Was he right?

caitlyn-jenner-bruce-jennerIt’s the most effective question provoking discussion with teenagers. Three simple words: Was he right?

Whenever you encounter something debatable or controversial, just ask the question. Don’t lecture. Just ask and be quiet. It gets young people talking and adults listening… something beneficial to any adult/kid relationship.

It’s like this:

You read an article about Bruce Jenner… like this one: The High Cost of “Sexual Freedom” on “Caitlyn” Jenner’s Family, an article sure to stir up a discussion with opinions on both sides. Then ask the question.

Was this author right?

Maybe throw another article in the mix, an article with a slightly different tone. Like this Continue reading “Was he right?” »

Posted in Parenting, Youth Culture, Youth Ministry Programming | 1 Comment

Loving Jurassic World

JurassicWorldQuality movies have been difficult to find of late. I’m a big “movie buff” and lately I actually find myself going to the theatre less and less, not because of time or money… but because of lack of selection.

Enter Jurassic World stage left.

I was interested in this one from the first preview. Maybe it’s because I remember the feeling sitting in the theatre next to my wife in 1993 and seeing those dinosaurs looking so lifelike I felt like I was truly visiting Jurassic Park.

Then the disappointing sequels.

Then a decade without Continue reading “Loving Jurassic World” »

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They are just so… SKINNY!

Soooo-skinnyLast week a brand new set of books hit the shelves that are SO SKINNY…. any youth worker can read them!

Yeah, even that one intern!

Group Publishing had a creative idea of grabbing 6 authors on 6 vital youth ministry subjects. I was blessed to be one of those authors—writing “The Skinny on Volunteers.” Then Mark Oestreicher wrote Continue reading “They are just so… SKINNY!” »

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Coming to SoCal, Little Rock, Louisville…and more

Jonathan-Speak-micMy fall is almost booked solid, but I might be already coming to your area. So take a quick glance at my speaking calendar and see if your church would like to take advantage of any of these openings when I’m already near you… starting next weekend in…

SoCal
Next weekend I’m going to be in SoCal speaking at Pacific Coast Church in San Clemente, CA on Sunday, June 14th. First I’ll be teaching a FREE parenting workshop from 3-5PM. Then I’ll be training youth leaders from Continue reading “Coming to SoCal, Little Rock, Louisville…and more” »

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Somethin’ a lil’ different with my teenagers

Rock-N-WaterWe were bored and looking for something to do for the day, something… different.

20+ years as a youth worker, I go back to my youth worker connections when I want to do something fun with my girls and their friends, so that’s why I called my friend Craig over at Rock-N-Water here in NorCal. So Monday, seven of us went white-water rafting on some Class III rapids.

So fun!!! Continue reading “Somethin’ a lil’ different with my teenagers” »

Posted in Family, Parenting, Personal, Travel, Youth Ministry Programming | 2 Comments

Parents Adapting to Survive

FamilyParenting is hard! Really hard. In fact, if you ever meet a parent who says it’s easy… don’t listen to them. I’m serious. They’re either lying… or they don’t have children.

Effective parenting requires a hefty learning curve. In fact, today’s parents need to learn the art of adapting and learning lessons on the fly just to survive.

I just posted a brand new article on TheSource4Parents.com on this very subject. It’s titled: Three Ways I’ve Adapted to Survive Parenting. Continue reading “Parents Adapting to Survive” »

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Diversity of Maturity in Middle School

Girls textingA few weeks ago I talked with a group of middle school students about sex. As always, it was intriguing to notice the diversity of maturity around the room. I saw a 75 pound 6th grade boy who looked like he was plucked straight off the elementary school playground, sitting next to an 8th grade girl who looked like she was ready to leave for college next week.

How do you address a crowd with this kind of diversity in maturity? Continue reading “Diversity of Maturity in Middle School” »

Posted in Sexuality, Youth Culture, Youth Ministry Programming | 2 Comments

Recruiting Your Volunteer Dream Team

pictureHave you ever sat in church on a Sunday morning, looked around the room and coveted volunteers?

Okay, maybe it’s just me. I’ll notice a young couple I know sitting across the isle who are fun, relevant and on fire for God. All I can think of is…

“They’d be perfect youth ministry volunteers!
Middle schoolers would love these two!!!”

And then what do we usually do? We shake our head and say, “I wish they would sign up to help.”

And that is where we usually fail. Continue reading “Recruiting Your Volunteer Dream Team” »

Posted in Leadership, Youth Ministry Management | Leave a comment

A dad’s words giving away his daughter

This was powerful. Wow! I won’t mess it up by talking about it. Just watch this little YouTube clip of a dad’s words as he gave away his daughter in marriage:

I’m totally inspired for when I give away my daughters!

Posted in Marriage, Parenting | Leave a comment

Growing After Graduation

growing-in-faithRemember all that hype about the 5%?

I think I heard it like this. “Do you know that only 5% of Christian students actually keep their faith when they graduate from high school?”

Really? 5%?

Someone said it once, printed it, and it became “research.” I’ve heard all kinds of numbers, some of them unbelievable, some of them from solid research and really sobering. But numbers aside, anyone who has worked in youth ministry for any length of time can attest to one undeniable truth: too many kids walk away from their faith, stop plugging in with other believers or stop attending church after high school.

So that begs the question, how do we help kids grow in their faith so they continue their faith journey, growing and fellowshipping after graduation? Continue reading “Growing After Graduation” »

Posted in Church, Evangelism, Faith, Youth Ministry Programming | 1 Comment