Home Podcast Kara Powell and Jen Bradbury: What Makes a Healthy Youth Ministry

Kara Powell and Jen Bradbury: What Makes a Healthy Youth Ministry

“Young people, when they see the church, they see us not being very loving. They see us being judgmental. They see us being unkind. And that’s part of why they’ve lost trust in the church and, frankly, Christian adults. Young people today in general are not trusting institutions.”

“What does this generation value? They value love in action. And so for us, that translates into character.”

“[Character] is living out Jesus’ goodness every day by loving God and our neighbors.”

“All of us, regardless of our level of spiritual maturity, we’re tempted to compartmentalize our faith.”

“I would say a healthy youth ministry, while it elevates character, it also gives opportunities for all of us—young people, adult volunteers, youth pastors—to confess either publicly or privately ways that we’re not living up to who we want to be, and to experience the forgiveness and the grace of Jesus in the midst of all seasons.”

“We think what we’re supposed to model is victory. But what young people want to be aware of is also our struggles. Because if they hear about our struggles and the way we experience Jesus in the midst of it, then they will know that Jesus can be with them in the midst of their struggles and doubts too.”

“Never make a statement if you can ask a question instead.”

“We cannot overestimate how important [senior church leaders] are….You are so important.”

Key Quotes From Jen Bradbury

“Relationships with adults is in fact a key area here, and I am seeing this play out in real time in my own role in the church right now.”

“In the ministry that so many of my pastor peers are in right now, we are working from a trust deficit, particularly with young people who just don’t inherently trust the church…we have to work overtime in order to re-instill that trust with young people.”

“What we started to see were there were these elements that became the ‘faith beyond youth group compass’ that all these ministries were doing that are really critical in developing a long-term faith.”

“Young people don’t want their leaders to be perfect or to pretend to have all the answers to their faith.”