Not Ashamed of a One Night Stand

Posted on: 06/30/08 1:42 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I guess energy drinks will try anything to market their product.

Not much to be said here… I’ll just quote the ad word for word:

“When you wake up ‘the morning after’ in a strange place, don’t be ashamed. Jump start your body and mind with the electrolytes and B-Vitamins in AMP Energy Relaunch…”


The racy video ad (warning, even though this ad has no nudity, it’s definitely raunchy) with it’s catchy tune and downloadable lyrics has gone viral. calls it how they see it:

By creating a funny, viral-worthy campaign to which most of us can relate, AMP has delivered a nifty piece of Marketing Inspiration.

With success of these kind of campaigns… you can bet we’ll be seeing more of them.


A Virtual “Pick Up Joint” for Teens

Posted on: 06/28/08 8:45 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A 13-year-old can’t go “clubbing” on Friday night… right?

Maybe a decade ago. But now, the sky’s the limit. Actually… there are very few limits at

Parents… brace yourselves.

I didn’t know much about this web site that provides a venue for 3-D chatting, virtual making out, and prancing around in skimpy clothes that Mommy and Daddy probably wouldn’t approve. I’d seen the ads for the site before, but never visited it.

After reading that IMVU has grown to 20 million users (the majority of which are teenagers), I figured it was time to check it out. Within three minutes of browsing the site, I knew we needed to write a Youth Culture Window on the subject. So that’s what we did. I had David investigate the site thoroughly and write up the article.

This past week David and I both have dove into this virtual world to “gave her a spin.” We were amazed with what we saw and experienced. Kids mingling with adults in ways so taboo… I can’t believe Dateline isn’t on the scene. In this 3-D pick up world, authenticity is nothing, looks are everything, and morals are nowhere to be found.

You’ll want to definitely read David’s full article here.

Lend Your Infant to NBC

Posted on: 06/26/08 10:54 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Who would lend out their infant as a reality show challenge?

Add in the fact that a teenage couple will be raising your kid on camera… and you can bet that NBC didn’t choose the brightest of teens for this challenge.

Yesterday on the plane I read a brilliant USA Today article about the new NBC reality show Baby Borrowers… and I wanted you to see it. Beautifully written. A great commentary about the direction our entertainment has gone.

Here’s a snippet:

On the heels of the now-disputed story about a New England teenage pregnancy pact, NBC is selling the show as if it were electronic birth control. Even if societal improvement were the goal, and it’s not, Baby wouldn’t do much to achieve it. Any teenager who has watched a reality show knows these kids were chosen to fail, and to be ill-behaved brats while doing so.

What manipulation can’t achieve, editing does. The show lovingly dwells on every snit-fit and flaw, particularly that adolescent know-it-all attitude that causes them to respond to criticism as if it were an assault on the deference they assume is their natural due. Still, try to keep in mind that they’ve been lent to the show as well — and by adults who should know better.

Click here for the entire article.

Religion a Salad Bar in America

Posted on: 06/24/08 5:51 PM | by Jonathan McKee

“Religion today in the USA is a salad bar where people heap on upbeat beliefs they like and often leave the veggies — like strict doctrines — behind.”

Wow… what an indictment! That’s USA Today’s summary of the new data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life‘s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,000 Americans. Most of these findings seem to parallel studies I quoted a few years ago about today’s culture in my Do They Run When They See You Coming book about reaching out to unchurched students.

This 2008 survey reveals some interesting findings about U.S. religious beliefs. A few highlights:

• 92% U.S. adults believe in God

58% say they pray at least once a day.

• 78% overall say there are “absolute standards of right and wrong,” but only 29% rely on their religion to delineate these standards. The majority (52%) turn to “practical experience and common sense,” with 9% relying on philosophy and reason, and 5% on scientific information.

• 74% say “there is a heaven, where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded,” but far fewer (59%) say there’s a “hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without being sorry are eternally punished.”

• 70%, including a majority of all major Christian and non-Christian religious groups except Mormons, say “many religions can lead to eternal life.”

• 68% say “there’s more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.”

• 44% want to preserve their religion’s traditional beliefs and practices. But most Catholics (67%), Jews (65%), mainline Christians (56%) and Muslims (51%) say their religion should either “adjust to new circumstances” or “adopt modern beliefs and practices.”

• 50% say “homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society,” but the most consistently traditional religious groups say society should discourage it — 76% of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 68% of Mormons, 61% of Muslims and 64% of evangelicals.

• 51% have a certain belief in a personal God, but 27% are less certain of this, 14% call God “an impersonal force,” and 5% reject any kind of God. “People say ‘God,’ and no one knows who they mean,” says Kosmin, director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

• 14% of all surveyed, including 28% of evangelicals, say religion is the “main influence in their political thinking.”

Check out this link for a fantastic little interactive graph with a collection of these findings. Very cool! (Pew Forum always has great research- you heard a few of these results from us recently in our Youth Culture Window article on church attendance).

Another interesting fact about all of this… apparently my home state of California proved to be “less religious” than other states. (Oh stop it… I know, I know!) LA Times summarized some of these findings.

These are great facts to familiarize ourselves with to better understand the culture we’re trying to reach out to.

8.9 Million Kids and Camp Rock

Posted on: 06/23/08 4:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Everyone knew it would be big… the question was, How big? I’m, of course, talking about Disney Channel’s Friday night debut of their “original movie” Camp Rock, starring none other than the Jonas Brothers (more on that boy band made up of preacher’s kids here).

I speculated about it a little bit in my Saturday blog with a few facts about it’s release. Some people even piped in saying that it wasn’t as good as HSM or HSM2 (please don’t make me type out High School Musical). It will be interesting to listen to what kids are saying. My daughters (10 and 12) watched it and said that it was, and I quote, “Waaaaaaaaaay better than HSM or HSM2.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because the music was better… and the Jonas brothers were in it. I don’t know. It was just waaaaaaaay better!”

Hollywood Reporter chimes in with more about the debut:

Disney Channel’s Jonas Brothers movie “Camp Rock” debuted big Friday night, though it didn’t match last year’s record-setting “High School Musical 2.”

“Camp Rock,” which features a slew of musical performances, averaged 8.9 million total viewers at 8-10 p.m. Friday, making it the network’s No. 2 most-watched original movie ever behind “HSM 2,” according to Nielsen. “Camp Rock” pulled in about half of that movie’s audience (17.2 million) in its Aug. 17 premiere.

However, “Camp Rock” did rank as the network’s most-watched nonsequel movie ever, outperforming the original “HSM,” which debuted in January 2006 to 7.7 million viewers, and other original movies like “Jump In!” which averaged 8.2 million in January 2007.

I’m just happy that kids were watching something clean!

300 jr. highers

Posted on: 06/22/08 11:29 AM | by Jonathan McKee

My family just got back from a weeklong camp where I spoke to about 300 jr. highers. The week was fantastic. The kids really responded to the messages, with about 40 kids making first time decisions to follow Christ that week, and even more making commitments to purge habits or temptations from their life and recommit to live for Him. The week also provided my family with some great “down” time between talks. We hiked, kayak, watched almost the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy (yeah… that takes a while) … we just enjoyed some good time of “chilling.” I really enjoy the every once in a while that I get to bring my family on these trips.

Pray specifically for two kids from this camp… I’ll call them “Brian” and “Andrew.” They stopped by our family’s cabin one night at the camp to just thank me for what I shared. Both have been getting into some trouble at home, smoking a lot of weed and looking for answers. They said that this week provided those answers. They want to go back and live differently. We talked about how they could do that.

Please pray for these two kids. According to brand new Center for Disease Control “Youth Risk Behavior” report, 49.1% of today’s students have tried marijuana by the time they graduate from high school, and 25% of them are current users (have used in the last 30 days). Not all kids smoke weed. But kids are looking for answers in all the wrong places. I love the opportunity to be able to point kids like  “Brian” and “Andrew” toward answers that fulfill. 

God is good!

What Teens Are Watching This Weekend

Posted on: 06/21/08 7:35 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The Malls were quiet on Friday night… the streets were a little less crowded. Where were all the tweens and young teenage girls?

At home watching CAMP ROCK on the Disney Channel.

Yes, if you thought TV’s High School Musical was big… it will be interesting to see the results of Camp Rock, starring none other than the Jonas Brothers (who if you don’t know, are huge! Click here for our Youth Culture Window about this hot Hollywood boy band of preacher’s kids that has maintained a clean slate so far.)

The show premiered on Disney last night (Friday) at 8:00 p.m. and can also be seen on ABC FAMILY on Sunday night, and on Monday night.

E online says, “it’s pretty much guaranteed to be huge.” The single from the film is already #6 on iTunes and the Camp Rock Album release only a few days ago and is already the #11 album on Amazon.

It will be interesting to hear the “post Camp Rock” buzz Monday.

Finally Some Good News About Virginity Pledges

Posted on: 06/19/08 9:20 AM | by Jonathan McKee

If you follow the news and the media, you know that when you hear the words “abstinence education” or “virginity pledges” … most likely they are followed with reports of how ineffective they are.

Last week we heard a different story.

Reuters reported about a Rand Corporation study that shows virginity pledges to actually be slightly helpful.

Taking a pledge to remain a virgin until married may help some teens and young adults in delaying the start of sexual activity, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

A study by the Rand Corporation research institute found that 34 percent of youths who took such pledges as teens had had sexual intercourse within three years compared to 42 percent of similar teens who did not make virginity pledges.

The Rand team said they had taken into account differences such as religious beliefs, parenting and friendship characteristics.

If some of you are wondering why we should be excited about a pledge that is only 1/3 effective… I understand your confusion (and frustration). But realize… most reports up to this point have mocked such pledges, concluding that those that take virginity pledges are actually more likely to engage in oral sex, and are more likely to get pregnant (I talked about this before in previous blogs).

But this Rand study (and a recent Alan Guttmacher study) show different.

Some researchers had speculated that teens might substitute other sexual activities such as oral sex for intercourse.

But the Rand study found that those who pledged were no more likely to engage in sexual behaviors that fall short of full intercourse than other comparable youth — findings that fit in with a study by the non-profit Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York last month.

Again… I’m not jumping for joy. If you read what I just read, it says that these kids are “no more likely” than other comparable youth. That just means that those who take these pledges aren’t MORE likely to go to third base since they pledged to not “hit a home run.” Unfortunately they seem to be just as likely to engage in these activities as those who didn’t take the pledges.

But it’s nice to see some data that these pledges aren’t “harmful.” This is the first report I’ve seen in a while that actually showed them to be slightly helpful.

The Reuters article even went on to say…

“Waiting until you are older to have sex is good for teens from a health standpoint,” Martino said in a statement. “There are lots of reasons for more kids to wait until they are older.”

Wow. It’s nice to hear some good new every once in a while.

(thanks to for the article)

What Are Your Best Swimming Pool Activity Ideas?

Posted on: 06/17/08 8:58 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today’s EZINE features some of our best swimming pool activity ideas. In that EZINE I told you that I’d blog about it so you could add your own ideas using the comment feature of this blog. (We are reworking the back end of our site right now so that you’ll be able to comment, vote, etc. with all our articles and resources. But for today you can use my blog to add your 2 cents.)

So check out our “Top 10 Swimming Pool Activity Ideas” below… and then add your own!

HERE’S OUR TOP 10 SWIMMING POOL IDEAS: some entire events, some games and activities. Some of these require bigger pools like those at camps or community centers. Others could be done in the pools in people’s backyards.

Dive In Movie Night: This is one of my favorite summer activity ideas. In high school ministry I try to rotate this one in at least every four years so kids get to experience it once. Basically, watch a “water” themed movie while floating in the pool (personally, I always select “Jaws”). Have everyone bring something to float on (we never charged admission, a tube or a raft was their ticket in). Click here for more about this event   idea.

Water Joust: This activity is always a hit (no pun intended). Two people stand on a large raft and battle each other with noodles or blow up toys like the traditional joust game. (This requires a pretty large inflatable raft that at least two students can stand on and battle each other- I’ve done this on the traditional “queen size” inflatable mattress made for the water. This can ONLY be done in a large pool where kids can stand on a raft with no danger of falling and hitting their heads on the pool edge. Have spotters with flotation devices at the edge of the pool for an extra safety stop). Rotate different kids through battling each other. Have a championship at the end for those with the most wins. For large groups only a few can participate; but it’s a great spectator sport.

Change Dive: Simple but loved by all. Get anywhere from $10 to $100 in change: quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Throw it all in and spread throughout the pool. Gather everyone around the edge of the pool. Offer a prize for the person who collects the most money and yell “Go!”

Watermelon Polo: Get a small to medium sized watermelon and smear it in some sort of petroleum jelly like Vaseline. Float a hula hoop on each end of the pool and divide into teams. Play water polo with the greased melon and the floating hoops as goals. Great fun!

Summer Luau: Don’t underestimate the popularity of the age ol’ Hawaiian themed pool party with grass skirts, coconuts and tiki torches. Play Hawaiian music, serve tropical fruit drinks and cook Pumba! (Hakuna Matata!)

Raft Creation: This competition takes a little more time. Give each group or team a certain number of the largest trash can bags you can find and some tape/rope etc. You can inflate them, cut them, tape them… anything. See who can build the strongest raft and then, at a specified time, race across the width of the pool.

Belly Flop Contest: Yes, the ol’ belly flop contest is always a hit. Give each person an opportunity to get themselves ready, get into a quick costume (cape, mask, draw a target on their belly with a sharpie…), then announce them one at a time. Have a panel of judges hold up numbers, rating them 1-10.

Pool Waterskiing: Yes, you can water ski in a pool! (Only do at a camp or some place with an Olympic sized pool!) The trick is in the pulling. I use to see it done at a camp where they had a pickup truck ready to pull just outside the pool fence. The key is that you DON’T tie the rope to the truck… you have a strong staff guy bracing himself and holding a water ski rope in the back of a truck just outside the pool area. When the skier yells, “Hit it!” the truck takes off and skis the person 3/4 the way across the pool before the person in the truck lets go of the pull rope (for safety). (Try it several times in advance with some staff people to get the timing down and to know when to let go of the rope. Also have spotters with flotation devices at the edge of the pool for an extra safety stop).

Poolside Steal the Bacon: Just like Steal the Bacon with its many variations, but in the pool. Two teams can either be in the water or standing on the opposite sides of the pool (if you have a deep enough deep end that allows for safe diving in). The “Bacon” can be anything (ball, rag, raft, a penny, be creative here) and can be floating on the water, sunk to the bottom, or even in the process of sinking.

Water Ballet: Give each team (works best with teams of less than 10 people) a certain amount of time to perform a synchronized swimming/water ballet routine that involves EVERY team member. Play classical music through a sound system or boom box, if possible.

Dumb Jokes That Are Funny

Posted on: 06/14/08 9:35 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Ashley (my 10-year-old) told me a joke this week that actually made me laugh audibly. I don’t know what’s funny about this joke… but it got me:

Two muffins were sitting in an oven. One muffin said to the other, “Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?”

And the other muffin said, “Aaaaugh! A talking muffin!!!”

Dumb… but funny. Show me what you got!

(added later: Ha… we’ve already got some good ones coming in. I love Lane’s “seal” joke… that’s awesome!)

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