Archive for 2014

How to teach teens to notice others

A few weeks ago, my youth ministry held it’s third annual spring banquet. The event started after my student leaders approached me, saying they wanted to hold a dance for our youth ministry.

That thought made me want to vomit.

Rather than express...

Cold Food

2014 Congo Remembrance

About a year ago, my husband and I attended a ceremony to remember the atrocities occurring in the Congo. While there, we learned what courage looks like.

We also experienced African hospitality. We were served a bounty of traditional African...

Meaningful Gifts for Seniors

Annotated Bible

Every year around this time, I struggle with what to give our graduating seniors.

Early on in my career, I’d actually spend weeks agonizing over this. Indecisiveness would paralyze me until eventually, I’d give up and order a cheesy graduation...

3 ways to teach teens to wait


Last night, my train stopped shortly after it began moving due to a storm-related delay. Apparently, the power was out along the tracks, making it impossible for us to continue forward.

Immediately, commuters lashed out, complaining about the...

Mighty to Save

Earlier this week, my youth ministry was asked to deliver a Welcome Pack to a newly arriving refugee family of three from Bhutan.

Even though I consider myself to be a refugee champion and even though we had the supplies on hand to do this...



Today, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 

This week's prompt: Grateful .

Last week, I spent 45 minutes on the phone discussing a...

A beautiful mess


Today, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Mess.

I woke up this morning to a mess. The bathtub was filthy. Wet towels...

That's Not Fair!

Every Monday night, my high school students run a program for refugee kids called Kids Club. Each week, what the kids look most forward to is snacks.

When it comes to Kids Club snacks, we have one rule: Everyone gets exactly the same thing.


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

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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