Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush—FACT 3

Posted on: 02/29/12 6:21 PM | by Jonathan McKee

“How far can I go?”

That’s the most common question youth workers hear when they speak to Christian students about sex. Young people in the church have heard Bible verses about “fornication” or “sexual immorality.” They’ve heard us teach that they’re not supposed to go “all the way.”

So how far can they go?

Funny. If we were teaching teenagers the explicit truth about sex… this wouldn’t even be a question. Furthermore, if young people understood how sex truly works, they might just be a little more careful to not set themselves up for failure.

It’s about time that we teach them that sex is more than just “a home run.”

#3: More Than a Home Run

This week I’ve been blogging about the need to tell our kids the explicit truth about sex:

Now it’s time for the third fact about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves! Sex is not just “a home run.” It’s so much more. (Hold onto your hats… there’s no tip toeing through today’s subject matter.)

I’ve probably heard it a thousand times:

 “I know we’re not supposed to have sex. So instead, we just…”

Now fill in the blank with one of many various sexual activities. I’ve heard them all: make out, touch each other, have oral sex, have anal sex…

Shudder if you will, but adults don’t seem to agree what “sex” is either. Is sex just “intercourse?” Most Christian adults will agree that oral sex and “petting” (an awkward term) are each some part of sex, but what about physical touch? A boy groping a girl’s breasts over her shirt… is this sex? (You’ll get a divided response every time.) Is this kind of touch appropriate for Christian teens and tweens?

Our kids want to know. And frankly, no one is talking about it (probably because it’s so awkward).

No wonder our kids are confused. So many of us just teach, “Don’t have sex!” We give them the I Corinthians 6 verses about sexual immorality being wrong, and we leave it at that. We never even define sexual immorality. Interpretation is left up to the pubescents with their screaming hormones and undeveloped brains.

Let me be clear. When Paul tells us to “flee” from sexual immorality in that passage, he’s not just telling us, “don’t have intercourse!” Sex is so much more than just “a home run.” God created sex as a process that starts with a little flirting, usually kissing, consensual touching, and soon it grows with incredible momentum to “going all the way.” Sex is the whole process. We can’t skip the beginning stages. In the same way, we aren’t supposed to start the beginning stages and then just abruptly halt the process. When we try this… we fail miserably!

Setting Them Up to… Set Themselves Up for Failure
The blame rests with us. It’s our fault.

Young people today constantly set themselves up for failure because they simply don’t understand sex. The biggest reason that Christian young people don’t understand sex is because most Christian adults won’t talk about sex in explicit detail.

I’ve talked with literally thousands of students about sex. Whenever I meet teen moms and listen to their story, 99% of the time they tell me, “I had questions, but no one was there to answer them.” (I told two of these stories to you recently here.)

We need to teach our kids the unedited truth about sex.

God created sex as this amazing process that starts with a just a look. Guy notices girl, girl notices guy. Attraction. Eventually kissing. Kissing leads to embracing. Embracing leads to caressing. Caressing leads to skin-on-skin touch. This kind of touch eventually results in pleasuring each other by touching the breasts and genitals (some people are really feeling uncomfortable now). Sometimes this leads to oral sex…and eventually…intercourse.

Eew. There’s that scientific word again.

It’s amazing how many words, terms and analogies we’ve come up with to describe this process. Baseball is an analogy that was common when I grew up.

“Did you get to first base?” That was kissing.

“I went to second base.” That was touching above the waist.

“Third base.” Touching below the waist.

“Home Run!” Everyone agrees that this is “going all the way.”

The interesting question I like to propose to young people is, “Which of these bases is sex?” Or “How many bases are you supposed to round with your boyfriend or girlfriend?” I’ve rarely met a young person who doesn’t name a base.

Why Is It So Difficult to Stop?
Most students see sex as just intercourse. To them, sex is a “home run.” Sex is “going all the way.” To them, the other bases are fair game.

I always ask, “Then why is it so difficult to stop when you’re on second base?”

The fact is, the whole process starts when a guy and girl begin kissing each other. That’s the way God made it. It’s actually a very amazing gift. We need to remember that this isn’t something dirty we’re talking about here. In fact, when kids ask me, “Why is it so difficult to stop?” I always surprise them with my answer:

“Because you’re not supposed to stop!”


God designed sex as a process. When a man and woman commit to each other in marriage, they get to enjoy an intimate act of passion with each other that is so special that it’s reserved for just the two of them together, no one else. It’s a bond between them…“a bond that happens to feel freaking amazing!!!!”  (Okay…you don’t have to add that part.)

When a man gets alone with his wife and starts running his fingers through her hair and telling her she’s beautiful…it starts! Kissing, embracing, touching…it all progresses. (Here comes the explicit details that Christians are afraid to talk about.) The man’s penis gets hard, sometimes a result of a simple kiss, a nibble of the ear… a touch. Why? He’s so excited, and he wants more! God made it this way. The more the woman is caressed and touched, her vagina becomes wet, preparing for what’s about to happen. All this touching and caressing builds excitement, and soon neither can help themselves any longer. He longs to be inside her, and she longs for more. (Wow, this sounds like a harlequin novel!)

At this point I like to throw in a little surprise when I’m talking with young people about sex. I usually say this:

“And at this point, before they go ‘all the way’…they both stop, shake hands and walk away.”

Kids always just stare at me like I’m insane. So I go on.

“Nope. That’s not what happens, is it? In actuality, it would take a tornado or a herd of buffalo to stop what was going on in that room between that man and that woman. And why?

“Because sex was already started. The process of sex started with a touch and a kiss and eventually built to this amazing climax when the two finally ‘go all the way.’

“This is what sex is, the whole process. Not just ‘going all the way.’ More than just ‘a home run.’ The fact is, you shouldn’t even go up to bat with someone you’re not married to. This whole process is to be saved for marriage.”

Students always appreciate my honestly.

Yes! I always get students asking me, “So you’re saying that kissing is wrong?”

Again, the answer to that question is explicit. If I’m just talking to guys, I’ll be explicit, but with a touch of humor to lighten the mood.

“Anthony, the answer to that is probably in your boxers. If you’re at your grandma’s birthday party and the whole family is gathered around the table. Your girlfriend gives you a kiss on the cheek when you bring her a piece of cake… then you’re probably okay. But my guess is that if you’re alone with your girlfriend on the couch making out, the process of sex has probably started. If ‘Little Anthony’ is standing at attention ready for battle, that’s a good sign that the process has started. That’s why it’s a good idea for you not to kiss your girlfriend without your grandmother in the room. Little Anthony is scared of Grandma.”

It’s painfully obvious that this is one of the reasons that young people fail sexually. They put themselves in situations where they “start the sexual process” and then can’t stop.

I love to have students talk about these type of situations that they put themselves in. I come up with hypotheticals.

“Your parents are gone and your boyfriend comes over to your house to ‘study.’ Good idea, or bad idea?”

“You and your girlfriend are alone, lying on the couch watching a movie. She’s laying on you. Good, or bad idea?”

I ask them to reflect on past situations. When was it difficult for you to stop?

Sometimes there are kids there who haven’t put themselves in those situations yet. It’s good for them to hear the other kids share their stories and experiences. It’s good for them to set some guidelines before they get into these situations.

It’s funny. Whenever I teach this whole “sex is a process” to students, they always say, “I’ve never heard this before.”

Why are we so afraid to tell young people this truth?

Tomorrow we’re going to learn a 4th and final fact about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves…

* * *The-Sex-Talk

If you liked Jonathan’s candid approach to this subject, you’ll really enjoy his books, MORE THAN JUST THE TALK, and SEX MATTERS and others on Jonathan’s Recommended Books page.


Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush—FACT 2

Posted on: 02/28/12 6:02 PM | by Jonathan McKee

We’re on day three of “5 Days of Sex” in my blog.

Day one I wrote about why we need to talk to our teens and tweens about sex. Day two I kicked off the Four Facts About Sex We Just Can’t Hush, with Fact #1: SEX ISN’T NAUGHTY.

Today it’s time for the second fact about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves!


Consequences aren’t fun. Can’t we just pretend they’re not there?

That’s the message entertainment media is communicating to young people today. It’s a message we would love to believe.

A few nights ago my wife and I watched a rerun of CBS’s creatively funny, The Big Bang Theory (one of the 5 most popular shows on TV on any given week). In this particular episode, the sensitive nerd, Leonard, hooks up with his friend’s sister the day he meets her. As they’re getting up from sleeping together, he gingerly mentions his willingness to go further with the relationship. She callously objects, clarifying that sleeping with him didn’t mean anything.

The show progresses with no apparent consequences. Such is TV today (Look at the pie chart at the bottom of this blog two days ago to see an example of exactly what percentage of sexual dialogue is “responsible” on other popular shows.)

Do our kids know that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be? Sex isn’t supposed to be a recreational activity that we do with people we meet each day. It’s something much greater than this.

Are we talking with our kids about the truth? Do we use “media moments” to have these discussions with our kids?

Sin 101
Yesterday I emphasized the point that sex isn’t naughty. Sex is a wonderful gift that a man and woman can enjoy together when they commit to each other in marriage. The Proverbs 5 passage I shared with you yesterday talks about some of this enjoyment in explicit detail. See verse 19:

may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.

This is the way that it’s supposed to be. This is just a glimpse of good sex.

But our own flawed tendency is to take good things and try to twist them and make them better. It’s something that has happened since the dawn of man. Adam and Eve could have anything they wanted… “but that forbidden fruit sounds really good!” We’re inherently flawed. Men like their wives’ breasts, so why not enjoy other women’s breasts too? Why not “hook up” with anyone we want purely for fun.

As you well know, our culture even has terms for this, terms like “hooking up” or “friends with benefits.” A movie of that same title might just accurately represent how young people actually view relationships today. Ypulse’s Gen Y expert Melanie Shreffler seems to think so:

Friends With Benefits (the movie) is a good representation of Millennial relationships. They believe that relationships can develop from friendships and from one night stands…. Millennials believe in trying things out before settling on a decision.”

This isn’t anything new. Mankind has always tried to do things their own way rather than God’s way. It’s sin 101. “I believe in you God… but I really want to enjoy this temporary thrill.” The book of Genesis is full of it.

Consider the Consequences
That’s why this Proverbs passage goes on to offer some great advice. Look at verse 20.

20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

The Proverbs poet makes it clear. Why would you go outside of marriage for sexual pleasure? It’s meant for marriage. If you read the verses that follow you’ll see some of God’s reasoning why:

21 For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.

What an awesome passage to talk about with our kids! Choices have consequences. We could probably even ask our kids to name some of the consequences the verses list here: God sees everything we do and is examining our actions, our evil deeds will ensnare us, we’ll be tied down by our sins….

We could also have them list some modern day examples of each of these.  (Yes, I just gave you discussion questions.)

For further teaching: We could open up I Corinthians 6:12-20 and teach the concept of sexual immorality (vs. 18), defining it. (I always define it as the “voluntary sex of an unmarried person. More on the definition of “sex” in tomorrow’s blog, Fact #3). God wants us to enjoy sex in marriage, but literally flee sexual immorality. Ask kids what “flee” means.

What if people don’t actually have sex, but they just think about it instead? (enter pornography, stage right) Open up Matthew 5:27-30 and read Jesus’ words about lust. This is a great passage to talk about, especially with our boys. We need to talk with young people today about the increasingly difficult task of fleeing porn.

Explicit Grace
The Bible isn’t ashamed to talk about sex and consequences in graphic detail. Why should we be scared to do the same? For some reason God chose to tell us the truth in explicit detail. Sometimes these details show just how much God loves us, even though we are terribly fallen and corrupt.

Look at Genesis 38:

8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.

Perhaps we should edit this filthy material, eh?

Oh snap! It’s from the Bible?

I’m not saying that this is a “go to” passage when teaching 6th grade Sunday school, but you might want to consider how you’re going to answer your kids’ questions about it when you’re reading through the book of Genesis as a family.

In our family Bible reading we actually encountered this passage just a few months ago, having a great discussion about how much God loves widows and orphans and doesn’t like anyone to take advantage of them. (Onan was denying Tamar an heir). The rest of the passage is pretty explicit as well. Judah sleeps with Tamar, thinking she’s a prostitute, she gets pregnant, Judah is going to have her burned to death for committing adultery (even though he did too). It has twists and turns like a Shakespearean play. Amazing story.

Funny, when you look back at the genealogies, Tamar’s line is the one from which Christ was born! What a great lesson for teenagers about how God takes the sinful pasts of mankind and uses it for good. Yes, sin has consequences. But God loves us despite of our mistakes.

These passages include some pretty graphic stuff. And for some reason the Bible didn’t edit the stories. We need to teach our kids about these kinds of real life consequences and God’s love for us throughout.

So don’t keep these facts to yourself. Share them in explicit detail:

  1. Sex isn’t naughty. It’s a gift from God to enjoy in marriage!
  2. Choices have consequences. Sex outside of marriage hurts us and the people around us. When we have sexual thoughts or think about sexual situations with people other than our spouse, it hurts our relationship with God and our spouse. Only His grace can bring healing.

Tomorrow we’re going to learn a 3rd fact about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves…

* * *The-Sex-Talk

If you liked Jonathan’s candid approach to this subject, you’ll really enjoy his books, MORE THAN JUST THE TALK, and SEX MATTERS and others on Jonathan’s Recommended Books page.


Four Facts About Sex We Just Can’t Hush- FACT 1

Posted on: 02/27/12 9:42 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Yesterday I kicked off “5 Days of Sex” in my blog, and the point was simple: we need to talk with our kids about sex. Yes, even our middle school kids. Scratch that—especially our middle school kids!

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about why we need to talk to our teens and tweens about this subject. Now it’s time to talk about what to say! In other words, what good is it for me to tell you that you should talk with your kids about this, but not provide any ideas of what to actually say!

Some of you have heard me speak about purity, sex, or relationships at conferences or camps. Some of you have even used my talks on this subject like the talk, “A New Beginning” in my book, 10-Minute Talks. You’ve seen my candid approach. In my experience speaking to teens and tweens for the last 20-years, combined with my own experience as a parent of three teenagers, I find four facts about sex that we just can’t keep to ourselves. Today I’ll share the first one.


Perhaps we should start talking about sex the way God designed it, as something good!

Sex isn’t naughty, it’s not inappropriate, and it’s not shameful. The Bible isn’t afraid to talk about it in graphic detail and we shouldn’t be afraid of it either. The Bible opens with the story of a naked man in a garden who wanted a partner. God saw this and didn’t want Adam to be alone. So what does God do?

“Poof.” A naked woman.

Then what does God tell Adam? “Go forth and multiply!” How’s that for a sexual green light.

God is so awesome!

The Explicit Truth
Why isn’t the Bible scared to talk about the subject? The Bible is not afraid to talk about sex for the gift it is. The Bible tells us the unedited truth throughout. See Proverbs 5.

18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

I love using this passage to talk with young people about sex for several reasons:

  1. It’s always good to drive students to scripture, and for some reason, young people always like this passage.
  2. This passage is a voice not often heard in the world today—it’s pro marriage. It talks about marriage not only in a positive light, but with the passion and intoxication that this kind of true love relationship brings. (Very romantic)
  3. It doesn’t hold back on the specifics. It brings up the fact that a man can enjoy his wife’s breasts (and it’s not naughty to do so). How often do you hear this in the church? Not often. But you hear these kind of details everywhere else.
  4. It’s realistic about the consequences of looking around at other women (more on this point in my fact #2 tomorrow). If you read further in this passage, it goes into more detail of living out this kind of folly.

This is an amazing passage to go through with young people today. It tells us a pretty graphic picture of how wonderful it is for a man to enjoy his wife sexually. The passage isn’t even afraid to talk about her boobs!

Oh boy…look what I just did. I just made a bunch of people mad. Why? Because I said “boobs.”


Think about this for a second. What word do you think the Bible would use today? Consider the world we live in. The word “boobs” is an innocent and commonplace term in actuality. Most teenagers would use the words “boobs” with their own parents before they would say the word “breasts.” Most teenagers are used to hearing a lot worse from sources just a click away on iTunes. Take a peek at what literally millions of young people are hearing from rap star Tyga, the words he uses for women and their breasts, in his hit song Rack City that was #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week (Google the lyrics if you’re curious). Now that’s derogatory!

My point here isn’t to argue the word “boobs.” Use the word “breasts” if you think that would work better. Just let me ask you a bigger question:

What are you afraid of?

Too Much or Too Little?
Are you afraid of telling our kids too much? Do you really think our kids live in a shoebox? Do you think they’ve never heard of “boobs” before?

When it comes to talking about sex with our kids, we can err on the side of giving them too much information, or too little information. Which side would you prefer to gravitate towards?

I’ve met a lot of parents who, in fear, would rather err on the side of telling them too little. I’d love to ask these folks a question. What are the consequences if you tell your kids the unedited truth about a little more than they were already exposed to? Is it dangerous to tell them that sex is an amazing gift from God that they can enjoy when they are married? Do you think if you show a teen or tween this above scripture he or she is going to start downloading porn? Do you think that if you use the word “boobs” that they are suddenly going to start thinking about boobs?

(Important Note: Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to throw discernment and wisdom out the window. In yesterday’s blog, two of my readers commented, asking me to specify exactly how much is too much when talking about sex, porn, masturbation, anal sex, etc.? See my answers to both Eric and Ben in the comments section where I give them my two cents, diving into even more specifics on this issue)

Why are so many of us afraid to share too much, so we settle for too little?

Consider this extreme. What if we do share too little? What if your kids would really like to know about sex but are too scared to ask? What if they have questions that aren’t being answered because we’re tiptoeing around the issue? Should they raise their hand in youth group or walk into their mom’s room before bedtime and ask, “Mom, I’m masturbating every night. I’m going for a world record! I can’t stop. It started with the JC Penney’s catalogue but now it’s internet porn. Help!!!”

The “Sex Talk” (singular)
A few months ago I met a young teen mom who became pregnant during her first year in college, got kicked out of her house, and had the baby on her own. Everyone in the church knew. Huge ordeal! It’s years later now, she’s living back at home and she’s back in church with her toddler, living with the day to day struggles of being a single mom. As she was reflecting back and telling me about her mistakes, I asked her, “What would you do different as a parent to help your own kids not make the same mistakes?”

Without hesitation she responded. “I would talk about it more!” She was adamant. “Not once—all the time!”

She continued. “My parents never talked about it. My dad couldn’t talk about it. He sent my mom into my room once to have ‘the talk.’ It wasn’t enough. I had questions, struggles and desires and I knew that they didn’t want to talk about it. So I didn’t ask them. I found out on my own.”

I hear this perspective all the time.

Three weeks ago I met a college kid with a two-year-old son. After hearing him share his heart, I asked him the same question, “What would you do to equip your son for these kinds of life decisions?”

He didn’t even blink. “I’m going to talk about sex with my son a lot!”

De ja vu!

He continued. “My dad talked with me about it once. Youth group talked about it once a year, but they never answered my questions.”

He gave me specifics. “When I went to college, I would go in my girlfriend’s dorm room. I just thought, this is so cool! This is what happens in every movie! I didn’t think through anything. No one had told me specifically, ‘If you get alone with a girl that initiates sex, it will be impossible to stop!’ I want my kid to know the truth. I’m going to prepare him for that day so he doesn’t have to figure it out on his own.”

Wow. Is it possible that some of us are unintentionally holding back the truth that our kids need to hear because we’re being so careful editing what we think is profane.

We need to start talking openly and honestly about sex. I’m not trying to give license to flippant use of course slang. Far from it. Personally, when I’m talking about sex in a youth group setting or with my own kids, I like to just use a word that is the least offensive or even the least “creepy.” This can change from crowd to crowd. Some people will tell you to always use the scientific words. Just make sure you know you’re your audience. Some kids will cringe if you use words like “intercourse” or “coitus.”

But definitely don’t hesitate to share a passage like the Proverbs passage above. Believe it or not, you’re going to encounter people who say that it’s just inappropriate to talk about the subject of women’s breasts at all. This is just bad discernment with no Biblical backing. If this were true, then why does the Bible talk about breasts? The Bible isn’t afraid to talk about body parts and sexuality in lurid detail. (You think this Proverbs passage is explicit, check out Ezekiel 23:19-21.)

Not Ashamed
The fact is plain and simple. The Bible isn’t ashamed to talk about good sex the way it was intended, and it’s not afraid to denounce sexual immorality just the same. This Proverbs passage talks about how husbands should enjoy their wives’ breasts. If you think the word “boobs” is offensive, then just use the word breasts. The key is, these body parts are not something bad. Sex is not naughty. God created this whole process. It’s not bad or dirty or shameful.

We need to communicate this to our kids! We need to present them with a holistic Biblical picture about sex.

So often, Christian adults are afraid to talk about “the naughty thing.” Satan loves this! The church has unintentionally propagated this lie for years. Our kids have learned that sex is naughty and we don’t talk about it!

The result?

Our kids sneak to find answers elsewhere…from the people who are talking about it: their friends at school, movies like Friends with Benefits, songs like Last Friday Night, and TV shows like Two and a Half Men and Jersey Shore.

Don’t be afraid to tell our kids the truth. Sex is amazing, a gift from God, something they’ll eventually get to experience when they find the right person and commit to them in marriage.

This isn’t naughty…it’s just good teaching.

Tomorrow… the second fact we can’t hush when talking about sex!

* * *The-Sex-Talk

If you liked Jonathan’s candid approach to this subject, you’ll really enjoy his books, MORE THAN JUST THE TALK, and SEX MATTERS and others on Jonathan’s Recommended Books page.


Shhhh! Don’t Talk About Sex

Posted on: 02/26/12 5:31 PM | by Jonathan McKee

SEX! It’s a subject that Christian parents and youth workers don’t talk about enough with our kids, and so for the next 5 days I’m going to talk about… talking about it!

A couple weeks ago I was speaking at a camp in rural Wisconsin and I brought up the subject of sex to my middle school audience of about 500 kids. Funny enough, I received a handful of the typical “Why are you talking about sex with this age group!” comments.

Since that camp (not even two weeks ago, as I write this), I’m amazed how much the subject of “talking about sex with teenagers” has come up. This “hush” isn’t just limited to Wisconsin.

Let me say it simply: talking about sex is something we need to talk about.

Just a few days after the camp, Marko wrote this insightful blog about how he actually prefers to speak to middle schoolers about sex—the perfect time to talk with them about it. He articulated it like this: “It’s pure irresponsibility as a youth worker to avoid this subject.” He goes on to describe how “all over the board” they are developmentally and how, often with middle schoolers, it’s more “what sex will be” than “what it is” for them in their lives.

I can’t agree more.

A few days ago I had breakfast with my friend Doug Fields and shared what had happened at this camp, specifically the moms who told me, “These kids weren’t thinking about sex at all, but now that you brought it up they are!” Doug, having seen this overprotective parenting style on way too many occasions, nodded his head in disbelief. Forget the adults for a moment- we both felt for these poor misinformed kids that were basically taught, “We don’t ever talk about ‘the naughty thing.’” It’s something we observe way too often.

Is this a national problem?

How about international.

My dad is on a missions trip to Uganda right now teaching and equipping African pastors how to preach God’s word. One of the African ministers traveling with him, Andrew, is a pastor who travels to different villages talking about sex and the AIDS epidemic, educating young people about the truth. Sadly, in the African culture they rarely talk about sex. (Wow, Uganda is just like Wisconsin!) Andrew has earned trust with several of the schools and has been teaching “True Love Waits” rallies, presenting the truth and then interacting with kids afterwards, answering questions they have.

My dad just sent me an email about this from his phone while in Uganda:

Had another good night sleep. We are at a catholic retreat center and it is pretty primitive, but the team is all so positive. We don’t have showers or hot water. Learning to wash my hair at a faucet. Cold shaves.

Our team that taught the “true love waits” to 200 middle school kids was pretty moved yesterday. After Andrew made the aids presentation they handed out cards for ?s. Everyone wrote ?s. Schools are in English. The ?s were heart wrenching. Things like “I’ve been raped. How do I know if I have aids?” Or “I have aids. Should I quit having sex with my boyfriend?”. This from 12 and 13 year olds! The headmaster of the school invited them back today to talk to another 200 kids. The team is very excited to present this material that Andrew has written. He was on a Ministry of education committee when he wrote this and now he can present this in public schools.

The African AIDS epidemic is pretty scary. Those of us in the US probably would like to think that we have an entire ocean separating us from this problem. Sadly, this isn’t just an African problem. It was only a few years ago that we all woke up to the headlines, “One in Four Teenage Girls Has a Sexually Transmitted Disease.” Teenage girls in the US are making the same mistakes.

Part of the problem is ignorance. Last month USNews wrote about a study revealing that one in four teenage girls who took the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine mistakenly thought their risk of getting other STDs was lowered. Sound crazy? I constantly encountered this kind of reasoning in my work with middle school students on campus. “I’ll just wear two condoms.” “I always shower really good after sex.”

The fact is, parents aren’t talking about sex enough with their kids. One “sex talk” isn’t enough. This needs to be an ongoing conversation. Adults aren’t spending the time to tell kids the truth.

I talk about sex to young people frequently, openly, honestly… never gratuitously. TV and movies talk about sex all the time; they just don’t tell the whole story. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk candidly about the subject, sharing the truth on the matter. Sex isn’t bad, sex isn’t naughty… it’s an amazing gift that God gives to a man and woman in marriage. The Bible isn’t afraid to talk about it in lurid detail and we shouldn’t be scared either.

So why is it that the church always squirms when we talk about sex? We’re so afraid of being “inappropriate” that we avoid talking about the elephant in the room. Meanwhile, Hollywood isn’t holding anything back when slinging lies.

Recently I read a study that tracked all the sexual dialogue in current MTV reality show programming like Jersey Shore, and the various Real Word shows (Side note: Jersey Shore was the #3 watched show on cable last week. This sexually charged show is very often the most watched cable show on any given week.) This sobering report revealed that in all the talk about intercourse, foreplay, oral sex, masturbation on these MTV shows… 96.4% of this kind of sexual talk didn’t mention any responsibility or consequences of any kind. Only 3.6 percent of the time did they ever talk about any sexual responsibility like virginity (.2%), contraceptives (1.4%) or consequences like STDs (2%). Today’s music isn’t much better at presenting truth.

The lies about sex are obviously getting good airtime. When are kids going to hear the truth? Who is going to tell them?

Parents… are you listening?

How do we have these talks with our kids?

Chime in with your 2 cents. Tomorrow I’m chiming in with “Four Facts About Sex We Can’t Hush.”  (OR CLICK HERE FOR ALL FOUR FACTS IN ONE ARTICLE ON OUR WEB PAGE FOR PARENTS)

* * *The-Sex-Talk

If you liked Jonathan’s candid approach to this subject, you’ll really enjoy his books, MORE THAN JUST THE TALK, and SEX MATTERS and others on Jonathan’s Recommended Books page.


The Wrong Speaker

Posted on: 02/23/12 8:04 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A few days ago we had a little contest where I provided you with my Top-10 list of How You Know You’ve Hired the Wrong Camp Speaker. Except, I only provided you with the top 9, and offered the new Skit Guys book for the best #1 answer. We received over 70 comments/entries… and my team has done the difficult task of choosing a winner.

I told each of my team members (David, Todd, Lori… the whole gang) to choose their 5 favorites. I then compared the lists.

Interestingly enough, people’s taste really differed drastically. But the final decision was easy, because only one answer made every single person’s list, and that was Joe Dore’s entry. So Joe… congrats! (email me with your address info so I can mail you your prize) You are the winner with this #1 answer:

Upon arrival he asks if there is time in the daily schedule to sign autographs for the little people.

There were some other great answers that made us laugh and appeared on a few of our lists of favs; these honorable mentions were:

Jon Forrest:
He proudly proclaims “this week we will cover all 3 commandments.”

He opens and closes his message using Klingon.

Brad Brimmer:
He asks you where his product table is so he can sell his “anointed” sweat rags.

Jack Hager:
He gives you a 2/12 page press release and tells you, “for clarity’s sake” to read it word for word as you introduce him.
(Good one Jack. I hate it when speakers do this)

Joe H:
He asks if any of the 18-year-old girls are available

He keeps telling you that you REALLY need to let HIM make the Kool-Aid that will be used at the end of the message.
(Good one- my 14-year-old Ashley even knew the history behind this one)

It was also interesting to hear all the true stories from people… experiences that people have actually had with camp speakers. Here’s a few of those scary experiences:

He didn’t show up.

He preached on the budget shortfall of the camp and gave an offering.

The video clip he gave you to show during his talk turns out to be porn. You confront him and he says, oops wrong thumb drive. That one was for research on my porn talk.

The speaker starts out his message on the topic of jewish marriage rituals and the bloody sheet (this actually happened at a winter retreat).

Thanks for participating. I’ve got a stack of books on my desk we’ll be giving away soon. So stay tune for more contests and giveaways!


Posted on: 02/22/12 7:51 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This week has been a week of travel with my family. My 16-year-old daughter Alyssa is looking at colleges, and this week we visited the college I attended, Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.

It was fun visiting the school again, rather nostalgic.The campus is beautiful and the school’s heart for God is very apparent in everything. Even the students we encountered on the campus had an apparent joy about them.

When I went there- over 20 years ago- I didn’t take it very seriously (sadly), so it was interesting looking at the school from a different perspective– the perspective of my daughter who cares about growing spiritually and appreciates the Christian community the school offers. Both of my daughters want to go here… it will be interesting to see what God has in store.

I’m proud of my girls.

Driving back home all day tomorrow… back to work Friday. (And probably time to announce the winner of our little blog “Top 10” contest by then)

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Top-10 Ways You Know You’ve Hired the Wrong Camp Speaker

Posted on: 02/20/12 5:21 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s time for a fun little contest. I need your help finishing my TOP-10 list, and the person who submits the best answer will receive a copy of The Skit Guys’ new Skits That Teach Volume 2, a great little resource from Youth Specialties.

Most of us who’ve been in ministry for even a year or two have had the “privilege” of hiring a speaker for a camp or event. Booking speakers isn’t always easy. In my book about programming outreach events, Getting Students to Show Up, I spend an entire chapter talking about this daunting task, sharing a cornucopia of true stories, hilarious tales of “hiring” gone wrong.

But how do you know you’ve hired the wrong speaker? Are there tell-tale signs?

Here’s my fun new Top-10 List that will give you a clue. I wrote the first nine—use the comment feature of this blog and submit yours #1. Best answer wins the new Skit Guys book at the end of this week!

You Know You’ve Hired the Wrong Camp Speaker When…

10. Five minutes before he goes on he asks where he can change into his “costume.”

9. You ask him what passage of Scripture he’ll be using and he replies, “All of them.”

8. She wears Shape-ups so she can work out while she walks back and forth on stage.

7. When you’re finalizing his booking he asks, “Your kids like balloon animals, right?”

6. When you ask her who to cut the check to she gets really nervous and demands cash.

5. He gives you his theme verse for the week: Ezekiel 23:20-21

4. When he opens in prayer, he looks both ways and asks, “Which way is Mecca?”

3. When you ask her which version of the Bible she’ll be using, she replies, “Bible?”

2. His opening words: “Whaaaasssssuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!”

#1- we now have posted the winner HERE!

That’s it! We need your #1 answer for how you know you’ve hired the wrong camp speaker! Leave a reply in this blog’s comments section for your chance at the new Skit Guys’ book!

6 Tips for Millennials Who Lead Older Generations

Posted on: 02/16/12 12:17 PM | by Jonathan McKee

GUEST POST from Tom McKee, president and founder of Tom speaks and trains, equipping volunteer managers around the U.S. He co-authored the book, The New Breed with me– he’s the true brains behind the book. But most importantly, he’s my dad… better known as “Papa” to my kids!

We’ve seen countless articles about how to recruit, lead or manage this younger generation. What about when the roles are reversed?

Last month, in response to an article I wrote about managing the texting generation, Kristen, a 28-year-old, texting pastor, who was using the principles from my book, The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer, wrote me and asked, “How do those of us in the “texting generation” lead and empower the older volunteers?”

Kristen asks a great question. I commend her for wanting to better understand other generational perspectives. Too many leaders are stuck in their own generational silos and never want to venture out to new leadership methods, and/or they want every other generation to adapt to their leadership method.

How can Kristen’s generation lead and manage my generation? After all, I’m already collecting social security. I was born before people had TV sets in their home. My generation can tell you exactly where we were when Kennedy was shot, Reagan was shot, and the two towers fell. We have life experience. We know it all… right?

I have six suggestions for Kristen and other young leaders about better understanding other generational perspectives and how to lead and empower across generational lines.

Six Ways To Lead Older Generations… without Stepping on Their Toes

 1. Be patient with my generation:
We often are late adopters. You are talking about change. Today change is happening so fast that we are often overwhelmed. And as William Bridges says, “It’s not the change that does us in—it’s the transition.” We will get there, but the transition is sometimes slow.

 2.    List the Positives:
Try this communication exercise. If you ever are leading a discussion, divide the group up into classic generational groups – Millennials, Gen-Xers, Boomers, etc.  Then ask each group to come up with a list of what the other generational groups in the room bring to your organization/church and what you can learn from them. When you frame the question in this positive way, it is exciting to hear each group praise each other rather than gripe about each other. This discussion can often be a foundation to understanding. Listening and understanding are the beginning to serving each other.

3.    Provide Flexible Communication Options:
Give everyone several options to communicate: printed page, telephone, e-mail, text, Twitter, Facebook. Airlines have learned this trick. They give me the option of phones, email or text to inform me of my upcoming flights. My HMO does the same for my appointments. Generations need to stop forcing other generations to conform. Provide options. We’ll slowly adapt. But let me not get ahead of myself…

4.    Give Us Motivation to Adapt to Technology:
The greatest influence on my generation is our grandchildren. Do you know why I started texting?  I sent an e-mail to my 16 year old granddaughter. She didn’t answer so I asked her, “Alyssa, did you get my e-mail?” She chuckled, “Papa, e-mail is so old school. I hardly ever check my e-mail. Either text me or send me a message on Facebook.” So I started texting to keep in touch with my granddaughter, and now I text all the time. Thank you Alyssa for bringing me into the 21st century.

5.    Adapt Your Communication Style:
As a communicator we must remember to consider our audience. That is why I commend you for wanting to better understand your older generational perspective. So often I want my listeners to adopt my method of framing the message, when in actuality I need to use my listener’s communication style to make sure I get my message across. If I want to make my point to someone who doesn’t speak English, I can’t expect them to learn English. I need to learn their language or get a translator.

Frequently we make this mistake with other generations. If I want someone from the “texting generation” to get my message, I need to adapt my communication style. And if you want someone from my generation to get your message, you need to adopt your communication style to our style. You might need to sit me down and talk to me over breakfast—face to face. Turn off your cell phone for 30 minutes, listen to stories about my trip to Greece, look at pictures of my grandkids. Don’t try to Skype me for 3 minutes and think you have me on board. (By the way, your generation actually likes this kind of face to face attention too… many of them just don’t know it.)

6.    Empower Me:
I love the way Kristen asked, “how can I lead and empower?” None of us want to be micro managed, no matter what generation. As a young leader, when you give me the opportunity to lead a project or event for you, sit down with me (I love meeting at Starbucks), and we can define the three elements of event management—(1) the scope of the event, (2) the budget that I have to work with and (3) the schedule—when each stage needs to be done.

Once we have defined those three elements together, then empower me to get it done. That means you turn me loose to follow those three guidelines and get it done. I can recruit my team and make it happen. And when you check in with me to see how it is going, ask the empowerment questions, (1) How is it going?  (2) How I help you? When you ask me that second question you are demonstrating to me that you want to help me in away way you can to make it happen. You are demonstrating that you are a team player—not a boss.

Perhaps you have caught a theme to my answer to Kristen’s question—it is communication. Communication is a constant challenge and the methods are changing almost daily.

Today it’s texting, Facebooking, and microblogging. In ten to twenty years all those 20-somethings will be trying to get you to communicate through a whole new medium, and who knows what that will be. Just pray that they will be as sharp of a leader as Kristen and actually want to understand your perspective.

Tom McKee is co-author of The New Breed: Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteer. When Tom isn’t hanging out with his grandkids, he’s speaking or training across the U.S., equipping volunteer managers and leaders. Tom and his wife Susie live in Northern California, within driving distance from their 5 grandkids.

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Ashley and I

Posted on: 02/15/12 9:22 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A few weeks ago I shared with you how my youngest daughter Ashley doesn’t think I’m funny anymore.

It’s not that we don’t laugh together any more… we do all the time. Ashley has just proven to be my toughest audience. I used to be able to get a laugh out of Ashley no problem. Now it’s work!!!

I guess I’m not the only dad out there “trying too hard.” Because we hear the same thing from another teenager in our new R U Listening video that we just launched on our parents YouTube page. Carly, from Michigan tells her dad to not try too hard to be Mr. Fun Dad. Ashley and I recorded this R U Listening video together… since it hits close to home!

What about you? Do you find yourself trying too hard as a parent at times instead of just being you?

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Every Couple Should Know

Posted on: 02/14/12 11:44 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Kiss while stuck in traffic

Eat cookie dough in bed once a year

…both great ideas! (Mental note: try both with Lori today!)

These ideas are from the mind of  Doug Fields. In the last year I’ve been getting to know Doug better and it’s been great getting to put a face to the “legend.” Lets face it… for those of us who have been in youth ministry for a while, Doug has been one of the trusted voices we could depend on.

Doug has started providing a lot more marriage and parenting resources in the last few years in cooperation with Jim Burns and their ministry at; they even have an amazing marriage seminar coming up in California this weekend.

Here’s a fun little piece from Doug’s book, 365 Things Every Couple Should Know (ht to Mikey’s Funnies for posting this). After my blogs on marriage last week, I’m happy to pass on these fun tips that every couple should know.

By Doug Fields

…to not yell at one another unless the house is on fire
…it is easier to complain after a fault than forgive one
…the importance of having a “Do Not Disturb” sign
…the correct answer to “Do you love me?” is not, “I married you, didn’t I?”
…to have a regular date night
…the silent treatment was invented by a kindergartner
…to slow dance in your underwear…in private
…to kiss when stuck in traffic
…they need a weekend retreat at least twice a year
…to buy your spouse crazy underwear every year
…a man’s sex drive is similar to a drum solo
…a woman’s sex drive is similar to a finely tuned orchestra
…how to make your spouse laugh
…the game of Scrabble has been known to ignite major arguments
…major house projects may need to be followed by minor marital counseling
…when to break the diet restrictions and pig out
…sex begins in the morning by the way you talk to and treat one another
…to read Song of Solomon together
…to schedule your mid-life crisis
…the joy of making up after a lover’s quarrel
…it is fun to be spontaneous: tickle, dance, or join your spouse in the shower
…voice tone says it all
…to find humor in negative situations
…to eat cookie dough in bed at least once a year
…genuine love is valuing a spouse as God does

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