Face to Face Time

Posted on: 12/7/11 11:21 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Shoulder-to-shoulder opens doors to face-to-face.

YouthSpecialties.com just posted a new article of mine titled, You Mean I’m Actually Supposed to Play Dodgeball?

Yes… that’s kind of a loaded title. There’s been a lot of criticism in the youth ministry world in the last few years, shooting arrows at “old methods,” especially anything that has to do with fun and games. I’ve written plenty about how games can open doors to amazing ministry opportunities— no need to rehash. So I’ll just emphasize one simple point: the simple art of “playing” with young people can break down walls, and catalyze some great conversations.

Here’s just a snippet from my dodgeball article:

If you want a kid to open up to you in small group time and speak honestly… try playing with them. The toss of a football, sharing a small cardboard tray of cheesy nachos at a football game, the ambush of a cute 8th grade girl with a dodgeball—these activities all open doors to connecting with kids.

That’s the thing. It doesn’t really matter what activity: dodgeball, worshipping to Chris Tomlin or playing X-box. Make the investment of time playing side by side and you’ll yield the results of conversation. Shoulder-to-shoulder opens doors to face-to face.

Just saying! (Click here for the entire dodgeball article, or click here for more on relational ministry in my book, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation)

Using Tebow to Provoke Discussion

Posted on: 12/5/11 5:04 PM | by Jonathan McKee

My buddy Lane Palmer just wrote a great new free discussion for our website using an interview from Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Lane contends, “Like Tim Tebow, we have all been given a platform by God to be a light for Jesus Christ. We cannot hide our light because we face potential criticism, rather we should use the negativity to fuel our brightness!”

I’m really excited about the way Tebow has “represented” on camera. You could call me biased because I’m a Bronco fan, but let me be real for a moment. I’m as frustrated as the rest of Bronco fans were yesterday when the Broncos got just ONE first down in their entire first half. Yes, the Broncos have been squeaking by with wins each game (winning the last five), but most of us don’t have any delusions of grandeur. We see the way we’ve been playing and we aren’t counting our chickens yet… after all, we play the Patriots soon. Aye aye aye!

That being said, it’s been fun having a good role model like Teebow at the helm. I don’t care if he wins or loses, he sure seems to be living as a light on and off the field, and that says a lot.

Our new Tebow discussion links an amazing ESPN interview where Tebow talks about his faith. ESPN brought up questions and criticisms that Tebow has faced, including the comments from former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer to a Phoenix radio station Monday about Tebow’s expression of his Christian faith on the football field.

“I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him,” Plummer told 910-AM. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”

Tebow, in his response to the comments, which he said he had not heard about before the interview, said he appreciated Plummer calling him a winner and compared his faith with marriage.

“If you’re married and you have a wife and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? That’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

I love what Lane did with this discussion, especially the optional ending of the wrap up. Pretty cool stuff. Take a peek at the entire discussion here. We provide small group questions, a passage of scripture and a wrap up.

Adele Connects

Posted on: 12/2/11 11:24 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Adele sings… people listen.

It’s always intriguing to see which artists connect with today’s music audiences. Rihanna provided We Found Love, a song and graphic music video that has resonated with young girls especially (I blogged about people’s overreaction to that song a little while ago). Pink consistently relates to a hurting generation with songs and videos like that of the very edgy F**king Perfect. But as sincere as Rihanna, Pink and others might be… another artist has released an album that didn’t rely on gratuitous sexual imagery and didn’t require graphic depictions of drugs and drinking. I’m talking about Adele… and America can’t seem to get enough of her.

Maybe it’s her anguish over breakups that people are relating to, maybe it’s her simple smooth lyrics… or could it be her voice? People love Adele, Adele gets people, and in turn… they buy her songs.

Her song Someone Like You is still in the top 10 on iTunes and the Billboard Hot 100 (where it has stayed for 21 weeks now, peaking at #1). Her album, simply titled 21, has been on Billboards charts for almost a year now, is still in the top 10, peaking at number 1. She just nabbed six Grammy nominations, including album of the year. Bruno Mars, also with six nominations commented, “D**n it, why am I up against Adele?”

Let’s be honest. Adele’s album isn’t really a “pick me up.” It’s the vulnerable cry of someone who dealing with pain and loss. Hmmmmm. I wonder why this is connecting with people so much?

Saturday Night Live did a sketch recently featuring Adele’s hit song, Someone Like You… had me literally rolling on the floor! This funny little sketch makes fun of why this song is actually connecting with people. I’ll embed it (although these videos are sometimes yanked by NBC… so if it get’s removed, just Google “Saturday Night Live Adele Someone Like You Emma Stone” and you’ll find it somewhere. A must see!)

Why do you think Adele connects with this generation so much?

Bruno Mars has the number one hit on iTunes right now, It Will Rain. Why do you think that song is a hit?

Do young people want more to a song than just rhythm and beat?

The Four Minute Mule

Posted on: 12/1/11 10:36 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night we had to attend an award ceremony for my daughter Ashley’s cross country team. It was fun for the first 30 minutes, it was great hearing the coach talk about Ashley… but by the 3 hour mark…

Yes… over 3 hours long!

Wholy shamoli! Who wants to sit on a cafeteria bench for over three hours? I’ve attended life-insurance conventions that were more bearable.

At about the 90 minute mark, my 16-year-old, Alyssa, and I started playing with our phones. Alyssa grabbed Lori’s iPhone and I immediately texted her, knowing that Lori always forgets to put the thing on silent. The phone made a loud “DING,” a couple hundred heads turned toward Alyssa, and her face turned about 4 shades of red.

(I’ve been known to act like a junior higher.)

Time passed and we were searching for anything to entertain ourselves. We Google searched various topics, looking for anything to help pass time. One of the coaches on Ashley’s team has broken the four minute mile. That’s amazing, by the way! So I tried to type in a search for “breaking the 4 minute mile.” Instead I accidentally typed:

“Breaking the 4 minute mule”

Maybe it was the timing… but Alyssa and I started a laughing fit and couldn’t stop.

Sigh. Good times.

I bet you never realized how interesting mules actually are? Ask me… I know plenty now. Did you know that right now wild burros are wreaking havoc on Texas? Seriously!

Yeah… 3 freaking hours long!

I love my daughters… but please…. please… don’t make me go to another 3 hour long award ceremony!!!