In her address to the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama said, “We are playing a long-game here." Though the First Lady was, of course, talking about the long-term political agenda of the Democratic party, I believe she...
In our culture, everyone wants to be great.
Students do. Their parents do. And if we're honest, we do too.
For this reason alone, Steven Furtick's new book, Greater, will gain an audience. After all, how awesome would it be if our faith in Jesus...
A year ago, I visited Kiziba Refugee Camp in western Rwanda.
This camp is home to more than 20,000 refugees from the Congo, where an on-going civil war has resulted in the death of more than 3 million people. It is a conflict rarely talked about...
About a month or two after returning from a summer mission trip, I typically hear mission trip participants say these things:
"I don't feel God here like I did there."
"I'm forgetting things."
"It's starting to fade."
A member of my church council recently asked me, “What do you feel is the key to our church keeping you as our youth worker?”
To me, this is an interesting question, one I believe is often overlooked in favor of it's close relative, “When and why...
While on vacation, I saw this sign, an advertisement attempting to lure passerby's into a shop because of it's “cool stuff”. Each time I passed this shop, I was struck by how much this shop's advertisement mirrors the way we so often do youth...
On a recent mission trip, I interacted with adult leaders from across the country.
One was permanently attached to her phone. She called her office every 10 minutes to see if a crisis had developed she alone could solve—from 800 miles away....
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...
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
- Dear Future Self: Thoughts on priorities, refugees, and welcome pack deliveries
- Review: When Kids Ask Hard Questions, edited by Bromleigh McCleneghan and Karen Ware Jackson
- 8 tips for transitioning older kids into their big sibling role
- Recent Reads: They Call Me Mom by Michelle Medlock Adams & Bethany Jett
- Review: M.O.M. Master Organizer of Mayhem by Kristi Clover
- The ghettoization of Christmas trees (and youth ministry)
- Review: Faith For Exiles by David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock
- 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