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...
I’m a big fan of the TV series, “The West Wing.” In fact, I own the whole series and watch it far more than I’d like to admit. In one of my favorite episodes, President Bartlett asks CJ Cregg to “jump off a cliff with him” and replace...
As part of a class that I took called “Christological Foundations”, I read Scot McKnight’s “The Jesus Creed.” As with other Scot McKnight books that I’ve read, I devoured it, finding it to be a fresh, thoughtful look at faith, and...
Last spring, I used Youth Specialties “3 Story” Curriculum with my youth ministry, largely because I was required to do so for a graduate course I was taking.
The subtitle of this curriculum is “Preparing for a lifestyle of evangelism” and for...
I’m often amazed at the way some Christians seem to despise all things Disney.
A few years ago, during a workout at Curves, I heard two moms discussing how Christians needed to boycott Disney because of its routine use of pagan and magical...
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...
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
- Is this the end of short-term missions?
- A sanitized MLK
- 8 reasons why our youth ministry isn't regathering
- Is the church going extinct?
- I hope they'll listen
- Notes from the Pandemic: Exhaustion
- Notes from the Pandemic: Mentioning the Unmentionables
- Notes from the Pandemic: Self-sacrifice
- Life from death
- On dance classes, motivation, & $50 costumes
- What Nancy taught me
- Church homes
- The goal of politics
- Notes from the Pandemic: Eyes to See
- Notes from the Pandemic: Excitement - A familiar but unexpected emotion
- Notes from the Pandemic: Anger & Grace
- Notes from the Pandemic: A happy Easter?
- Notes from the Pandemic: The joy of walking
- Notes from the Pandemic: Excuse me, my privilege is showing
- Notes from the Pandemic: The God I Believe In