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...
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...
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...
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...
Last weekend was my ministry’s annual winter retreat. The focus of this retreat was no small task, as we set out to survey the book of Revelation, discussing end times, heaven and hell, and God’s vision for a better world.
Growing up, I loved my church. In fact, when I went away to college, one of my favorite parts about spending a weekend in Chicago was going to church on Sunday morning.
Because going to church felt like going home.
I literally grew up in my...
I absolutely love to read.
For me, reading is life-giving. It’s something that restores my soul in a way that few other things do. I love well-written fiction that causes me to get lost in the story. I also love spiritual memoirs and the way...
I’m tired of tolerance.
That’s right. You read that correctly. I’ll even say it again.
I’m tired of tolerance.
For quite some time, “tolerance” has been a hip, cool buzz word here in America. Everyone – especially high schoolers – wants to be “...
Growing up, dinner was a sacred event in my family’s house.
Throughout elementary school and junior high, my family ate dinner every night at 6 pm. In high school, dinner time fluctuated depending on my extracurricular schedule. Despite...
I’m a firm believer that in a youth ministry setting, unless we process service projects with our students before, during, and after we complete them, they’re a waste of our time yielding little, if any, long-term impact in either the...
The trait I most dislike about myself is the fact that I get jealous insanely easily.
When I psychoanalyze myself, I wonder if perhaps this is because I’m an only child, used to having all the attention. Or maybe it’s because I was...
I was intrigued by a recent blog post by Brooklyn Lindsey entitled Why Youth Talks Keep Getting Shorter. In her post, Brooklyn talks of how she’s recently become OK with 10 minute talks, saying, “Shorter messages, intentional preaching with...
Dear Parents -
There are days when I simply don’t envy you. So often when I see you, you’re overwhelmed, running from place to place, chauffeuring your kids from one activity to the next, doing all you can to simply survive another day...
Last Wednesday was our first youth ministry meeting of the school year. It was a night of laughter, fun, and joy; A night when upperclassmen welcomed underclassmen into their midst with open arms.
For our first night, we played a series of...
One of my favorite stories in Scripture is when Jesus heals the man with leprosy in Matthew 8:1-4.
In Jesus’ time, if you had leprosy, you were untouchable. Those with the disease were condemned to a life on the margins of society, isolated...
“Dear Lord, I know you don’t get prayers from trees all that often, but please hear me out. My forest is dying. The humans have come and chopped down the trees. I fear I am next. Please save us, oh Lord! Teach the humans the error of their...
I like my church. A lot.
One of the things that I like most about it is it’s theology of grace.
Despite this, there are times when I sit in church listening to the sermon and I find myself thinking, “Just once, I’d like for this...
In his blog, Adam Mclane talks about a new model for discipleship wherein youth workers create “moments of spiritual crisis” for students so that “they recognize they need to learn more from God’s Word.”
Part of this idea...
Just weeks before Doug and I were married, we served at a Christian camp together as counselors. While there, we were admonished by one of our fellow counselors for acting “too much like a couple”.
In so many ways, this admonishment...
While in Arkansas two weeks ago for a summer mission trip, I met a 13 year old boy named Richie, someone the local principal had deemed “white trash”. In addition to knowing the label he’d been given, before ever meeting Richie,...
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
- 8 ways to help mission teams conclude more than “poor people are happy”
- The fantasy youth ministry candidate
- What students need most when they’re stuck spiritually
- The tearing of the curtain
- How do you not hate them?
- Messy Ashes
- What it means to be a Bradbury
- The (false) unity of 9-12
- Notes from the pandemic: The plight of young (unvaccinated) children & their parents
- Jesus & justice
- Beautiful Hospitality
- On not being welcomed at church
- On finding a new church home
- Church Shopping
- 10 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO STAY OR GO
- The problem with Bible Bucks
- Notes from the Pandemic: Pandemic Babies
- 3 educational priorities
- How the Bible Ruined the Berenstain Bears'
- Review: How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk