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On not being welcomed at church

Last Sunday during worship, I sat in the comfort room with my two-year old, Kendall, in tears.

To be clear, I was the one in tears, not her.

We’d gone into the cry room to nurse. When we returned to the sanctuary, she started chattering. A LOT...

Church Shopping

The last time I went church shopping I was a freshman in college. My first Sunday on campus, I walked to the Methodist church that was a block from me. I’d grown up in the Methodist church and truly expected to find a church just like the one I...

The problem with Bible Bucks

I’ve seen several recent posts in various online youth ministry discussion forums about how we can get kids and tweens to read Scripture.

Several people have suggested instituting a “Bible Bucks” program. The idea is that when young people read ...

How the Bible Ruined the Berenstain Bears'

I have fond memories from my childhood of curling up in my mom’s lap, in her big (ugly) green recliner and reading the Berenstain Bears’ books. They were classics that every kid my age loved.

I’ve loved introducing these books to my own girls,...

The story behind CALLED

Two and a half years ago, I transitioned out of a 10-year call that I loved.

The decision to leave was NOT an easy one. It’s one I struggled with a lot… And along the way, I did what I always do: I turned to books for guidance.

I dutifully read...

On the Capitol Siege, President Trump, and Epiphany

Like so many others, I watched in horror yesterday as domestic terrorists seized the US Capitol.

I’ve been in the Capitol building.

As a child, I visited it with passes from my Illinois senator. As an adult, I availed myself of my rights and went...

God with us

In the doctor’s office, when Hope writhed in pain,
God was with us.

Through Hope’s pediatrician, who called ahead to the ER to pave the way,
God was with us.

In the emergency room, when we waited for answers,
God was with us.

Through the Linus...

Review: Defiant by Kelley Nikondeha

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Kelley Nikondeha speak a couple of times, first at the women’s’ retreat she mentions often in Defiant, and more recently at Evolving Faith. Having heard Kelley in person and experienced first-hand her heart for the...

Review: Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel

I’m type A.

I have an engineering degree.

I’m also an introvert.

All of these things contribute to the ways in which I overanalyze EVERYTHING. (And I do mean everything!) Why make a decision in 5 minutes when you can take 5 weeks?

My desire to...

Receive the gift

I’m a fan of lists. Always have been, always will be.

I even have a Christmas spreadsheet tracking what gifts we’ve purchased, what gifts we still need to buy, etc. In the days and weeks leading up to Christmas, I unhealthily obsess over my list,...

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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