Three years ago, as part of a graduate school class I was taking, I conducted a thorough assessment of my high school ministry. Among other things, this assessment revealed that in the three years prior to it, only 22% of my congregation's...
This week's review is of Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth by Paul Martin
What the book's about: As it's name suggests, this is a book about the faith formation of youth. Specifically, it's about discipling teens. What makes this book...
When I started my current youth ministry position nearly five years ago, my office was overflowing with old youth group t-shirts. I inherited hundreds of old shirts from a decade's worth of special events.
I felt as though I couldn't get rid of...
My husband and I were on our way home from a brief trip to a local state park on Monday when we stopped for lunch and heard the news about the bombings at the Boston marathon.
Immediately, my heart sunk. As I watched the images from Boston flit...
Next to fiction, memoir is my favorite kind of book. My love for memoir attracted me to Elizabeth McCracken's An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, a book she calls the “happiest story in the world with the saddest ending”.
Whenever I mention my youth ministry's rummage sale to people, they usually ask in disbelief, "You're really doing that again?"
To be sure, rummage sales are a ton of work; but as a youth worker, I love how they encourage people to purge in a...
Google the musical, The Book of Mormon, and you'll almost certainly find people using the words “irreverent”, “crass”, and “ridiculously funny” to describe it. It's a show that uses wit and humor to explore faith and in particular, the Mormon...
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...
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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