New Book Cover

Posted on: 05/31/12 9:24 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Yeah…some of my Twitter followers probably remembering me Tweeting about this upcoming book. I signed a contract with Zondervan right around the time my eye got infected, then have been pounding the keys a little here and there with someone else’s help…someone who is going to bring an amazing element to this book: my dad!

The book is MORE 10-Minute Talks, a book that people have been asking me for ever since I released 10-Minute Talks a few years ago. If you own that previous book, I encourage you to open up the front cover to the Acknowledgements. You’ll see this:

“My dad deserves more than just an acknowledgement in this book– his name should probably be on the cover with mine.”

Well… it’s official. He’s on the cover of this upcoming one. My dad and I have been working together gathering captivating stories for this book and matching them with corresponding Biblical application and discussion questions. If you liked the first book, you’re gonna really enjoy this one.

I’m really excited to be working with my dad on this one. Those who use his website or have read THE NEW BREED, the book that my dad and I co-authored, are already fans of his. This will be the second book that we’ve officially co-authored together. Really fun!

Here’s the cover! (I think that the plan is for this book to release this fall when I teach my “Speaking to a Generation with a Short Attention Span” workshop at the National Youth Workers Conventions. We just gotta finish writing it in the next 30 days!)

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Who is Watching the MTV Movie Awards This Sunday and Why?

Posted on: 05/29/12 4:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The MTV Movie Awards airs this Sunday night, a television event that is always over-the-top raunchy and irreverent, chock full of every celeb imaginable, and consequently, sure to attract enough teens and tweens to make it one of the most watched television events of the year.

I always find it interesting what young people are watching on TV. This isn’t the easiest information to find. Sure, you can pop on Nielsen’s website at any time and see the most popular shows that everyone are watching (usually with a few weeks time lag), both broadcast and cable, but this doesn’t tell you what teenagers specifially are watching? (or even young people 12-34, which is MTV’s target audience).

Every week my Twitter followers see me Tweet the link to an obscure site that, on Fridays, lists the Top 10 Combined Broadcast/Basic Cable shows among different age groups according to Disney from Nielsen Media Research Data. I always scroll down and peek at their list of top shows watched by Teens 12-17-years-old. During the Jersey Shore season, guaranteed this vulgar reality show will always be the #1 show across all of television watched by teens (usually followed by Family Guy, American Idol and a few others). Shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom are helping MTV maintain status as the top network watched by younger viewers. Such has been the case for years now.

Enter the MTV Movie Awards, stage left.

The Movie Awards has never been the powerhouse that its sister show has, The Video Music Awards (VMAs). The VMA’s effortlessly clinches the spot each year as the #1 cable telecast of the entire year watched by 12-34-year-olds—it easily dominated in 2011 with the cross-dressing Gaga at the helm. In short, the VMA’s are the Super Bowl of cable. But the MTV Movie Awards draw a pretty large crowd as well, especially for a summer telecast.

Last year the MTV Movie Awards had a huge night, with record numbers, becoming #3 of the top 5 cable telecasts of 2Q 2011, driving record traffic to, and dominating social conversation between Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

Sadly, this popular show always offers plenty of content that is racy and vile, elements that, if parents were to actually watch the show with their kids, would surely prompt them to hit the OFF button. For example, last year’s lesbian sex scene where Natalie Portman’s panties were literally ripped off (MTV has mastered the trick of “showing sexual content without actually showing nudity”), or the year prior when Christina Aguilera sang a song about her genitals and the camera pushed in for a close up of her crotch at the end of the performance (I’m really not making this stuff up).

Each year the show also features performances or appearances by plenty of role models who really shouldn’t be role models. For example, Russel Brand is hosting (I probably don’t need to say any more there). And the ubiquitously “high” Wiz Khalifa is scheduled to perform Sunday…that is, if he can keep himself out of jail long enough (Khalifa was busted twice within 10 days for marijuana earlier this month). This, of course, is brushed off as no big deal by many. I guess the news would be really discouraging if pot smoking among teenagers has gone up lately.


So parents… make sure that your TVs are not tuned into MTV this Sunday night. Youth workers, you may want to put your own kids to bed and take a quick peek at the show just to see what millions of young people are absorbing.

Or, better yet, if you don’t want to watch it, you can wait for my article about the evening. You can catch our summary of last year’s MTV Movie Awards here, an annual gift that David and I wrote for you each year… a gift because then you don’t have to watch it! I’ll be writing this year’s article Sunday night and posting it for you next Monday on our Youth Culture Window page.

It’s sad. I love movies, and there are plenty of good family films this summer. Too bad a show “about movies” on the network most watched by young people has to be marinated in fecal matter.

The Mystery Tweet Contest

Posted on: 05/28/12 10:12 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s happening in the next week or so… no one knows when or how. I’m not giving you the details, I’m just revealing the prize!

It’s this simple. Starting right now, I’m sponsoring a “Mystery Tweet Contest” on my Twitter page. I’m not telling you what activity I’m rewarding or when I’m awarding it, but I’m going to be giving the winner of this little contest a copy of my new evangelism DVD Curriculum REAL CONVERSATIONS along with 5 Participant Guides!

It could happen tomorrow… it could happen in a week. I’m not telling. (This is so fun!)

So what should you do for the next week or so?

  1. Sign up to Follow me on my Twitter page if you don’t already
  2. Spread the word by ReTweeting the Tweets that you like

Pay attention… I’ll announce the winner on my Twitter page soon!

Happy Tweeting!

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Olympic Athlete Talks Candidly about Virginity

Posted on: 05/24/12 12:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve heard a lot of Christian celebrities talk about virginity…but never so candidly.

I really like this video. I don’t know much about Olympic athlete Lolo Jones. I don’t know if she has a faith, or about many of the decisions she’s made (she actually has done a few photo shoots that are a little edgy and risque’). But she makes it clear in this video that she wants to wait until marriage for sex, why she thinks that’s smart, and how incredibly difficult it’s been. Pretty cool! Lolo did a great job with this interview, demonstrating a nice balance of humor and transparency.

Last week I blogged about talking to teenagers about sex, and one of my readers, Roger Brown, commented, linking this article and video.

For more about talking to teenagers about sex, jump on our TRAINING TOOLS page on our youth ministry site and scroll down to Shhhhh! Don’t Talk About Sex! and Telling Teenagers the Explicit Truth About Sex.

A Few Open Spots

Posted on: 05/23/12 10:34 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It never fails…I finish speaking in some city, and two days later I get an email, “I wish I knew you were going to be here! I would have come heard you speak!”

I love meeting my readers around the country, so here’s a glimpse at where I’ll be this coming year, and a few open spots. I’m almost booked full for 2012 and I might be coming to speak near you if you live in the U.S…. furthermore, I’ve got a great opportunity for those of you in AZ or FL who would like to bring me out, because I’m going to be there already and will speak for $1,000 off our normal price.

Let’s start with AZ. I’m going to be between Palm Springs, CA and the Phoenix, AZ area one of the last couple weeks in July (a great time to be in AZ, might I add). So if you’re in that area and would like me to speak to your church, parents or youth group, I’d love to talk with you! Use the CONTACT US button on this blog to contact me.

As for FL, I’m going to there the week of February 18-24, 2013 and could speak anytime that week, or preach and teach a parent workshop on Sunday the 24th. If you’re in FL and would be interested in me speaking at your church, CONTACT me and tell me what you’re interested in.

Last 3 Remaining Open Dates in 2012
In addition to the two specific openings mentioned above, here’s the last three weekends I have available to speak in 2012

  • August 10-12
  • September 7-9
  • December 1-2

Here’s my calendar for the rest of 2012 and the beginning of 2013:

June 3, 2012 (Cleveland, OH)
Understanding, Recruiting & Leading GEN Y Volunteers, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Annual Conference 2012

June 17, 2012 (Carmichael, CA)
Preach, Father’s Day, Christ Community Church

July 15, 2012 (Carmichael, CA)
Preach, Christ Community Church

August 19, 2012 (Albuquerque, NM)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Eastern Hills Baptist Church

September 15, 2012 (Highland, MI)
Connect Workshop, Highland United Methodist Church

September 16, 2012 (Highland, MI)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Highland United Methodist Church

September 26, 2012 (Dallas, TX)
Training Workshops, D6 Conference

October 7, 2012 (Boise, ID)
Preach, Parent Workshop, First Baptist Church Boise

October 12-14, 2012 (San Diego, CA)
Training Workshops, Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention

October 28, 2012 (Bluffton, IN)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Hope Missionary Church

November 4, 2012 (Sidney, NE)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Sidney EV FREE Church

November 16-18, 2012 (Dallas, TX)
Training Workshops, Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention

January 18-20, 2013 (East Troy, WI)
Timberlee, WinterXtreme

February 17, 2013 (Raleigh, NC)
Preach, Parent Workshop, Speak to Teenagers, Highland Baptist Church of Raleigh


Just Don’t Leave Any Evidence

Posted on: 05/21/12 3:34 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It usually works like this. Mike and Stephanie are “a thing.” Their relationship is the talk of their high school. Mike convinces Stephanie to send him a picture of her wearing a thong…or less. Stephanie does, because, after all, that’s what guys like, right? What music video doesn’t have girls showing off their goods? That’s what girls are supposed to do!

A month later Mike and Stephanie break up. Angry, Mike shows the picture of Stephanie to a bunch of his friends. “Looks at what a slut she is!”

Within 4 hours Stephanie is sent her own photo by a friend. “Look what Mike is sending around.”

Stephanie is mortified. She wishes she would never have sent the photo.

“Well don’t worry Stephanie, have we got a solution for you!” (Enter cheesey music and graphics here!) “Just use the new iPhone app called SnapChat. ShapChat allows you to send a picture to your friends that only lasts a designated number of seconds…then it’s gone forever!”

I wish I was kidding. But SnapChat is quite real. Last week it was #12 on the free iOS photo app charts in the U.S. I tried the app to see how it works. Click a pic, choose how many seconds you want someone to see it, then send it to whoever you want. No accountability at all.

Isn’t it nice that, once again, we’re teaching young people the wrong lessons? Instead of teaching them to make the right choices in the first place, we’re teaching them, “Don’t leave any evidence of your bad choices.”

App creator Evan Spiegel denies that the app is for sexting, but readily admits that the app was partially inspired by the Anthony Weiner scandal (Weiner is the congressman that Tweeted photos helping him live up to his last name).

Hmmmm. So what is the app for?

Let me not lead you astray and try to convince you that the majority of teenagers are sending naughty pictures or sexual texts to each other. Not even close. As far as I can tell, about 4 percent of minors age 12-17 have sent these kind of messages, and about 15 percent have received them. When it comes to 18 and 19-year-olds, the percentages grow rapidly. Regardless of the numbers, when young people see the subject dealt with in the media today, what message are they hearing about choices and their consequences? Just don’t leave any evidence?

(If you’re curious about where all these “sexting” numbers came from, I encourage you to read this Youth Culture Window article I wrote a few years ago about the whole sexting hype, Fact or Fiction. Then you can read my blog about the Pew Research report that claims only 4% of teenagers age 12-17 have sent sexually suggestive, nude, or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via text messaging, and my conversation with the report author Amanda Lenhart about her numbers.)

Equipping Teenagers to Make Decisions
What are we teaching our teenagers…or are we leaving that up to someone else? Do teenagers understand that choices have consequences? Can mistakes like this be covered up if we just take precautions and use slick little CYA tools like SnapChat?

In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t bring up SnapChat if I was talking to a youth group (unless it was an app that I saw the majority of my group using), but I would definitely talk about the concept of choices and their consequences. The subject of decision-making goes way beyond how we use our cell phones. At the same time, cell phone “mistakes” might be a good way to introduce the subject of decisions and their consequences.

Last week the Sydney Morning Herald ran an article titled, Teen Sext Haunts Man 7 Years Later. The story is about a young man’s impulsive decision to email two pictures of himself and his girlfriend having sex when they were 17. That quick decision still haunts the 24-year-old today, now a registered sex offender.

We wrote a discussion using the article as a springboard to talk about Galatians, Chapter 6 where it says, “You reap what you sow.” This free piece of curriculum on our website has small group questions, scripture and a wrap up, and is a great example of a tool to talk with teenagers about choices and their consequences.

What about you?
Have you had any personal experience with young people posting or sending something they regretted? How did you handle the situation?

How have you talked with teenagers about these issues?

Eye Stitches

Posted on: 05/16/12 5:26 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Sounds painful, huh?

This Thursday I go in for the third attempt to motivate my right eye to better take correction. That means a couple stitches, this time, with a day or two running start of antibiotics.

Many of you remember what happened last time we tried to do this… I got Zombie Eye! (not an official diagnosis… just what I called it). This time… I expect much better!

The worst part about it is the fact that I’m awake when they put in these stitches. They have this cool little gadget that pries open my eye, they numb me up, then they tell me, “Look forward… now a little to the left…” then they put in the stitch why I hold still! (Yeah… no pressure!)

If all goes well, I’ll be fine 24 hours later. Appreciate your prayers!

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Spot On about Sex

Posted on: 05/15/12 2:59 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A little while ago I devoted five days of this blog to talking about, “talking about sex” explicit detail. Simply put: youth workers and parents often neglect talking about this subject and our kids are forced to figure it out on their own.

I’ve been receiving amazing feedback since the launch of that blog series… much of it in the comments section that week. But it’s been interesting to continue to receive comments and emails from people that have taken my advice and actually talked with their kids about sex in explicit detail.

Here’s a recent email from Shona, a youth worker in NZ:

Dear Jonathon,

Just wanted to send you a note to say how much I appreciated your blogs on this topic. I am a youth Pastor in a church in NZ, a rather “old” one, female 56, am in my 7th year after 18 yrs in Children’s Ministry! Absolutely love God’s call into this Ministry!

Anyway, last weekend we had our Girls retreat & I’d felt God nudging me to do the relationship topic in depth & had all the ideas but wondering how to put them into 4 talks … & then I saw your blogs. So so great, used your headings & alot of your blog along with more stuff. Weekend went amazingly well!!

Funniest thing – a couple of subjects you mentioned, I thought “no, I can’t talk about that!” but on Saturday night when I”d shared my own testimony on my teen yrs & pre-marriage (not pretty .. non-Christian then!!) we did “Aska” basket time & every awkward subject came up! So you were spot on!! Just wanted to say your blogs were awesome & gave me the courage & the wisdom to say things straight up to the girls on so many issues!! AND everyone responded so well to hearing the whole truth.,

God’s truth. GOD BLESS .. SHONA

Thanks Shona, and so many others, for your encouraging notes. Keep up the good work!

We’ve now combined these blogs and posted them in a “Training Tools” format on our FREE TRAINING TOOLS page on and in a helpful article format on our PARENTING HELP page on

Get Your Teenagers Talking

Posted on: 05/13/12 1:46 PM | by Jonathan McKee

“How was your day?”


“How was school?”

“Same as always.”

“Much homework?”


“Anything exciting happen?”


“Nice talking with you.”

Is it just me? Or do our kids have PhD’s in one-word answers?

I just got back from Southern California where I had the privilege of teaching the parenting track at the FAM Conference hosted by my friends Doug Fields and Jim Burns. On Saturday I launched a brand new training workshop titled “Get Your Teenagers Talking.” For those of you who weren’t able to make it to SoCal last week… I thought I’d give you a taste.

After giving parents a quick tour of today’s pop-youth-culture, I wanted to provide them some practical ways to dialogue with their kids. Here’s two of my “5 Tips to Get Your Teenagers Talking.”

1.    Don’t Ask Dull Questions
Parents always complain to me that they can’t get their kids to talk with them, but often they don’t put any time into formulating the questions they ask.

Don’t ask dull questions like “How was school?” My daughter Alyssa told it to me straight one day. She said,

“Dad, stop asking me how school is day after day. School’s always the same. It sucks, it’s boring, and it seems like a waste of time. I could cram all 7 hours of what they teach me into about 90 minutes. So stop asking me the same question, you’re just gonna get the same answer.”

Wow. I guess I should give her credit for being honest!

So instead of asking something like “How was school?” How about asking something like this:

“If you could ditch all your classes tomorrow except one, which class would you choose to actually attend? Why?”

This question is much more attractive to a teenager. First, it hangs on the fun premise that they get to ditch school. At the same time, it forces them to salvage something tolerable about one of their classes.

“I’d probably go to English. Mr. Alves is actually pretty cool and we’re reading Huck Finn right now, which is actually pretty good.”

If we’re willing to put a little more thinking into our questions, we might get a little bit more from their responses. But creative questions aren’t the only tool in a parent’s belt. We can also…

2.    Use Controversy.
If you want to talk to your kids about “parental guidelines” you could approach it one of two ways. You could say, “Hey kids, wanna talk about parental guidelines?” Be careful if they have fruit or muffins in their hands when you ask this, they are liable to throw them at you. Honestly, what kid is going to respond to that kind of proposal?

Instead, try this. “Hey kids, did you see the YouTube video where the redneck dad got so sick of his daughter’s disrespectful antics on Facebook that he pulled out his 45 and blew holes in her laptop?”

I tried that with my daughters and they both demanded to see the video immediately. After watching the video, I asked, “So do you think the dad was unfair?” It resulted in a 45-minute discussion about “parental guidelines.” (I blogged all about that and linked the video here.)

Wanna talk with your daughters about the pressures they’re gonna face at school dances? Again, you could try your luck asking them to sit down on the couch so you can discuss it… or you could rent the new version of Footloose, watch it together, and then ask some well placed questions about what you saw (My article about using that movie for discussion, and questions here).

Pop culture offers plenty of creative discussion starters through songs, movies and even newspaper articles. Just pop onto the front page of and glance in the box titled OFFSITE ARTICLES JONATHAN HAS READ THIS WEEK. I constantly am reading and linking articles about technology, celebrities, entertainment media, drugs and alcohol… all can be used as discussion springboards to get your teenagers talking.

What about you!
What are the best ways you’ve found to get your teenagers talking?

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Ponytailed Pastor

Posted on: 05/10/12 2:55 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’ve never heard of a “ponytail” being used for the kingdom. But in the case of Mick… it’s the truth.

Mick was nothing like I expected when I was introduced to the senior pastor at this small town Nebraskan church. Mick was wearing jeans, Converse and a t-shirt with Einstein’s face when he met me at the church on Saturday night.

It only took listening to a few people in the congregation before I immediately deduced how much Mick meant to this church.

“Mick has helped make this church the ‘go to’ place in this community when someone is hurting,” Stan McNabb shared. Stan is a volunteer youth worker in the church. “If someone is in the hospital fighting for their life, it doesn’t matter if they go to this church. The family wants to talk with Mick.”

When Mick finished his masters degree at Denver Seminary, he was offered a  pastorship at the small EV Free church in the middle of nowhere Nebraska. Mick moved out there with his wife and kids and immediately got a reputation in the community—the new pastor with the ponytail.

If you live in a small town you understand. Word gets around fast. Everybody knows everybody. When Mick walked into the Dollar General and people got a glimpse of the ponytail, he could almost hear the whispers, “That must be him.”

Big city pastors probably don’t know what it’s like to have the word “Hey! It’s me, the new pastor!” tattooed on your forehead. For Mick, he found that it opened up some incredible doors for conversations. But it also created some serious accountability.

Think about this.

How big a tip do you leave Katy, the waitress in the one diner who has probably served the entire town their breakfast at one time or another?

What films are you renting at the video counter at the gas stop? (Yeah, no Blockbuster Video in this town)

Are you patient when Janet, the town gossip, corners you and talks your ear off for half an hour?

A few years ago the community suffered a series of tragedies. Mick immediately made himself available to the families. It wasn’t long before people knew, the guy with the ponytail is a good listener. If you want to go to a church where everyone is accepted, go to the church with the ponytailed pastor.

Mick doesn’t have the ponytail anymore. He was loosing too much hair on top and didn’t want to do the “Phil Collins.” But Mick doesn’t need the ponytail any longer. Everyone knows who he is. He’s the guy that leaves Katy a nice tip every time.

What about you?

What if you had “I’m a follower of Jesus” tattood on your forehead? Would it make a difference how you lived?

What would the people in your town say about you?