What are your top three?

Posted on: 11/20/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Top-10-youth-ministry-booksWINNERS POSTED- see below.

A few weeks ago I was sitting with a group of youth workers and one of them asked me, “What are the top three youth ministry books you’d recommend we read, if we could only buy three?”

Great question.

This one caused me to pause for a few moments, after all, I’ve read a variety of insightful books that have helped me through my years of youth ministry (that lot in the picture are a pretty good bunch). But which three have proved foundational?

I’ll list the three books I shared with those youth workers that evening, and then I’ll ask you the same. What three youth ministry books have been the most influential and foundational for your ministry? (I’ll even make this a contest—chime in with a comment Continue reading “What are your top three?” »

The Power of Coming Together

Posted on: 10/16/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Youth-Ministry-NetworkLast weekend I was in a small town outside of Minneapolis where I witnessed something I rarely see in the world of youth ministry. I saw a network of 8 youth workers from different ministries come together to share ideas and do ministry together.

I almost pinched myself. A Lutheran, a Baptist, a Methodist, someone from the Covenant church and a Campus Life leader were drinking coffee together (sounds like a joke, right?) Yes, it’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but let’s just say I don’t see it often Continue reading “The Power of Coming Together” »

Want a sneak peak?

Posted on: 07/24/14 11:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

volunteerI just finished a brand new youth ministry book about mobilizing and equipping volunteers for ministry. I turn it in to the publisher in 7 days and would love to get some feedback to make some last minute tweaks before I turn it in.

Anyone want to preview my book this weekend? (UPDATE: I’ve already had an overwhelming response. I can have 5 more people look at it- but they’d need to be able to read it literally this weekend and have me comments by Monday at noon.)

The book is a short little resource, just 10,000 words (that’s like just 2 to 3 chapters of most of my books), part of a creative new youth ministry set that GROUP Publishing is coming out with early next year. I won’t give too much away about the project, but I’ll let you know that Continue reading “Want a sneak peak?” »

Training Your Own Volunteers

Posted on: 06/3/14 5:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

pictureIf you’re a ministry leader, what do you do to keep you leaders sharp?

It didn’t take long for me to discover that all my volunteers enjoyed two things: food and socializing. So I decided to provide both, by gathering all my volunteers together once a month for dinner, with a little dash of training and equipping. My budget was small so we just did a potluck dinner at a different house each month. We would spend the first hour just eating and enjoying each other’s company. Once we finished eating, I spent a little time teaching them about youth culture or sharpening their ministry skills.

So what kind of training can we offer our volunteers without having to bring in a professional? Continue reading “Training Your Own Volunteers” »

Keeping Teens Safe Contest

Posted on: 02/10/14 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee


It’s time for my first contest of 2014. I’ve got some great giveaways for youth workers this week: your choice of any one of my books, OR… a free registration to the Youth Specialties’ Team Training event, coming to another 8 cities across the US! (of which I’ll be teaching at 3)

Winning is simple. Just use my blog’s comment feature in this post to share your best “careless” story in no more than one paragraph. I’ll choose three winners Continue reading “Keeping Teens Safe Contest” »

Super Bowl Quiz

Posted on: 01/27/14 10:13 AM | by Jonathan McKee

big game logoIt’s almost Super Bowl time… and that means two resources you’ll be seeing from us this week: Our annual BIG GAME Quiz, and a special Youth Culture Window article (posting mid-week) about what to expect from the halftime show.

For those of you have been following TheSource4YM.com for the past few years, you probably look forward to the fun little free resource we provide every year called the Super Bowl “BIG GAME Quiz!” (I just posted it HERE). This quiz is a fun little party game you can use at your Super Bowl party at your church or your home. People fill out the quiz as they enter your party, predicting scores, catches, runs, etc., then you Continue reading “Super Bowl Quiz” »

The Kids Outside the Gates

Posted on: 10/10/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Here’s a puzzle to solve. No, it’s not a riddle or a mind bender. It’s a true ministry dilemma sure to spark discussion among people with a passion for ministry  (Which is the exact type of ‘case study’ I liked to always drop in the laps of my leadership team).

When I was in Uganda I visited a youth group made up primarily of international students from a certain private school. The kids were mixed racially and Continue reading “The Kids Outside the Gates” »

Missing the Ball

Posted on: 09/16/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The night I arrived back to the US after two weeks from Uganda, I had a dream.

I was playing soccer (football, if we’re in Uganda) and was the left wing—that’s the forward on the left side. My friend Marko was my goalie and he kicked a beautiful kick up the left side, right in front of me, yelling, “Jonathan, go!” It was a clear opportunity for me to score.

This is one of those moves professional players can do with ease, but you’ve seen amateurs blow a thousand times. It takes the skills of controlling an incoming ball while running, not a simple task, by any means. It’s a skill I remember drilling Continue reading “Missing the Ball” »

3 Best Practices Developing Young Leaders

Posted on: 07/15/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I just heard my friend Doug Fields share three “best practices” developing young leaders helpful not only in the context of youth ministry, but also in the context of parenting.

Doug is a big believer in developing young leaders. In all three cities of his SLC2013 Conference this year, he pulled the adult leaders aside and prepped them for what they could do to help their students glean as much as possible from this leadership event. In this little face to face meeting, Doug shared 3 “Best Practices” adult leaders could make a habit of, not only at this conference, but this entire year, developing young leaders Continue reading “3 Best Practices Developing Young Leaders” »

Motivating Young People to Get Involved

Posted on: 06/24/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

WHY do young people get involved?

HOW do you get them involved?

What should we NOT do, when trying to get young people involved?

In this short and highly informative YouTube video from last year’s The Summit conference (from Youth Cartel), DoSomething.org’s Marah Lidey gives us examples of how they have engaged literally hundreds of thousands of young people to Continue reading “Motivating Young People to Get Involved” »