change from my early days in youth ministry, when there were few leadership roles I was willing to give students. In those days, my student leaders...
For about a year, I've been captivated by an image that for whatever reason, I have not been able to forget.
The image comes from the final day I spent serving at an Easter Seals camp for special needs kids and adults. For three days prior, I...
As the election approaches, I continue to wrestle with what it means to follow Jesus politically. Walk into an evangelical church and many people will suggest this means voting republican. Walk into a mainline church and you'll hear the opposite:...
As I said in this post, I love Jesus and the church.
As a youth worker who loves Jesus and the church, I believe that one of the most important things I can instill in my students is a love for the church. To do this, I encourage my students to...
I am, without a doubt, a church geek.
As a kid, church felt like my second home. As a tween, I remember being upset when I was asked to serve on the worship committee rather than the staff-parish committee. As a college student, I loved to go...
One of my favorite questions to ask people at the end of the school year is, “As you think about this year of ministry, what are you particularly thankful for?”
This year, I used this question with both my students and my colleagues. In the...
At my first youth ministry job interview, I was asked, "How do you plan on fundraising the thousands of dollars required for our summer mission trip?" As a 21 year old, I'm sure I looked like a deer caught in the headlights as I fumbled to answer...
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...
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...
“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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
A few weeks ago, in his blog, "Who Determines What Your Ministry Looks Like?", Kurt Johnston posted this quote by Steve Jobs, the recently retired CEO of Apple:
“It isn’t the job of the consumer to determine what they want.”
That quote was still...
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...
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...
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...
On Tuesday, one of my students walked into our Student Leadership Team Meeting and promptly informed me that she had to leave at 4:30, a full half hour before our meeting was slated to end.
As I’ve spent a great deal of time with this team...
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
- Review: Growing With by Kara Powell & Steven Argue
- An open letter to John MacArthur
- Review: Be the Bridge by Latasha Morrison
- 5 ways to get teens talking
- Review: Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner
- 8 ways to help families with babies worship
- Review: The Jesus Who Surprises
- Fearfully and wonderfully made breasts
- 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