Video of Us Tackling Bullying

Posted on: 02/15/11 5:33 PM | by Jonathan McKee

10 days ago my son Alec and I tackled the subject of bullying, speaking to a group of 450 kids. I guess that’s better than tackling an actual bully! Believe me… I’ve been tempted.

I promised you to give you a glimpse of that talk, so we just posted a video of part of it on our web site here.

If you’d like to hear the entire talk, you can catch the audio of it HERE in a special episode of our A LIL BIT podcast.

Parent Seminars

Posted on: 02/8/11 3:45 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I just got to see a copy of the final edit of my upcoming book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent. Standard Publishing did a great job with it. It’s off to the printer now and will be on the racks March 31st.

I received some great endorsements from other authors and speakers in the field. Here’s what Dr. Kevin Leman said:

Jonathan—imperfect parent that he is—shows you how to truly connect with your kid. He brings research and experience and delivers with amazing storytelling and humor.
— Dr. Kevin Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday

I’ll share with you some more as the book gets closer.

The timing is good… I’m starting to do a lot more parenting workshops. This weekend I do one at a church in my area. I’ll be teaching for four hours. I’ll spend the first hour or so talking about today’s youth culture and what our kids are learning from the media, then I’ll spend the rest of the time talking about how parents can build relationships and teach lasting values. (Click here if you’re within driving distance of the Sacramento area and would like to attend).

Here’s the official blurb about the seminar:

This seminar encourages parents that they CAN make a difference in the lives of their kids, and equips them to do just that. Jonathan gives us a glimpse into the highly sexualized world of youth culture and exposes the media messages your kids are immersing themselves with. Learn how to filter these influences and teach our kids discernment. Discover how to build lasting values and glean a few ideas that will help you open the channels of communication in your house.

You can find more on our TheSource4Parents Workshop page.


Speaking with Alec

Posted on: 02/7/11 12:57 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m back from my weekend speaking with my son Alec in Wisconsin; we had a great time together. Not only did we get a chance to tour Chicago on the way up, but we also got to share the stage and speak together one night.

Alec did phenomenal!

On Saturday night he shared his experiences being bullied, then shared some research about how “one friend can make a difference” in a kid’s life. He echoed that research with personal testimony, emphasizing how much he had longed for just “one friend.”

The response was amazing. Kids and adults were walking up to Alec afterwards and talking with him, sharing their stories, and asking him questions. I think it surprised Alec how many people connected with his story.

I closed the evening providing examples of what the compassion and love outlined in Phil 2 looks like: making friends with someone different than you, sitting with them at lunch, maybe even sacrificing some time with your existing friends to “sit on the bus” next to someone new. It all starts with “humility” –realizing that we can’t do it on our own and letting Christ love others through us!

The whole weekend of ministry was fun. I shared the Gospel on Friday night using the prodigal son story (the same one that I provide in my book, Do They Run When They See You Coming? as an example of how to share the Gospel. It’s also in the form of a ready-made talk with small group questions in my book, 10-Minute Talks). The adult leaders loved the small group questions for the weekend. Personally, I think that small group “digestion” immediately after the speaker is always the way to go– so I always provide small group questions when I speak.

Thanks for your prayers! I think we’ll be hearing an official “pizza report” from Alec later on in the week!  🙂

Will I get to Chicago?

Posted on: 02/2/11 3:50 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The front page of my Sacramento paper today shows a picture of a bunch of people on the streets of Chicago walking through a blizzard. The paper provided details of horrible weather conditions and canceled flights, basically warning people, “I hope you don’t plan to fly to Chicago this week!”

Sigh! Tomorrow (Thursday) my son Alec and I are flying to Chicago and then driving up to Wisconsin where I’m speaking at a camp for the weekend. Our original flight has already been canceled and we have been rebooked to come in later in the evening. The temperature will be 8 degrees when we land, -9 degrees with wind chill factor. (And those of you who have been to Chicago and felt that breeze blowing across the lake KNOW how cold that wind chill factor really is!!!)

Despite the delay, if our plane actually gets to Chicago, I plan on giving Alec a little “taste” of Chicago. We’re gonna hit my favorite place, Giordano’s Pizza on the way up to the camp, and maybe even a taste of Gino’s or Lou’s on the way down. (Those of you in the know… what’s your favorite Chicago pizza place? Comment below)

Pray for our speaking weekend. I share the Gospel on Friday night, and then on Saturday night I’m talking about bullying– how one person can make a difference (using Philippians 2:1-5). Alec will be sharing a little too, sharing his story. Many of you have heard a little of our experience being bullied in my article, Voices of the Bullied, I wrote a few months ago. Also pray that I can survive an entire weekend with a camp full of Packer fans on a Green Bay Super Bowl weekend! (Aye, aye, aye!)

If you want to hear some of the highlights, I’ll tweet our experiences throughout the weekend.

Sunday afternoon we’re going to catch the first half of the Super Bowl on an airport TV (I know… lame!) and then board our flight home just after halftime. Hopefully the pilot will keep us posted of the score…

… that is, if we make it to Chicago!

In Korea

Posted on: 01/14/11 1:07 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Yesterday I flew to Korea. I’m hear to speak for the weekend. So far we’ve had a great time.

I think the highlight was when my buddy Lorin, who traveled with me, asked our host (a U.S. civilian who runs a youth ministry on the Yongsan military base over here), “So is it true that they eat dog over here?”

More on that hilarious conversation in a minute.

We flew over here yesterday on a direct flight from San Francisco (2 hours from my house) to South Korea (near Seoul). The flight left at 11:30 am and was about 12 hours. So we landed about midnight California time, but it was 4PM the next day in Korea.

I didn’t sleep on the plane for two reasons:
1. It’s uncomfortable anyway in coach!  🙂
2. I figured that I wanted to sleep a good night’s sleep when I arrived… so I didn’t want to mess with my sleep.

Mission successful. I stayed awake for the whole flight, reading, watching the in flight movies, etc. then met the people I’m going to minister with for the weekend, went to my hotel and slept a good 8 hours right away!

So it was on our ride from the airport that my friend Lorin asked, “So do they eat dog over here?”

Randy, our host, says, “Yes, but it’s not like they just kill dogs on the street. They raise then like cattle.”

Lorin says, “What!!!”

I’m laughing. So I ask, “What kind of dog?”

Randy says, “I don’t know what kind of dog it is. They kind of look like Old Yeller.”

Lorin and I both say in perfect unison, “They raise Labradors for food?!!!”

“Yes, it’s not bad.”

To which Lorin says, “You’ve had it!!!”

I can’t even talk at this point because I’m laughing at Lorin. Plus, I’m trying to figure out how to tell my daughter that they raise and eat yellow labs. I’m sure they aren’t really yellow labs. I think I’m going to have to research that one. But it sure was a humorous conversation.

We eventually got on the military base and met some of the workers for the ministry here reaching out to the teenagers that have parents in the military. Great group of people. I look forward to ministering with them for the weekend (I speak to the kids Saturday, then preach Sunday and doing a parenting workshop)

Today I speak three times to the kids here at the ministry here on the US Military base. Pray for this time. There are going to be about 200 that I’m speaking to. Most of what I’ll be doing today is outreach. So pray as I share the Gospel and invite the kids to respond.

Also pray that I don’t eat Old Yeller!

Stimulating Meetings

Posted on: 01/10/11 3:15 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m in TX right now co-keynoting with my dad at a conference for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It’s kinda fun sharing the stage with my dad, talking about recruiting, training and managing this “New Breed” (the title of our book together) of volunteers in ministry today.

My dad just posted a new Feature Article on his free Volunteer Power website, an article about how to run a stimulating and motivating meeting with your staff, paid and unpaid. Here’s just a glimpse:

A great way to start the New Year is with energizing and stimulating staff meetings. Actually, invigorating staff meetings are great any time of the year, but I am always looking for ways to engage my paid and non-paid staff in a productive discussion to set the tone and opportunities for the new year. The rousing discussion part is not hard because most people are ready to share their opinions on most topics. What proves to be a constant challenge is the productive part. Leaders strive to have each participant walk away with some significant “take-aways that they are motivated to put to immediate use.

One way to focus your discussion is to hand out a relevant, short, informational, and motivating discussion starter. Give each staff member five to ten minutes to read the hand-out at the beginning of the meeting. A couple of years ago I had the staff over to my home for the morning. After I served them food, I handed out a short article with a few discussion questions. I was lucky in that we had a wonderful warm day (rare in Northern California for January) and they spread out all over the back yard to read and reflect. I encouraged them to mark up the article, question it, underline and circle sections or key thoughts. Then they took another ten minutes…

Good stuff. Click here for the whole article.

This reminds me of the some of the training tool ideas we offered you on this page, How to Train Your Own Volunteers. Hopefully both of these are good resources for you as you seek to equip your team in 2011.

In PA and TX this Weekend

Posted on: 01/3/11 4:19 PM | by Jonathan McKee

If you’re in the Pittsburgh, PA area or the San Antonio, TX area, you can see me this weekend.

I’ll be in Bridgeville, PA on Saturday doing my all-day Connect Workshop for youth workers, both volunteer and paid, from area churches and ministries. It’s from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the cost is only $20, and that includes lunch. (here’s quick video clip of me doing this training)

I’ll be at Cibolo Creek Community Church in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX on Sunday afternoon doing my 2-hour Connect Workshop for youth workers, then a 2-hour Parenting Workshop. These are both free.

Click here for more info on either of these training opportunities.

I’m starting to book a lot of both youth worker trainings and parenting workshops already for 2011. If you’re interested in bringing me out to your city, send me an email at

I’ve also developed a new training workshop based on my brand new book, Ministry by Teenagers. I taught this at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention last year. I’ll be teaching it again this coming year in ATL and CA.

Feel free to contact me with any questions about these training opportunities: (I wonder if it’s possible for me to stick just one more hyperlink into this email?)

An Interesting Interuption

Posted on: 11/21/10 10:19 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Last night I spoke to about 400 teenagers and youth workers at a Baptist conference in West Virginia. In the middle of my talk, an inebriated gentleman staggered in the back and started making a lot of noise.

I was speaking about the subject of bullying, preaching out of Philippians 2, a subject that is close to my heart (most of you have already seen the Youth Culture Window article I just wrote on the subject, a little different perspective on the whole Bullying issue).

Meanwhile, the guy wanders in and sits in the back pew.

As I shared some of my story and my son’s story of being bullied, this guy started crying… loud! It was an interesting time in the talk. I was challenging them to think how they treat others that are different than them. Each time I gave an example (not gossiping about that person that’s different from us), he started crying louder.

It was so distracting, not only to me, but to all the kids in the room (kind of funny thinking back on it. Oh man. I’m laughing now.) But more and more kids started staring over at this guy, right while I’m saying, “Don’t look down on others who are different or awkward.”

The situation just spiraled. Every time I said something, his crying got louder. The guy was literally bawling! Some of the event leaders were trying to sit by him and comfort him. I felt sorry for them. I could tell they wanted to bring him outside to talk with him, but they didn’t want him to feel like he was being removed.

By now half the room is just staring at the guy. So I start trying to speak “in code” to them about the guy to try to not make him feel bad. I said, “Often, there are people who we’re tempted to look at differently, but we need to remember to treat them as Christ would treat them, not making them feel in any way like they don’t belong!”

When I said that, the guy started bawling uncontrollably. I literally had to say to the crowd, “Eyes up here!” Finally he got up and left with some of the event leaders who talked with him in the back room.

I was so distracted, I don’t know half of what I said for about a 10-minute period, not that anyone was listening to me at this point anyway!

Anyway… I finally got their attention back and it seemed like the kids really connected with it. And the distraught gentlemen got to talk with some of the leaders before going home to sleep it off.

Hilarious experience… NOW! Not then.

This Weekend

Posted on: 09/30/10 9:34 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This weekend is going to be a little crazy for me. I’d love your prayers.

On Saturday I’m running a 5K for our ministry. When I finish that event, I quickly shower, then hop on a plane and head to San Diego to the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention where I’ll be mingling with youth workers and friends, and teaching two workshops:

Using 10-Minute Talks: Speaking to Generations with Short Attention Spans

Ministry by Teenagers: Developing Leaders from Within

I’ve taught the “10-Minute Talks” workshop a few times at the conference. The “Ministry by Teenagers” is new, based off my brand new book coming out this December (we’ll be selling it on our site as well then).

I’ll be Twittering from the conference. I’m supposed to get together with Greg Stier, Wayne Rice, Adam McLane and others… so I’ll keep you all updated via my Twitter page.

While all this is going on… my 15-year-old daughter is going to her first dance… and I WON’T BE THERE TO SEE HER OFF! That’s terrible! (can someone hear “Cats in the Cradle” playing???) I’m going to blog more about this later- I need to talk more about this. Also, I’m going to be chaperoning a public H.S. school dance in one week (a great way to keep current with youth culture), so I’ll be blogging and tweeting about that as well.

Thanks for your prayers!