Lame Tweet Guy

Posted on: 04/29/11 2:03 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I think I’m going to reward some of you for Tweeting. (Wow, that sounds really weird without context) Yes, let’s have another little contest where I’ll give away a choice of any of my books in print. More on that in a minute.

Call me a hypocrite, but I’m really not much of a Tweeter. Yes, I have a Twitter page that I tweet on about once a day… but that doesn’t mean I like it! I think some people do like it. I can see the excitement of it in some of the people I follow. But I gotta admit, I’ve never been a fan of tweeting stuff like, “I’m mowing my lawn now!”

So I’ve tried to be good with my Tweets. I’ve tried to make them either funny, or informative or announcing something pretty cool. But all along, part of me still wonders, am I just that guy who’s saying, “Gotta go gas up the car now!”

This gave me an idea. My daughter Ashley and I started coming up with some really lame tweet ideas. “I just shaved.” or “I just pet my dog.” This gave us an idea!

I won’t take ownership of this… but I’ll just tell you this. There is now a guy out there in Twitterland called LAME TWEET GUY. (Hmmmmm. I wonder who he is!)   🙂      Here’s some of his tweets so far:

I just changed a lightbulb. 

Buying some new socks.

Just filled my dog’s water bowl.

Trimming my nose hairs.

Eating corn right now.

I’m going to the store to buy some romaine lettuce.

You can find LAME TWEET GUY by popping on my Twitter page here— then you’ll see him in my list of all the cool people I follow (I only follow 17 people). What can I say. I really enjoy LAME TWEET GUY’S tweets! He’s way more entertaining than me!

Oh yeah… THE CONTEST!!!! Okay… simple. I’ll give 5 people a choice of any of my books in print by simply beginning to follow either LAME TWEET GUY or me. Just follow one of us, or both of us (If you don’t have a Twitter page, take a few seconds and sign up, it’s simple and free), and you’ll be added to the running to win a book. I’ll draw 5 winners randomly next week and post them in this blog.

Well… I gotta go mow my lawn now.

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Leadership Lessons from the Shirtless Guy

Posted on: 04/27/11 3:52 PM | by Jonathan McKee

My dad sent me this video, a great little piece about “leadership” and, more importantly, how a movement is made. Dad and I are always looking out for good leadership discussion and training pieces for our NEW BREED training workshops.

This is a great little tool (regardless of how shoddy the camera work is) to provoke discussion at a leaders’ meeting.

(CLICK HERE if you don’t see the embedded video)

I love the following three statements. These would be great to hand out on a piece of paper to your leadership team and simply ask: Agree or disagree? Why? Are there scriptural truths to back up this idea?

1. Remember the importance of nurturing the first few followers as equals. It’s about the movement, not you!

2. It was the first follower transformed the “lone nut” into a leader.

3. We’re told that we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective. The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in.

Jonathan… or Snookie?

Posted on: 04/26/11 12:11 PM | by Jonathan McKee

“Well… I’m cheaper than Snookie!”

Yeah, that’s probably not a great place to set the bar.    🙂   (more on Snookie speaking in a moment)

As most of you know, I do quite a bit of speaking and training around the country, usually not more than twice a month away from home (simply because I don’t want to be the “deadbeat dad” speaker guy). So here’s a glimpse inside the life of someone who travels speaking and training. Each of us do it a little bit differently. But two things have never changed for me in the last 10 years: my price for a training or parent workshop, and the way I book.

1. MY PRICE: For the last 10 years, I’ve never raised the price of my workshops. Gas is more, flights are more… but Jonathan is still $2,000 total for workshops, that includes all travel… everything. All that money goes 100% to our ministry and the free resources and training we provide. My board and I have made an effort to keep that price as low as possible since “equipping” is a huge part of our vision. (My “speaking” and “keynote” prices are a little more, but training is always only $2,000.)

But every once in a while I get someone who doesn’t understand the price. They wonder why I can’t fly from California to Alabama and speak for a week for $300. I’ve even been told that if I had more faith, I’d speak for free.


Well, earlier this month Jersey Shore’s Snookie was booked to speak at Rudgers for a price of $32,000… and parents were outraged. I don’t blame em.’ That’s $10,000 more than annual tuition there! (Fox News).

Even though most people actually find my prices cheap, I’ve had several experiences where people tried to book me and were surprised at why I’d be $2,000 to come in and train. I simply tell them to feel free to call some of the other people who do what I do and check prices. Usually I get a call back in a day or two with a, “Okay… you’re cheap. Let’s book you!”

2. NO AGENT: For the last 10 years, I’ve never used a speaking “agent” because I really like the personal interaction and communication with the people that I’m ministering with.

About 15 years ago I was the guy booking speakers and bands. Every time, without exception, that I had a problem with a speaker or a band… it was because of miscommunication. “Your agent said that…” or “I thought you were supposed to…”

In my book about programming events I spend a whole chapter talking about booking speakers and another chapter about booking bands. Those chapters are filled with hilarious stories of miscommunication and disaster. Let’s just say, I always want to make sure that those of us doing ministry together are working as a team together.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are some of the experiences you’ve had good and bad with speakers/trainers?

Gaga’s Judas

Posted on: 04/25/11 8:38 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Gaga is at it again… poking at what’s sacred.

This time it’s her new song, Judas, a song where basically she conveys that she identifies a little more with Judas than Jesus.

Where did Gaga get this idea? She tells the Washington Times… from God.

“I feel like honestly that God sent me those [“Judas”] lyrics and that melody,” Lady Gaga said, crying. “When you feel a message to give to the world and people are shooting arrows through it … there’s no way for something that pure to be wrong.”

(Click here for that entire article)

David wrote an entire YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW article about the song this week, including some great questions we can ask our kids. Take a peek here.

The song isn’t doing that well. It went #1 on iTunes when it was leaked, but I’ve been watching it sink for the last week. It was #2, then 4… then #8 over the weekend. As of this morning (Monday), it’s #14.


Connection Between Pop Music and Depression

Posted on: 04/19/11 12:58 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Earlier this month posted an article with some fascinating findings about the connection between pop music and depression.

I encourage you to check out the entire article, but here’s just a snippet:

…in terms of media exposure, the more they (children) listened to music (via MP3 or CD players), the greater the likelihood of having major depressive disorder.

When the researchers divided media exposure into four levels, ranging from least to most exposure, they found each increasing level of music exposure was associated with an 80 percent increase in depression risk.

In contrast, exposure to print media was linked to a lower risk for depression. With each increasing level of exposure to print media, depression risk dropped by 50 percent.

TV, Internet, and video game exposure was not found to have a statistically significant association with depression risk one way or the other.

You can read the entire article HERE for context.

One thing I really like about the article is the fact that they acknowledge the chicken or the egg dilemma (my wording) with this kind of study. In other words, are songs making kids depressed, or are depressed kids listening to more music to cope? The article basically contends, we don’t know which… but there’s a noticeable connection.

As a guy who has three teenagers of his own, works with junior high students, and studies pop culture for a living, here’s my own observations:

1. Music affects our kids way more than they think. If you’ve read my blog for even a few months, you’ve seen me cite  the research over an over again.

2. Parents need to do a better job at monitoring the time our kids spend saturating media. Don’t take it from me, don’t take it from Dobson… take it from doctors at the Kaiser Foundation or The American Academy of Pediatrics. The research is overwhelming: we need to take notice of anything that takes up this much time in our kids’ lives. And we also need to set healthy media boundaries. I spend a whole chapter talking about this in my parenting book.

3. Consider a media fast. Call me extreme, but I’ve seen it work. All three of my kids just left for mission trips this week, mission trips that required each kid to choose something to fast from for one month. My son Alec, by his own choosing, fasted from video games for a month, my 15-year-old Alyssa fasted from TV and any music that wasn’t worship music, my 13-year-old Ashley did the same. This is the second year they’ve done this fast and the results were amazing. We spent more time in conversation and Bible this past month than in years. THE KEY: This was kid driven. They chose what they needed to fast from. I don’t recommend that all parents try to get their kids to fast from media for a whole month. But as parents build solid relationships with their kids and talk about these issues, they can easily suggest that the family tries a one day fast? Maybe a week?

Last week I was hanging with a junior high kid who I had been noticing some odd behaviors from. While the other kids were hanging out and talking with each other, he was isolating himself and listening to his iPod. I chatted with him for a while, then later, when he had his ear buds in, I asked him, “Hey, whatcha listening to?” I put my hand out like I wanted to see his iPod. He hesitated, then handed it to me. He was listening to Eminem (explicit in more ways than one).

I was talking with my daughter Ashley about this experience a few days later and she asked me, “How come you always want to see a kid’s iPod, Dad?”

I smiled. “Because the iPod is the window to the heart.”

Movies Reflecting Our Culture… Good and Bad

Posted on: 04/18/11 3:16 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I don’t know about your kids, but teenagers in my area are off school this week for Easter break (Yeah, I’m calling it Easter Break!), and many of them are heading to the movie theatres for a variety of choices. So Todd and I kicked it into high gear last weekend and did a handful of movie reviews & quick Q’s for you guys, each complete with discussion questions to dialogue with kids when the movie is over.

One of the most interesting youth culture phenomena’s in the theatre right now is the brand new scary film, Scream 4, simply because the Scream films have always been on the cutting edge of pop youth culture. This new film falls in suit, trying to truly represent the Facebook and smartphone generation. But the trait that David and I observed the most out of this film was this generation’s increasing desire to see MORE!

David and I wrote our Youth Culture Window article this week about this film for that very reason. Here’s just a glimpse:

…The nefarious Ghostface has returned after 10 long years. But this time, the killer is playing by new rules.

Scream 4’s premise of “new decade, new rules” might just be more accurate and foretelling about pop culture than you realize. Today’s blockbusters have to go to a new distance, more extreme in every way. Today’s kids want more… and our culture is willing to provide it.

What compelled Wes Craven to return and add to the Scream trilogy after over a decade? (Besides money!)

According to Internet buzz, Wes wouldn’t even consider a 4th Scream without a script that was “as good as the first Scream.” But this time, the challenge was even greater. Create a fourth film that feels as fresh and representative of today’s young people as the first film did for teenagers in the 90’s.

And that’s exactly why we’re writing about this film in our Youth Culture Window section this week, because the filmmakers made a special effort to try to capture and reflect today’s young people. Time will tell, but Scream 4 will probably achieve both.

After reviewing the film, I (Jonathan) admit, I’m torn. On one hand, I admit that the film accurately portrays much of this young, cocky and desensitized generation. Yet, on the other hand, the film itself is a perfect example of the very irresponsible, imitatable opus that has helped mold these young people to what they have become.

Click here for the entire article. (The film took second in the box office this past weekend.)

Todd and I reviewed the film together, each of us giving it a “Skip It” score. In that review, we discuss scary films in general, and I share why I think films like Scream 4 were merely “gratuitous.” I give three examples of this unnecessary display of violence, teenage partying, and an unrealistic and unattainable image-standard for young girls. You can click here for that review.

Todd and I reviewed more theatrical releases, you can check them all out on our MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Q’s page. Another noteworthy movie was the new Russell Brand and Helen Mirren film, Arthur. This film really surprised me. Here’s a snippet of my Arthur review:

I’ll be honest. There were about 20 reasons I really wanted to dislike this film, the biggest being Russell Brand, the raucous British comedian who is a terrible role model to young people and hasn’t had a good film yet. I figured that Arthur would be more of the same: a warped premise, and dirty humor to fill in the cracks. I was concerned because the film has been marketed to the younger generation (including Brand’s appearance on American Idol, a myriad of funny previews during popular teen programming, as well as the PG-13 rating. Teenagers are going to watch this one!), so I decided to review it.

I was blown away.

I really wanted to hate this film. No, let me rephrase that. I reaaaaaaaaaally wanted to hate this film! But I just couldn’t. In actuality, it was really good!

In that review, I go on to talk about the redemptive message in that film. I was shocked how vivid the film presented the message that “temporary” thrills like money, partying and alcohol just don’t fulfill the big hole in our heart. Yeah… it’s that blatant. Insert altar call here!

So pop on our  on our MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Q’s page and you’ll see our reviews and Q’s of other films like Hanna, Rango and Soul Surfer reviewed by us as well (And here’s my blog with even more on Soul Surfer). I hope that our “QUICK Q” questions continue to be a good resource to you as you talk with your kids about what they watch.

Pray for Us

Posted on: 04/15/11 2:06 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’d really appreciate your prayers for my family, especially this weekend. All five of us are doing ministry in different directions… and one has a 103.5 temperature! (More on that in a minute)

Last night I dropped off my wife Lori and my 8th grade daughter Ashley at the church, and they embarked with our church’s middle school group for a three-day missions trip to the poor areas of San Francisco. They’ll spend the next three days helping out the homeless, the addicted, as well as aids victims. My other two kids have done this trip in years past—amazing. Imagine a junior high student literally washing a homeless person’s feet. It’s a life-changing experience. Lori has gone with our church for the last 3 years.

This morning, I left for Kansas to teach one of my CONNECT workshops, and my son Alec left for his weeklong trip to Southern California where he’ll be working with the homeless, engaging conversations with people on the street, and serving the poor—another great missions experience. As a senior in high school, he leaves early (today), where my daughter Alyssa leaves Sunday—then they both minister for the week.

As of last night, Alyssa had a high fever. She’s missed two days of school so far. She’s so bummed… she’s been looking forward to this Easter Break missions trip all year. She’s hoping to get better by Saturday night so she can leave with the rest of the high school team (about 70 kids) Sunday a.m.

So Lori and I left my parents with a sick kid. Nice, huh?

Please pray for my little Alyssya’s health (okay… she’s 15… but she’s still my little Lyssy).

I also appreciate your prayers for Lori and Ash in SF, me in KS and Alec in Southern CA. I look forward to what God is going to do!

Thanks for your prayers!

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Another Opinion about Soul Surfer

Posted on: 04/13/11 4:20 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve been hearing mixed reviews about the new film Soul Surfer, with its strong Christian message. Here’s an opinion you’ll want to hear.

Let me back up just a bit.

Having missed the screening myself, I sent one of our writer/reviewers Matt Furby to see it a few weeks back. He liked it, but was critical of it’s film making (a little cheesy to some) in his review. This brought in varied responses from our readers (some angry).

Meanwhile, Todd, our other movie reviewer, told me, “Jonathan, I’m bringing some kids to go see the film. Do you want me to send you my two cents when I’m done?” I told him I’d be happy to share a second opinion.

Here’s Todd’s Candid take on SOUL SURFER, from the perspective of a youth pastor and a dad:

I think it’s fair to say that the majority of “Christian films” fall way short when compared to the big budget Hollywood blockbusters. Most of them are straight-to-DVD releases and get little to no exposure. Of course there are always exceptions… The Passion of the Christ, Facing the Giants and Fireproof have given many of us hope that “Christian films” can make an impact in the world and at the box office (forgive me but Facing the Giants and Fireproof still score pretty high on the Cheese Meter).


So when my friend and author of Soul Surfer told me that Hollywood was making a film about Bethany’s story, I had mixed emotions. I wrestled with thoughts like, “Would they do it right?” and “I hope they don’t ruin it.” And then while I was in Nashville at the Youth Specialties conference, Interlinc showed an advance screening. I only got to see the last 15-20 minutes of the rough cut, and I have to be honest…I was not impressed.

Despite mixed reviews, I decided to take a group of my students to see the movie on opening night. I’m still pretty new at my church so I was nervous. I kept thinking if the film was cheesy or worse…if it was just plain bad, how big of a hit would it be to my creditability? As the theater went dark, I actually whispered, “Please don’t suck”.

Over the next 106 minutes, I was blown away. Yeah the movie was great, but what really resonated with me was how my students responded to the film. There were a few laughs and of course they all jumped at the shark attack scene, but there’s something else, something very unexpected…tears. Bethany’s story is so powerful; from dealing with difficulties and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to gaining perspective and showing compassion to others in the midst of suffering. As we walked out of the theater I was quick to ask them what they thought. Overwhelmingly…they loved it!! It’s been a few days now since we watched the movie and we are still talking about it…and my gut tells me we will talk about this one for a long time to come.

I can’t make you go and make you take your group, but I will say this…I’m going back this weekend and I’m taking some more students.


So… what’s your opinion of the film? (only those who have seen it, please)


Jersey Shore

Posted on: 04/11/11 6:00 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m doing some pop culture research today, a typical ritual before I teach about youth culture at my workshops, to make sure I have current data (I’m teaching my parent workshop to a women’s group in my hometown this Wednesday, then teaching my CONNECT workshop this weekend in KS). Interesting TV news today.

Let me back up a second. A few weeks ago I blogged about the media source that still holds the title monopolizing most of our kids’ entertainment viewing– I’m referring to television (See here if you want to see my blog with Nielson’s breakdown of hours). And anyone who hangs out with kids knows that one of the most popular TV show’s of choice is MTV’s Jersey Shore.

MTV knows the huge draw that Jersey Shore brings… and apparently the cast know this as well, because they just finished their salary negotiations and each member of the core group is going to be making about $100,000 per episode. That’s no Charlie Sheen salary… but hey this is cable! And this show is beating out most broadcast shows.

EW comments about Jersey Shore’s draw:

Regardless of what you might think of Snooki, Sitch and Co., they’re not pulling a robbery — on the balance sheet, they’re worth the money. Jersey Shore is like the American Idol of basic cable, delivering huge adult demo numbers that are higher than many, if not most, broadcast shows.

Hmmmmmm. I don’t know about phrasing that “worth the money.” But yes… they somehow are indeed drawing audiences.

David’s Debate Results

Posted on: 04/8/11 9:49 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Well, David has finished his pornography debate at the University of South Florida. Late last night, he emailed me to let me know of his immense gratitude for the prayers from The Source’s users. He also gave me some details about how the debate panned out. I’ll let him describe it to you in his own words.


The porn debate is over, and I’ve got great news!

But first, thanks again for all the prayers. I received emails, text messages, and Facebook comments from all over the country thanks to your previous blog about the porn debate. I cannot describe to you the incredible amount of support I sensed from knowing people all over the country were praying specifically for me during a specific timeframe. Leaders from churches I’ve trained at or spoken at over the years – who are also users of The Source – were also chiming in with Bible verses and prayers. In short, incredible! I jokingly told our student body I wanted to face another tough task this coming week just so I’d have this much prayerful support.

And now, time for some good news. To begin with, we had a record-setting attendance. Close to 200 college students poured out to hear the debate…and eat free 5 Guys Burgers and fries. Our facility had students jammed into every corner, with standing room only, as well as a lobby (used as spill over space) crammed full of bodies. Great crowd!

More importantly, that crowd allowed each of the three panelists the opportunity to share their perspective on “the effects of pornography.” (Yes, that’s right; three. At the last minute, a third panelist, the General Manager of The Todd Couples Superstore, a local adult retail store, joined our discussion.)

Because I come from a generation that actually kept score, we passed out tally sheets at the end of the night to gauge where students were at, what they thought, what they learned, and how the debate had impacted them. We asked 4 simple questions that allowed students to describe (1) what they thought about porn BEFORE coming to the debate, (2) what they thought about porn LEAVING the debate, (3) what they were going to do about porn AS A RESULT of the debate, and (4) who WON the debate.

I’m quite pleased – and very humbled – to say that I won the debate. Scratch that; God’s truth won the debate! Without even letting our regular students participate in the tally, our position was found to be “the most compelling” by 52% of the students in attendance. The second place position secured 28% of the crowd’s support, and the third place position garnered 20% of the students’ support.

Even more exciting, we’ve got score cards essentially saying, “You guys have helped me understand I cannot live with the effects of porn any longer. I want help.” Because of this ministry event, we now stand poised to help dozens of young men and women who silently struggle with this serious issue. Praise God!

But, it gets even better! Several of our board members – myself included – strongly believe the young man who participated in the debate (from the adult retail store) is open to further discussion about the effects of the products he sells at his store. I have lunch planned with him next week. Our board is already praying about that conversation over BBQ.

Please join our leadership in praying for Shayne. He was raised in a Catholic household and knows the truth…even though he doesn’t live it. Pray the Gospel is clearly communicated to him through me. Pray that he receives Christ as his Savior…and Lord. Finally, pray that his lifestyle mirrors his newfound faith.

Thanks so much for all you’ve done, and for all you’ll do. You’re an incredible blessing to me.

Like David, I want to take a moment to thank you for praying. He and I travel all over the country and we speak on behalf of God’s truth several times each month. It’s great knowing that you are praying for us. In this blog, I just wanted to update you guys about the effects of your prayers: they worked because God is good, all the time.

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