Jen Bradbury Know What's Worth Getting Fired For In Youth Ministry

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Key Takeaway: Refugees And Jesus On The Other Side Of The Road

“For those 8 kids, they directly chose a career path related to their local missions experience” "Mission Trips Should Be Tied Back To Ministry Our Congregations are already involved

“My first year was a disaster in almost every way”

"Slow down to learn the story of your congregation"

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Episode Transcript

Zac: 00:13 Hey everybody, happy October, a happy pastor appreciation month. That's right. In case you didn't know that 31 days of October or not just the countdown to fall break Halloween or the holiday season. It's also the month you should be appreciating pastors worldwide. So if you are a pastor, I appreciate you as you have a pastor. You should go to appreciate them, but this month and youth ministry booster, we wanted to celebrate a particular group of pastors and that is all the women and youth ministry. So if you are a full time, part time volunteer, small group and love and students, woman in Youth Ministry this month is for you and almost every stinking day. This month we have got an exciting interview with a woman in Youth Ministry who's doing an incredible job and has an amazing story to tell, but more than just hearing from them. We want to celebrate.

Zac: 01:02 And so if you are or know of a woman in youth ministry, go to www.youthministrybooster.com/giveaway and we're going to give away an annual subscription box of their choosing and a year of booster. For a woman and youth ministry, he's doing an amazing job, so youth ministry, men you can enter by nominating someone. You're going to give the gift Tube and women and youth ministry. Please sign up. We want you to have a gift we want to give to you a year long celebration to thank you for what you do and to love you for loving young people you can play along at home by tying all your post. Hashtag women in Yam. We'd love to hear from you. All right, that's it for me. Enjoy this interview and I'll catch you back at the end of the episode with more details.

Chad: 01:47 We are here celebrating, in the month of October, the incredible women in Youth Ministry. And we are with Mikiala. Did I pronounce that correctly or at least at absolutely correctly thinking you're going to have to get through the rest of this conversation today. So I'll give you a tutorial. Four syllables. I mean, I feel like because of that there's probably going to be like a sonic route 44 like that myself as reward later this afternoon during happy hour. At that point you will deserve it. Well, I deserve one most every afternoon. I just one thing in life that helps make things. Let me go ahead and get. It can be a dangerous slippery slope so you do have to be careful. Sonic will get you either rewarding myself or I'm below and you're just like either I need to celebrate or cry. Either way. This is going to help with either one. It's going to be this episode euthanize you booster, brought to you by sonic. Anyways. So tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us about your name. First and foremost. Make sure we know how to say it and where that comes from and all of those great things.

Mikiala: 03:15 Absolutely. Well, my name Mikiala is Hebrew and, my parents, they used to watch that old show star search and there was a spokesperson on there that had a name and they were like, that's it. That's the name for our daughter. So they signed me up for a lifetime of having to raise my hand when the substitute teacher would pause and look very confused at the paper and I would say yes, that's me. Hi, I'm Mikiala,

Chad: 03:40 where are you from? What is your student ministry look like? And all those kind of things.

Mikiala: 03:47 So I do see the mystery based out of Stuart, Florida. It's about 30 minutes north of West Palm Beach. So I'm a Florida flip flops and sandals kind of girl and I've been here for four years where I currently serve. So our youth ministry is a midsize church and we meet once a week and we do an entire night of student programming. And our goal is to just make sure that students have a place where they can come and do worship that they take some ownership in because a lot of times we still call it big church. Big Church doesn't always resonate with,, with the teenagers. And so we want them to have youth group where they feel like they can worship and serve and come and just hang out and learn a little bit more about who Jesus is. And so that's, that's our main goal here.

Chad: 04:38 Wow. That's really cool. Tell us, tell us your origin story. Tell us about your calling the student ministry before then. What did, what did that look like in your life? How have you gotten to where you're at today?

Mikiala: 04:53 I always grew up in the church. My Dad was a demon and my mom was always a choir director. And so, um, you know, I feel like I was sitting on the piano bench next to my mom since I could hold my head up properly. And so, uh, being in ministry was just kind of second nature to me. And so I was a teenager. I started out probably when I was about to say the middle school and that was just all that

Mikiala: 05:22 I just always did and I didn't necessarily think at that time that it was going to lead to a future in student ministry, but it was just something that I felt like God used me in those moments. And so ever since I was a kid I thought, okay, you know what, I want to do communications, I want to do journalism. And so by the time I graduated high school, I went to college and I got that degree in communications and journalism because I thought I wanted either be a news anchor or I want to be a radio host or something like that because I enjoy talking to people and loving people and that's going to be the perfect way to do it. So, uh, I went to school and then by the time I graduated I was at summer camp with our student ministry at the time and when we were doing a worship service.

Mikiala: 06:06 And I specifically remember being in the back of the room. Um, as you know, I feel like a lot of youth leaders, you kind of go to the back of the room, left the loud music and all that good stuff and then you're kind of towards the back end and I can still to this day, remember certain students that just really stuck out to me because of various stories that they had, various struggles that they had and we just spent this entire week. I'm ministering to these kids and I really felt God pressing on my heart and saying, you need to make sure that you have the tools it's going to take to minister to these kids properly and do that well. Um, and so that fall I enrolled in school again and I went specifically to get a degree in youth ministry because I said, okay, well if this is what God wants me to do, then I'm going to go ahead and do it.

Mikiala: 06:51 And so I still remember the faces of those kids and some of the struggles that they had. And that was kind of what propelled me through school. you know, those late nights and all that kind of stuff, but is really knowing that God wanted me to be able to do this well and that was something that I needed to power through. So once I did that, it took about two years for me to actually be placed where I am now. And the story of that, you know, God just really worked that out, you know, between my resume and people knowing where to look for my resume, got totally lined that up and so I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be. Um, and I have complete confirmation in that which is just a really cool thing to see God work in that way. So

Chad: 07:36 there are those moments that we think are like, totally, we find ourself in the back of the room and I'm amazed by all those all the times in my own life, even as like a speaker and communicator that I would like finish a sermon that I had prepared for hours. That was for me. Like I don't know if anyone else in the room got anything out of it. But that was for me to learn in those moments. Um, so tell me your time in student ministry from your beginning of volunteer all the way into where you're at now. Tell me one of your favorite student ministry moments.

Mikiala: 08:30 Favorite student ministry moments? Well, I feel like this is kind of a recurring moment and I am not the type of student minister that gets like wild and crazy and does like crazy, you know, jumps off of stuff. Like that's just not me. I always try to, you know, help people understand that you can be an introvert and be in ministry and still be effective because I am one of those people. Um, I kind of keep to myself a little bit. So the moments that are my favorite oftentimes are the quieter moments. And so, um, the recurring one that I always think about is in those moments when it's just like you talked about, you're preparing for a message and you think that this message is either going to be great because you've put a lot of work into it or you're going, okay, I don't know if I've prepared this as well as I should have, but here I am in front of these people and Lord, please just help it be effective.

Mikiala: 09:23 Let it be an opportunity for people to learn more about you. And then you just go, well, there's a couple of, uh, of moments in speaking to students where God just kind of gives me this clarity or this realization where he lets me in on the fact that right here in this moment, this is when I'm working and this is why you prepared and this is, this is the purpose of this message. And so in the middle of a speaking to those kids, I'm going, okay, that's a really humbling moment because at that time I have to send up a prayer and just say, okay, God, whatever it is that you're working on, please let it be something that impacts students, let it help them grow in their relationship, let it minister to the hearts of kid were broken. Um, and it's just, you know, a fleeting moment where he's like, this is it right here, right now. And I can tell that everybody's zeroed in and I've zeroed in because he's got my attention in those moments. And he's saying, I'm working and I'm going, oh, okay, awesome. Please don't let me mess it up. It was just completely humbling to be a part of that. And so those are my favorite moments because I get to connect with him, but also get to see him connecting with other people and, and, uh, see the realness of who God is. And that's just one of my favorite things.

Chad: 10:36 Yeah, you use the word humbling. Like when you, when you experienced those times, what other emotions come out in you? And like, where, where does it drive your heart in your mind?

Mikiala: 10:56 I would say it drives my heart too to whatever the point is also because I think that he uses those moments where I might need to pay attention to something in myself too, whether it's security that I've been struggling with or um, or, or, you know, I need to be, um, to be more open minded about something else or to zero in on somebody in the congregation or in the audience who's really hurting. And so for me, the emotion that it draws out is, um, is just going, okay, well how do I need to serve or what do I need to change? Um, and so really it becomes,, me trying to figure out how to do exactly what God's having other people to do. Um, because that's, I mean, that's how relational ministry works, where you're relating to God and you're relating to other people. And so, um, you know, it's not just about other people hearing the message, it's about you hearing it and it's about making it real. Making sure that you're not just giving up. They're saying something. And then you don't actually live it out in your life.

Chad: 12:05 The power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, absolutely. You get to go back in time to your volunteer experience in student ministry and you get to give yourself some sage wisdom. What would you tell yourself at that point?

Mikiala: 12:30 I consider myself what I like to call a recovering perfectionist, and that has been the case since I was a teenager and just always feeling like I'm everything needed to be in its proper order and everything needed to be the right way. And so I have always struggled with, trying to make it appear as if I have all my ducks in a row and get everything together and that started at a young age and it's something that I still struggle with. So if I could go back in time, I would say it's okay to say, well, now you're not perfect. Um, and at,

Mikiala: 13:13 and other people knowing that you're not perfect does not disqualify you for ministry. That was, um, that was something that I started to believe is that any opportunity that I had to fail in front of somebody or show that I didn't know something was going to be the opportunity to say for somebody else to say, we'll see. That's why you shouldn't be doing that. That's exactly why you shouldn't leave that Bible study or that's exactly why you shouldn't speak in front of those people. That's why you shouldn't be in ministry. And I just felt like I was giving them that in to point the finger and say, no, you're not supposed to be doing that. But instead I can. I know now that I can see that as that's the opportunity to grow so that you can absolutely do ministry because we do men's ministry out of our imperfections because that's where Jesus shows how perfect he is. And so, um, so I would absolutely tell myself, dude, fail in front of people. Be Vulnerable. Let them know that you don't know something and you not knowing something. It doesn't negate your skillset. You still have skills. You just might need to learn this other thing that will now multiply those skills.

Chad: 14:23 That's a huge lesson that I'm still learning. I feel like I really resonate with you. Call yourself a recovering perfectionist midst of it. And I really appreciate that. I think there's the joy, the joy of vulnerability. Think in those moments, and I'm often reminded of Paul's letter when he talks about, um, how I came to you and I acted like I knew nothing by Christ and him crucified, right? I mean, here's a guy, right? You can boast about anything, but he realizes that like in his own humility, Christ is going to be exalted more. Right? And I, I just hope that for, I hope that for my own life, but I now, and I hope that for so many other ministers who I think have the greatest intentions, but we can often so much good in our own way in the midst of that. And we've become not only a stumbling block for ourself but for the people that follow us.

Chad: 15:42 And so I, I really appreciate you for reminding me of that. And that's yet again, another reason that I'm probably going to have to have a sonic drinks this afternoon that yes, sonic drink because you're like, you know what, God is so good and he's perfect. So I'm just going to read. Isn't that true? Isn't that good? Well, Hey, thank you so much for sharing your honesty with us this afternoon. A man I, I know that we haven't known each other long and just sitting here talking to you on this call, but um, and I just hear such authenticity and you and I just want to encourage that in you as a minister and I just hope that that continues to just come alive and you minister in that and through that. And so if you are listening with us today, we want to invite you back tomorrow as we have the opportunity to hear from another fantastic woman in student ministry across this great country. So yeah, absolutely. We're excited. It's going to be awesome. Let's head to sonic will see you guys tomorrow.

Speaker 4: 16:52 Thanks so much.

Zac: 16:55 Alright, there you go. That's your interview with Mikiaila., Chad, I'm not buying your sonic. Maybe somebody else will hope you enjoyed it. Make sure to check the links below, how you can get in contact with her and learn more about her story and how you could sign up for the youth ministry booster.com/giveaway where you can win an annual membership to booster and a subscription box of your choice, but the woman in youth ministry you appreciate the most, which could be you and so thank you so much for listening. We'll be back tomorrow with another episode. You guys are great. We'll see you then.