Don’t kill your congregation

Posted on: 04/2/20 7:38 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Dare I write, don’t be an idiot.

It’s scriptural.

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (I Peter 2: 12)

What does “honorable behavior” mean during these times? 

It means don’t be the fool who still insists churches keep meeting together during the Coronavirus when thousands of people are dying. This is the wrong hill to die on… and the word “die” might not be too far from the truth.

It’s sad watching the news tonight. The opening news story in my hometown of Sacramento was a church that refused to stop meeting and now congregation members are beginning to get sick. A pastor is sick. If you jump on the church website you can see the choir all sitting directly next to each other.

Sacramento church—I’ve got two words for you: Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church (yeah, that’s four words). This is the church where 28 of the 60 choir members have confirmed cases of the virus. Read the story for yourself, and pay specific attention to the testimony of them when they said, “No one seemed to be ill. During the entire rehearsal, no one sneezed, no one coughed, no one there appeared to be sick in any way.”


Come on brothers, if we practice social distancing in Costco, we can at least practice it at church. And let’s be honest. Pushing a cart around a grocery store and keeping 6 to 10 feet away from people is waaaaaay safer than sitting right next to a person for over an hour singing worship songs.

That’s why this Tampa pastor was actually arrested for holding church in defiance of an order. He cited religious freedom.


This is not the time to claim religious freedom. This is not the time to make the Mayor of New York call you out publicly. This is not the time to demand meeting together. 

That’s what Zoom is for. Facetime. WebEx. YouTube your sermon like everyone else. We’re all doing it.

Ask yourself. What should we look like during all of this?

We have an amazing opportunity to shine for Jesus during these times. Shining for Jesus isn’t killing your congregation in the opening news story. It’s doing virtual outreach when we can’t meet in person. It’s Samaritan’s purse setting up an emergency hospital in Central Park (and if you can’t be on the front lines yourself, then you can donate to them).

Let’s be wise my brothers and sisters. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Mom, Can I Download this App?

Posted on: 03/31/20 3:15 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’re a parent and you have kids with screens, then you probably would like to know what apps they’re downloading. . .or better yet. . .you probably would like to help them learn to become screen-wise and avoid dangerous apps.

And there lies the question. How are we supposed to know what’s dangerous, and then, in turn pass on that knowledge to them?

Take the app Housparty, for example. On one hand this is a Continue reading “Mom, Can I Download this App?” »

Challenge other families to Jonathan’s 15-minute home scavenger hunt

Posted on: 03/24/20 9:57 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Tired of being stuck at home watching Netflix? Tired of your lack of social connection with your friends?

Try this…

Text a group of your friends and challenge their families to “Jonathan’s 15-minute home scavenger hunt.”

It’s simple. Tell them at 7:00 sharp they will all receive a list. At 7PM send them Jonathan’s list (which probably has way more items than any one family can get) and give them these instructions:

In a group text, send ONE picture of as many of these items as you can by 7:15PM Continue reading “Challenge other families to Jonathan’s 15-minute home scavenger hunt” »

The silver lining of no Spring Break

Posted on: 03/19/20 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

No gatherings over 1,000… wait, over 500… I mean, over 250. Make that 10.

Regardless the number, Spring Break has officially been cancelled for college students around the world. The question is… is this really a bad thing?

In the midst of the insanity, I stumbled across an interesting study about Spring Break… and how many hangovers young people might actually avoid this year Continue reading “The silver lining of no Spring Break” »

SoCal, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina…

Posted on: 03/10/20 9:50 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Interesting variety of speaking coming up, from a parent workshop at Mariners Church, equipping educators at a wellness convention, to school assemblies in North Carolina…

Here’s my upcoming schedule for the next two months—maybe I’m speaking near you! (and if not, feel free to reach out to me about speaking in your city)

March 22, 2020, Irvine, CA
“Parenting Generation-Screen” workshop, Mariners Church Continue reading “SoCal, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina…” »

On Your Radio and YouTube Today

Posted on: 03/4/20 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today I’ll be on Focus on the Family’s Daily Broadcast talking about how we can help today’s distracted young guys (a subject I’ve written a lot about recently).

Focus President Jim Daly, John Fuller and I talk about some of the distractions today’s guys are facing (especially in a world where 79% of them bring their phone to the bedroom with them each night… yikes), and how we can respond as parents Continue reading “On Your Radio and YouTube Today” »

Sexual Orientation and Suicide Attempts

Posted on: 02/18/20 3:11 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Many of you saw headlines about the number of young people identifying as LGBTQ doubling in the last decade and attempted suicide rates four times higher than their heterosexual peers. This week I’ll be unpacking those numbers, but more importantly… how we should respond.

The American Academy of Pediatrics just posted a brand new study looking at the disparities among US adolescents from 2009 to 2017 (which are the newest numbers they have from the CDC Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance data, something I’ve written to you about before). The bottom line:

Do you want a sneak peek at my next book?

Posted on: 02/3/20 3:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m looking for some people to give me feedback
about my book BEFORE it’s published

My 24-year-old daughter Alyssa and I are finishing up our last few chapters in my next book—and yes, this one I’m co-writing with her! She is bringing such an amazing perspective, I think people are really going to enjoy her vulnerability about the effect social media has had on her life.

The book is to teenagers about “face-to-face connections in a screen-to-screen world.” Alyssa and I share 40 tips to meaningful communication…that we wish we knew 5 years ago.

Would you like to read it next week? Because I’m looking for feedback… and you’ll have 10 days to peek at it.

Here’s the deal: If you’d like to read this book before anyone else does Continue reading “Do you want a sneak peek at my next book?” »

Teaching kids to think about their media decisions

Posted on: 01/27/20 1:16 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I just posted Episode 19 of our fun little “Parent Tips” podcast… and you won’t want to miss this one.

I recorded this episode at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs a couple weeks ago when I was with the Plugged In team recording some episodes of their “Plugged In Show” (another podcast show I’m a part of… I’ll probably post more about this very soon). And honestly, I’ve been enjoying their perspective so much that I decided to interview them and ask them some direct questions like:

Plugged In used to be a place where parents almost looked for a simple YES or NO whether or not to watch a movie or TV show Continue reading “Teaching kids to think about their media decisions” »

Does New Research Really Reveal Social Media Isn’t Harmful?

Posted on: 01/23/20 12:37 PM | by Jonathan McKee

A few days ago the New York Times released an article titled, Panicking about Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t. The subtitle reads, “A growing number of academics are challenging assumptions about the negative effects of social media and smartphones on children.”

So does this article hold water?

I mean, “panicking” definitely doesn’t sound like the answer, but is it true that this new research is revealing social media might not have so many negative effects? What about all the solid research that too much time screen time and social media is linked to Continue reading “Does New Research Really Reveal Social Media Isn’t Harmful?” »