Interesting Feedback

Posted on: 01/12/11 10:40 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s been interesting to see how people have been responding to the new article we just posted on our free TRAINING TOOLS page, an excerpt from my new book, MINISTRY BY TEENAGERS.

The article, chapter one in my book, addresses a problem I’ve noticed in some churches– a tendency to provide a lot of fun and entertainment, while not developing a lot of disciples of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not one of those guys saying, “Dodgeball doesn’t work!” “Pizza parties don’t work!” I think these elements can open doors to great ministry… and that’s the key. They are just tools to open doors to ministry. They aren’t the ministry in itself. I’ll quote the article:

Will playing dodgeball, attending Christian rock concerts, and participating in icebreakers be the only youth ministry experiences our kids have to lean on when they face the real world? Or are those activities opening doors to something more foundational for their lives?

In the article/book I also talk about how our games and skits are our number one accessed pages on our web site. I was sad, hoping that our “outreach discussions” or “spiritual growth” discussions would be.

Here’s a couple peices of feedback:

This morning I received an encouraging email from Michelle, In Michigan. She offered her two cents on that subject:

Hey Jonathan, I just read your article on “Ministry to/BY Teenagers.” I just wanted to encourage you by saying that your site is a HUGE help to many of us. Perhaps the reason that the Games and Skits pages of your site get the most hits is because of internet search engines. Sometimes, a youth leader has a lesson plan all worked out, and is simply looking for a quick game or skit to accompany. They do a search on google, and up comes your site. Just a thought… Anyway, I love EVERYTHING about your site, and your books are among my favorite resources on my shelves.

You make a difference. Thank you!


Thanks Michelle. I hope you’re right. I hope that most people are making the Gospel a priority.

And from Steve:

I find your insightful thoughs on youth ministry and the particulars of reaching youth for Christ.  The youth culture today is big into entertainment and the resources you share are wonderful.  However, we must pray and lead our youth to engage God’s word.  There are to many nominal Christians and we must raise up spiritual young people who can lead.  We as leaders must lead by example.  Thank you for sharing your Ezine message with us.  It is insightful and challenges me personally as a leader to evaluate my ministry.



And from Scott in AZ.

Just got your email about the what ministry by students looks like. I am a Jr. High youth worker and wanted to let you be aware that your site has help me a lot with my small group and my teaching’s every Sunday. After or during my teaching I like to have the students break off into groups with a leader and talk about what we have been discussing. I have been very bless by your movie clip discussions for idea’s on questions I can ask my youth that has to go with the teaching. When I first took over the youth group a little over six months ago very few students even knew what the good news is and what it means to be a Christian. The training tools on your website have really help me on developing students to be able to not only understand what it mean to be a christian but how to live that life and be able to rely on God for there faith and not what some one told them. Keep up the good work!

Good feedback.

We need to have fun with kids. There are a time and a place for pure fun activities (that’s why we provide so many ideas for them on our website). But I hope that our ministry provides more than just “food.” In John, Chapter 6, Jesus had just fed a bunch of people and they showed up again for more “food.” Jesus basically said, “Why are you guys just seeking perishable things like food when you should be seeking the eternal life that I offer.”

Two interesting things. Jesus DID feed people and meet their physical needs. But after meeting that need, he addressed a much more important need.

Food for thought.

Stimulating Meetings

Posted on: 01/10/11 3:15 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m in TX right now co-keynoting with my dad at a conference for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It’s kinda fun sharing the stage with my dad, talking about recruiting, training and managing this “New Breed” (the title of our book together) of volunteers in ministry today.

My dad just posted a new Feature Article on his free Volunteer Power website, an article about how to run a stimulating and motivating meeting with your staff, paid and unpaid. Here’s just a glimpse:

A great way to start the New Year is with energizing and stimulating staff meetings. Actually, invigorating staff meetings are great any time of the year, but I am always looking for ways to engage my paid and non-paid staff in a productive discussion to set the tone and opportunities for the new year. The rousing discussion part is not hard because most people are ready to share their opinions on most topics. What proves to be a constant challenge is the productive part. Leaders strive to have each participant walk away with some significant “take-aways that they are motivated to put to immediate use.

One way to focus your discussion is to hand out a relevant, short, informational, and motivating discussion starter. Give each staff member five to ten minutes to read the hand-out at the beginning of the meeting. A couple of years ago I had the staff over to my home for the morning. After I served them food, I handed out a short article with a few discussion questions. I was lucky in that we had a wonderful warm day (rare in Northern California for January) and they spread out all over the back yard to read and reflect. I encouraged them to mark up the article, question it, underline and circle sections or key thoughts. Then they took another ten minutes…

Good stuff. Click here for the whole article.

This reminds me of the some of the training tool ideas we offered you on this page, How to Train Your Own Volunteers. Hopefully both of these are good resources for you as you seek to equip your team in 2011.

My Favorite Resources and Training from 2010

Posted on: 01/5/11 4:26 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’re like me, you’re already off to “full sprint” in 2011.

Here’s some of my favorite free resources and training that our ministry provided in 2010. What were yours? I covet your feedback!

Use the comment feature and tell me which of our tools have helped you in this past year!

Here’s a quick glimpse of mine!


1. My absolute favorite free training resource we provided last year was the training video “Connecting With the Six Types of Kids.” This video provides a great summary of youth ministry and lays the foundation for relational ministry. This video is a peice of my Connect Training Workshop and my book, CONNECT: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation.

2. My second favorite resource in 2010 is our totally revamped MUSIC DISCUSSIONS page. This page now has comment and rating features, and the ability to organize them by artist, title, topic or user rating. Very cool stuff. That page also has a ton of new discussions. You’ll see Crowder’s Shine, and Everything Glorious, Rihanna’s Only Girl, Airplanes from B.o.B, Taylor Swift’s Mine, TobyMac’s Lose My Soul… and more!

3. How can I ignore the entirely new website we just launched for parents This is an amazing new resource for parents.

4. I love the Youth Culture Window article reviewing the music and the messages of the 17 different songs that went #1 during the year 2010.

I highlighted even more of my favorites in my EZINE this week, including my favorite Youth Culture Window articles of the year. Check that out here.

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In PA and TX this Weekend

Posted on: 01/3/11 4:19 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’re in the Pittsburgh, PA area or the San Antonio, TX area, you can see me this weekend.

I’ll be in Bridgeville, PA on Saturday doing my all-day Connect Workshop for youth workers, both volunteer and paid, from area churches and ministries. It’s from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the cost is only $20, and that includes lunch. (here’s quick video clip of me doing this training)

I’ll be at Cibolo Creek Community Church in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX on Sunday afternoon doing my 2-hour Connect Workshop for youth workers, then a 2-hour Parenting Workshop. These are both free.

Click here for more info on either of these training opportunities.

I’m starting to book a lot of both youth worker trainings and parenting workshops already for 2011. If you’re interested in bringing me out to your city, send me an email at

I’ve also developed a new training workshop based on my brand new book, Ministry by Teenagers. I taught this at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention last year. I’ll be teaching it again this coming year in ATL and CA.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about these training opportunities: (I wonder if it’s possible for me to stick just one more hyperlink into this email?)