Did you see us on Focus?

Posted on: 11/10/20 9:22 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m a pretty proud Daddy today… I just heard my daughter Alyssa rock her interview on Focus on the Family yesterday (we record these things months prior, so I had forgot how good she was- truly amazing).

You can catch the whole thing on YouTube HERE:

I think my favorite part was how courageous she was… she didn’t shy away from ousting me and other parents for our part in this whole “screen dilemma” that so many adults tend to put on kids. It was good to hear a snippet of her story, something she’s goes into much more detail throughout our new book.

Great job Alyssa! You’ve got a gift!


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Missing Joe

Posted on: 07/15/20 12:41 PM | by Jonathan McKee

On Sunday our world was ripped apart.

My youngest daughter Ashley has been living with us while her husband Joe was deployed in Afghanistan. Sunday morning two uniformed soldiers arrived at our door to tell us Joe died the day prior. Their baby, Ashton Joseph Allbaugh is due September 10th.

We don’t even have any words to express what we’re feeling. We’re all a little numb. We just depend on God who is the God of all comfort and cling to the hope we have in Him, and knowing Joe is with Him right now.

I guess one thing we can all say… we miss Joe. We miss his smile and the way he made us laugh.

Everyone has been so supportive and honoring Joe in so many ways.

Ashley and Ashton will be living with us as long as they need. I praise God she has family gathered around her right now, our family, Joe’s family, and our church family. Thank you all for your prayers and support through this time.


  • Please pray for Ashley, her health these last two months of pregnancy and for strength during this incredibly painful time.
  • Please pray for Joe’s entire family, especially his parents Larry and Laura, wonderful parents who have always treated Ashley like a daughter and I know will be amazing grandparents to Ashton as well.
  • And please pray for Lori, myself, and my parents who all live on the same property together with Ashley—and soon Ashton—four generations on one property. Pray that we can surround her with love during this unfathomable loss.

Thank you so much for your prayers. And thank you for understanding—I will be off the grid for a while.

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Our Kids are Watching

Posted on: 06/8/20 6:38 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This Thursday I’m posting a new article on our PARENTING HELP page helping moms and dads not only talk with their kids about the stressful news they’re seeing and hearing, but also providing them a solid foundation in an otherwise shaky world. Here’s just a snippet of that article…

If you have kids under 18, then the last few weeks…scratch that…months have probably invoked more fear and unrest than they have ever experienced looking at the world around them.

First Covid-19, then the tragic killing of George Floyd, then the outbreak of violence in the streets… all of these issues dividing people instead of united them. Millions of American homes have news channels on right now that aren’t reporting news as much as “casting blame.”

I’ve been alive 50 years, and I’ve never seen our country so divided.

I don’t think many adults are stopping to consider…our kids are watching.

Our Kids are Watching
A black man is killed by a policeman on national TV. Our kids are watching.

Looters throw garbage cans through store windows and carry out televisions. Our kids are watching.

Politicians point their fingers. Our kids are watching.

The world pauses to remember George Floyd, even on kids’ channels. Our kids are watching.

Parents turn on that news station they love so much and watch editorialists shake their heads and point their fingers for hours upon hours. Our kids are watching.

Brands speak out and voice their protests in unique ways. Our kids are watching.

Grampa gets mad at the TV screen and starts casting more blame. Our kids are watching.

What are our kids gleaning from all of this pain, violence, bitterness, and unrest? More importantly, how can we talk with them about all they are observing?

Here is yet another situation where being proactive is always better than being reactive. Right now the entire world is reacting, many acting without thinking. What our kids need is a solid foundation in an otherwise shaky world.

So how can we anchor our kids to this solid foundation?

SUBSCRIBE to our free PARENTING HELP articles at to receive this entire article Thursday.


Posted on: 05/26/20 7:21 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Four Statements Christians Really Need to Rethink

Pastors are making huge decisions this week, the choice to resume worship as normal, or wait a little longer… or somewhere in between. This means filtering through all the “spin” that everyone is spewing right now.

This post has no spin.

I have no political or religious agenda.

I’m just tired of hearing people make important decisions without all the facts. You can’t just read the headlines.

Here’s four statements I continue to hear out of people’s mouths that really need rethinking…  (and the research you need to see)

1. “Doctors say masks really don’t help.”

I understand the confusion, and it’s frustrating. But the fact is… it’s just not true.

Read carefully.

When I first saw ignorant emails being forwarded around mid-March, I went to two places to find truth, and I have to admit, I was highly disappointed. I went on the World Health Organization (WHO) website and the CDC and read both their instructions in detail. The first thing both these sites said was something like, “masks won’t protect you.” (Some of the first words out of their mouth on the WHO website video is still, “Medical masks like this one cannot protect against the new Coronavirus when used alone.”)

But that wasn’t the complete truth…and here’s why.

Whenever people in power talk, they don’t really communicate what needs to be said, instead they communicate what they think people need to hear, and sadly what “can’t be used against us” later. Both WHO and the CDC made a huge mistake here. These websites were both practicing CYA. Plus, masks were in short supply for health workers. So it’s probably best to tell people they don’t need them, right?

Both sites conveyed, “Masks don’t help.” And since most people read no further than the headlines, immediately I began hearing people saying, “Masks don’t work anyway.”

Here’s the thing. If people would have kept reading, even back then they would have found the following truths:

1. Both sites recommended from the beginning that if you are going to be in the vicinity of someone with COVID-19, wear a mask. (But wait… I thought they didn’t work?) Then both sites also said that you never know who has COVID—19. Hmmmm.

2. Both sites said masks aren’t good if you get COVID-19 on your hands, then touch your face while removing your mask. So wash your hands!  And learn how to take on and take off a mask.

3. Both sites said masks are good in that they actually keep most people from touching their face.

And here’s the thing: Now on the WHO website you’ll see it says:

Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Read that again. Masks are effective….Uh… that means masks work.

And now the CDC website posted the following update:  (emphasis mine)

CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

Bottom line: when you’re going out to the grocery store, please just put on a mask (my daughter made some cool ones with dinosaurs on them). And if you’re going to go in a church building with other people…wear a mask.

Speaking of going to church, that brings up the second statement we need to rethink…

2. “The government is just trying to suppress religion. They allow marijuana dispensaries to stay open, but they aren’t allowing people to worship.”

Oh man. We’re opening a can of worms here, so let me be very clear (and again, I’m going to show you several helpful studies).

I don’t like marijuana dispensaries (and no, I’m not against your aunt getting medicinal marijuana when she got “the cancer”, I’m against college students smoking a bowl every morning because they claim it’s helping their stress. More on that here in my article, Just One Thing Your Kids Need to know about Weed.)

The point is, don’t let our frustrations effect our wise judgement.

Here’s the facts. Whether you like smoke shops or not, typically a person can go into one wearing a mask, practice social distancing, and then leave. Just like CVS (except CVS doesn’t give you the munchies).

Church is much more like a concert or ball game. You’re sitting right next to someone for an hour, you’re talking or singing or shouting, all indoors. (And yes, if you’re already getting amped up and saying we can solve each of these, I agree with you… just hold on).

If you don’t realize how serious this is, look at several examples, like the Skagit County Washington choir practice, as reported by the CDC. (And if you’re going to open your church, PLEASE read this study in full)(and yes, I’m quick to forgive the CDC for their earlier impass). 

The short of it is, one person was symptomatic in a 122-member choir, and eventually 53 people became ill, three were hospitalized and two died. And in case you’re skeptical about the validity of the 53, I encourage you to read the report, because 33 of them were confirmed, and 20 probable (and even 33 is huge).

The CDC study reads: “The 2.5-hour singing practice provided several opportunities for droplet and fomite transmission, including members sitting close to one another, sharing snacks, and stacking chairs at the end of the practice.” The study goes into even greater detail.

This isn’t a fluke example. In fact, The CDC reported about another church in rural Arkansas where 2 symptomatic people attended church, later who tested positive for COVID-19. 35 of the 92 attendees got COVID-19, and three died. Sadly, it didn’t stop at the church doors. An additional 26 cases linked to the church occurred in the community, including one death.

And these churches aren’t alone.

Bottom line: we need to rethink the way we do church while COVID-19 is still a threat. And yes, I understand that the Coronavirus was much more rampant in March, which is when many of these examples happened. But consider this: in each of these situations it only took 1 or 2 people.

Are you willing to bet the lives of your congregation?

Yes, I know life is full of risks.

Yes, I know that it’s not fair that gun shops and churches are closed, and smoke shops are open.

But that doesn’t change the facts. I’m not saying don’t do church. Do it. But you need to rethink the way you’re going to do church this coming Sunday (in the same way the world is seriously postponing and rethinking the way they do large events), which leads me to the third statement we need to reconsider…

3. “I don’t care what anyone says, we’re going to sing this Sunday.”

Our governor in California laid out guidelines for churches this week and one of them was “no singing.” If you just read the above reports, you see why. But for some reason this is a point of contention for many. Some of you might have seen some viral videos this week of people speaking out about this (some from people who are typically dogmatic on issues, speaking first, thinking later…)

Here’s the thing: If any doctor were to truly read the above CDC reports about church, I know they would recommend the following to be safe: (And I’ll keep it simple)

1. People need to wear masks. Period.

2. No singing. 

3. Practice social distancing.

4. No communion, snacks, eating or drinking of any kind.

5. Have hand sanitizer widely available.

Are these logistical messes? Yes. But that’s okay.

And honestly, I think if churches have the option, it’s probably even smarter to meet outside rather than in a petri dish… I mean… building.

And finally, I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard this one…

4. “We’re done with this. We’re not social distancing anymore.”

Last week I was shopping for my family. I have three “high risk” people on our property, two people over 75 and a pregnant woman. So I’ve been wearing masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing every time I go to the grocery store.

Less than half the people in my community wear masks.

Last week I was in the grocery store and a dad and his 7-year-old son (both unmasked) came down the same isle as me, got so close to me he literally brushed up against me, and then they went on their way. I watched them and they did the same to others. Their body language was reeking, “Get out of our way. This whole COVID thing is stupid.”

A little reminder: We are almost at 100,000 COVID deaths in the U.S. alone.

Sorry to inconvenience you, sir.

Guess what. If you don’t want to wear a mask, I can’t make you. But if you’re rubbing up next to people unmasked, it only takes once. Again… your risk. But if you are now a carrier, you might not even know it, and you are now “forcing” others to engage in that risk with you.

Just to be clear. I think we need to be proactively reopening businesses, surgeries, etc. But we need to get rid of this attitude of, “I’m done with this.”

“It’s no big deal.” I’ve heard some say.

Tell that to my friend who lost both his parents to COVID-19.

This Sunday churches have an opportunity to show wisdom and grace to their congregation and their community. Don’t look back a month from now and regret saying something in ignorance.

My favorite training of the year

Posted on: 05/18/20 10:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve been to a lot of youth ministry conferences over the last couple decades…some really good ones. But one of my favorites is always the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC). And it will be no exception this year. (And I promise you…I don’t get a thing for posting this. I’m truly just pointing you toward a worthwhile opportunity!) 

Check it out: #NYWC20  (and check out below for the special buy-one-get-one regulation on launch day- today- Monday!)

Here’s the thing about this conference… literally everyone is there!

Last year someone grabbed me in the hallway and asked me which workshop they should go to and I looked at the list. During that specific slot their choice of speakers was me, Doug Fields, Greg Stier, Kara Powell, Scott Rubin and about another ten good options. I told them honestly… “You can’t go wrong with ANY of these!” (In fact, I think they attended Greg’s, and then got the audio download for the rest of them.)

And this year, it’s actually going to be even better. This year the conference is going to be focusing even more on giving you that individual attention you need. I kid you not. All of the workshop presenters will be available to hang out with you between sessions and dialogue with you about ministry.

And if you sign up today… Monday… (the day this blog was posted)… you will get an extra registration to share with someone else (yeah… that’s a $200 savings… the cheapest you’ll get all year!!!) And if you register after Monday… it’s still a slamming deal. Jump on the web site and take a peek for yourself!

So what are you waiting for?

Getting Jonathan Screen-to-Screen

Posted on: 05/11/20 5:54 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s interesting how things have changed in the last few months, with every single one of my school assemblies, parent workshops, and speaking at conferences postponed. I’ve given more people ZOOM attention in the last 8 weeks than in the last 8 years combined.

So here’s an opportunity to get some screen-to-screen love (which isn’t as good as having me come to your city in person…but on the bright side, it’s literally almost 1/10th the cost).

Click on this page and check out the new ZOOM workshops we’re offering. It’s kinda fun. I jump on one page with a bunch of parents from one church, one school, one organization… give them some fresh help and then answer their questions personally…screen-to-screen.

In short, you can have me do my PARENTING GENERATION SCREEN, or HELPING TEENS WITH SCREENS, or a special Covid-19 “Teen’s & Screen-Time in the Meantime” workshop… all via ZOOM. And you can record it as a resource for your church or organization in the future.

Here’s the thing; if you do this ZOOM workshop I’m throwing in a free coaching session as well. The reason why? Whenever someone brings me to their city I usually sit with them for a meal or two and we get a chance to hang out and talk life, ministry, and the future. So I don’t want people to be robbed of this.

So check out this page and talk with me if you’d like to bring this affordable ZOOM workshop to the parents at your church, school or organization (or just CLICK HERE to contact me about doing a ZOOM workshop for you). Let me know how I can help and let’s connect.

Movies minus the language, violence, etc.

Posted on: 05/4/20 2:13 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’re a parent and you like movies, then you might find it difficult to find some “family friendly” movies or shows that are actually appropriate for your kids.

Take Neflix’s Stranger Things for example. Really fun show, creative, well written… but if your kids are 6, 8 and 10, the language and frightening scenes might be a little much.

Or let’s say you nostalgically remember watching Goonies as a teen, so you rent it and stream it on Continue reading “Movies minus the language, violence, etc.”

Texting and social media “may not be enough”

Posted on: 04/27/20 3:22 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week Common Sense Media released the results of their most recent teen survey…during this Coronavirus epidemic… asking teens not only about screen-time, but their feelings and fears through all this.

The two numbers that jumped out at me the most were these:

  • 48% say they feel less connected than usual with their friends right now.

Common sense suggests that even though Continue reading “Texting and social media “may not be enough””

The unedited list of the top 10 books I’ve ever read

Posted on: 04/21/20 1:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week a Christian radio network asked me to provide them with  a little glimpse into my personal life, specifically the top 10 books I’ve enjoyed reading.

My first response was laughter…because my wife Lori always teases me how I don’t want to read at night. I always tell her, “Baby, after reading studies all day and writing…the LAST thing I want to do at night is more reading.”

But she loves reading, so we’ve compromised and I’ve found that I can relax if I Continue reading “The unedited list of the top 10 books I’ve ever read”

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Talking with Focus about Families Stuck at Home Together

Posted on: 04/17/20 12:17 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today I’ll be on Focus on the Family’s Daily Broadcast talking about what families can do while stuck home together. Focus President Jim Daly and I talk about some specific ways moms and dads can be proactive about helping their kids through these strange times.

If you turn on your radio to your nearest Christian radio station that plays the daily Focus Broadcast, you’ll hear the conversation (and you can look up which station HERE). Or you can stream the broadcast Continue reading “Talking with Focus about Families Stuck at Home Together”

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