I grew up with what can only be described as an eclectic Christmas tree: Gold ornaments from my grandparents hung alongside Hallmark ornaments as well as homemade ornaments. One of my mom’s all-time favorite ornaments is an angel I made when I was...
I love geeking out on research. And when that research is related to youth ministry, it’s even better. For that reason, I was excited to read David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock’s Faith For Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in...
Like many youth workers I know, I make it a point of reading anything that Kara Powell writes. She’s brilliant and so is the research that she and Steven Argue do at Fuller Youth Institute. It continues to shape the way I do ministry and for the...
Dear John –
You don’t know me, but your books have sat on my shelf long enough that I like to think of you as a friend so I‘ll call you by your first time.
Your book, 12 Ordinary Men, was hugely influential in my understanding of the apostles and...
I was in my 30s before I began wrestling with the concept of my privilege, thanks largely to a senior pastor who was passionate about fighting systemic racism. My interaction with him sparked my desire to continue learning about and understanding...
After attending her first night of our high school ministry, a new adult leader recently told me, “I can’t believe how much the kids talked!”
It’s true. My high school kids talk a lot.
Now, maybe they’ve always been like that… But I think their...
I’ve been on maternity leave for the last eight weeks. While it’s been an incredible gift to bond with my newborn daughter, Kendall, I’m also ready to go back to work.
Despite this, I’m guessing I won’t be saying this after tomorrow. In my...
We currently have an 8-week old and a 4-year old, which makes getting to church a challenge. Because we want to cultivate a strong faith in our kids, attending church is a priority for us. But doing so is HARD. Based on our experience, here are 8...
My research into what high school teens believe about Jesus (published in The Jesus Gap) has made me particularly aware of how important it is to help people understand that ALL of Scripture points to Jesus. Knowing how important this is, I’m...
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard someone say this about my newborn daughter, Kendall. It is, after all, what you say when you meet a new baby.
It’s also what my faith says about newborns. According to the ...
As another school year rapidly approaches, I’ve found myself thinking about two different pictures of youth ministry.
One of the things that my teens most enjoy talking about is science and faith. Note that I said talking about; Not debating. Having facilitated this conversation a number of times in the past, I wanted to freshen up my approach with some fresh...
Recently, we took our newborn baby girl, Kendall, to worship for the first time. Several people stopped us on the way into worship, which meant that despite our best efforts, we didn’t actually make it into worship on time. Despite this, we went...
A pastor friend who read my book, A Mission That Matters, recently wondered, “When is the right time for me to go to ‘the ends of the earth’ and lead an international trip for my congregation?”
It’s a good question and one that’s not easy to...
My four-year-old daughter, Hope, LOVES taking pictures. I mean LOVES it. Spend a moment scrolling through our phones and you’ll typically see three types of photos:
1. Those obviously taken by my husband and I, typically featuring our family or...
After beginning my new role as the Minister of Youth and Family at my congregation last summer, I immediately examined the vision for the ministry I’d inherited. While I didn’t find it particularly compelling, I knew the best thing I could do was...
When Hope turned two, she began asking questions about communion, which wasn’t surprising since she’d gone forward to the communion rail with...
After finishing Alia Joy’s Glorious Weakness, I Instagramed a photo of the book with the caption, “Hands down the best Christian book I’ve read in a long time.”
That’s not a statement I make lightly.
I read a lot of Christian books – some for...
There’s a fairly common perception in the youth ministry world that graduated seniors are a critical part of a mission trip and as such, should be honored accordingly during such a trip (with things like special anointings or opportunities just...
My daughter, Hope, recently turned four. Of course, we wanted to celebrate her well, with a duo of Frozen themed parties, one for friends and family, and one for a handful of her school friends.
Having gone to a number of toddler parties in...
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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