The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

by Jen Bradbury

Order Now Read The Jesus Gap Blog

Is Jesus God?

Did Jesus sin?

Can you be a Christian and
not believe in Jesus?

The way Christian youth answer these and other questions about the basics of their faith might surprise you. Their answers, drawn from a national research study, are found in The Jesus Gap. It explores not only the depths of what Christian youth believe about Jesus, but also how that belief translates into a life of faith.

Combining focused research with years of diverse youth ministry experience, Jen Bradbury is at once insightful, passionate, and practical in her approach to making Jesus the heart of youth ministry. This book offers inspiration and hope that the truth of who Jesus is still has the power to transform the lives of our youth.

Because at the end of the day, if youth don’t leave our youth ministries knowing the true Jesus, then we’re pretty much missing the point!


Dave Rahn

Dave Rahn Sr. VP, Youth for Christ/USA
Director, MA in Youth Ministry Leadership at Huntington University

Jen Bradbury is seasoned, wise, and warm, as might be expected of a youth minister. She’s also a tenacious researcher with mad writing skills and a desperately important problem to dissect. That’s why The Jesus Gap managed to exceed my expectations. This book needs serious attention from anyone who loves Jesus, loves kids, and loves the Church. There’s hope in these pages!
Ginny Olson

Ginny Olson Youth ministry author, advocate, advisor and adjunct professor
Director of Youth Ministries for the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Eye-opening. Blood-chilling. Galvanizing. These were my reactions as I read the results of Jen Bradbury’s research on the Jesus gap in youth ministries. Her findings regarding what teenagers and their parents believe about Jesus call upon us as youth workers to deeply reflect on our ministries, and they should provoke us to action. Jen does an excellent job of laying out the issues, as well as providing practical steps to address those issues and implement change in our ministries and churches. This should be required reading for every youth pastor, seminary student, senior pastor, and Christian parent.
Bethany Stolle

Bethany Stolle Designer, educator, and the curriculum developer behind sparkhouse youth ministry resources like re:form and Connect.

What we think teens know about Jesus and what they actually know are often two very different things. In The Jesus Gap, Jen Bradbury sets out to discover what her students are learning, which spurs a much larger exploration of the Christologies of teenagers across the church. This book doesn't stop there, however. Through her own research findings, stories from years in youth ministry, and numerous creative teaching ideas, Jen offers practical ways for youth ministers to help young people meet Jesus. Yes, the gap is significant, but these pages are packed with wisdom, grace, and hope for anyone who loves Jesus and cares about teens.
Doug Fields

Doug Fields Author of Purpose Driven Youth Ministry and Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry
Co-founder of

In The Jesus Gap, Jen Bradbury offers deep insight into the way teenagers view Jesus. Full of important questions and a critical look at what we are telling teens about him, Jen offers a wealth of practical ways we can positively impact what our youth believe about Jesus. Regardless of your denomination or the size of your ministry, this book is filled with valuable wisdom for how pastors or parents can play a key role in strengthening the faith of our youth. I am left feeling hopeful that when we introduce teenagers to the true Jesus, we will open the door to a faith that will last a lifetime.
Terry Linhart

Terry Linhart, PhD Author and Educator at Bethel College – Indiana

The Jesus Gap is a must-read book for four reasons. First, it discovers, critiques, and champions the place of Christology in youth ministry. Second, it is a rare gem: National research done with rigor that helps us find a confident way forward. Third, it was written by a veteran youth pastor with a proven and current record of fruitful leadership. Finally, Jen Bradbury is a gifted thinker and leader in youth ministry who leads, teaches, and nurtures as well as any I’ve seen. You can be confident of the quality of the data, the theological wisdom, the practical application, and the integrity and Christ-centeredness of the one who writes.
Morgan Schmidt

Morgan Schmidt Youth Pastor
Author of Woo

The Jesus Gap is thoughtful and compelling. With great skill and deep love, Jen grieves the loss of Jesus in the spirituality of teenagers and offers a hopeful vision of how the whole church can embrace a more robust Christology alongside students. It’s time to invite Jesus back to youth group, and The Jesus Gap is preparing the way.
Steve Gerali

Dr. Steve Gerali Award-Winning Author
Internationally Recognized Expert in Adolescent Development and Youth Ministry

The Jesus Gap is a powerful exposé on the perspectives of American “Christian” teens regarding the person of Jesus Christ. This is a must-read for anyone who is passionate about leading teenagers into a deep relationship with Jesus.

About Jen Bradbury

Jen Bradbury serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Her writing has appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen blogs regularly at When not doing ministry, she and her husband Doug can be found hiking, backpacking, and traveling.

Subscribe to the The Jesus Gap Newsletter