During a recent organizational assessment I did through Arbor Research Group, I asked one of the ministry’s leaders how critical it was for his staff to recruit and equip adult leaders. In response, he said, “When they get their job description,...
Christmas has always stressed me out. That stress has only worsened since I became a mom.
For that reason, I was intrigued by Alexandra Kuykendall’s Loving My Actual Christmas: An Experiment in Relishing the Season. In this book, Alexandra sets...
The event’s due date passed and my numbers were bleak.
Worse, I simply hadn’t heard from the majority of people in my youth ministry.
Were they not interested?
Did they have plans?
Had they simply forgotten to turn in the forms?
That night, I...
A few years ago, I participated in one of The Youth Cartel’s Youth Ministry Coaching Programs, which was a great investment in my leadership development. Among other things, I loved getting to rub shoulders with great youth workers and learning...
I have faint memories of reading Corduroy as a child.
So, when someone gave us Corduroy at my daughter’s baby shower, I was delighted, eager to share the adorable bear with the missing button with my daughter.
What I didn’t remember from my...
My student leaders waffled between God the Creator and Jesus the Savior before one eventually suggested, “I...
An increasing body of research suggests that young people are leaving the church. Churchgoers don’t need the research to tell them what they see playing out in their own congregations.
As a person of faith, I care deeply about this phenomenon. As...
On Sunday, I watched one of my former students, Marcy, preach in my congregation – the congregation where she grew up. She stood at the pulpit, full of grace, and gave a beautiful message on Exodus 16:2-15.
Among other things, what...
To do this, I’m intentional about making sure my students open a Bible and dig into Scripture at each gathering we have. I’m also intentional about giving away Bibles.
The last six weeks have been challenging.
The transition at my church continues to be difficult.
My daughter started preschool and while she’s thriving, adapting our schedules has been rough for all of us.
Multiple people in my husband’s family...
What the book's about: A Pair of Miracles: A Story of Autism, Faith, and Determined Parenting by Karla Akins chronicles Karla's journey of raising twin boys with autism.
Why I read this book: As a youth pastor, I work with some teens who...
Being a parent is hard.
So, too, is navigating technology and screen time with young children.
For this reason, I was excited to read Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane's Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World.
Recently, one of the big wigs in my denomination distinguished between “called” staff and “hired” staff. According to him, “called” staff are those who are ordained or rostered by our denomination. An entire congregation then calls them into...
I love to read books that challenge me to think differently about something. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News by Brian Zahnd did just that.
In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd explores...
The world, and in particular, the United States is becoming more divisive.
Few people I know would disagree with that statement right now.
Yet, few people I know – including, or perhaps, especially – Christians, know what to do about that...
I care deeply about justice, as does the congregation I'm a part of. For this reason, I was excited to dig into J. Paul Nyquist's Is Justice Possible: The Elusive Pursuit of What is Right.
This book was a mixed bag for me. I loved that...
Because I love liturgy, I was both excited and intrigued to read...
What the book's about: Coffee, the World, and Jesus is a collection of stories from Ron DeMiglio - an international coffee businessman - about his work, travel, and faith.
Why I read this book: The synopsis sounded interesting to me...
Not long ago, I stumbled across a youth ministry curriculum called Answers Bible Curriculum.
Now, to be clear. This is NOT a review of this curriculum. I've never used this curriculum. As you'll see, I'll also never buy it.
What the book's about: Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands is a leadership book filled with short essays on what the author, Nancy Ortberg, describes as "non-linear leadership" (others might classify it as servant-leadership.)
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
- Notes from the Pandemic: Self-sacrifice
- Notes from the Pandemic: The joy of walking
- When Should You Take an International Mission Trip?
- Picture Rules for Mission Trips
- Why you shouldn't build mission trips around seniors
- Should you confirm in the spring or the fall?
- 6 ways to make a service-oriented mission trip more justice focused
- 5 marks of a justice-focused mission trip
- 4 reasons why rules are important
- Why you shouldn’t prep for mission trips during your regular gatherings
- 4 reasons why bigger isn't always better
- Why you can't sell hope
- Review: Sustainable Children's Ministry by Mark DeVries & Annette Safstrom
- Guest Post: Four ways to cultivate partnerships with those you seek to serve by Emily Gorz
- Guest Post: What I learned from being THE leader on a summer mission trip by Joe Yucha
- Guest Post: What I learned as a mission trip adult leader by Andy Waters
- Guest Post: The impact of a high school mission trip by Lindsey Coleman
- Why you shouldn't try out adult leaders on mission trips
- 16 years ago
- Adult leader’s training: The one thing you shouldn’t skimp on