Teenaged Doubters

Teenage-DoubtersWhenever I talk with today’s teenagers, I see them processing what I tell them. It’s almost as if they are weighing it in their minds:

“Does he really know what he is talking about?

Does this make sense?

Would this make my life better…or worse?”

Today’s adults don’t have presumed authority. Kids don’t take us at our word. We’ve raised a generation who grew up watching Nick and the Disney Channel where they’ve learned that parents and teachers are idiots.

Question authority.

Do what feels right for you.

Adults wonder why today’s young people don’t just accept what we say “as is.”

Entertainment media doesn’t make this assumption. The media studies young people, and “shrewdly” captivates them with convincing arguments and messages they want to hear.

Key word: “shrewdly”

Are you being “shrewd”?

When Jesus sent out his 12 disciples in Matthew, Chapter 10, he advised them like this:

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16, NLT)

How many of us have taken that advice?

Lady Gaga performed at the Oscars Sunday night and knocked the ball out of the park. The world can’t say enough good about her performance, voting it the top social moment of this year’s Oscars. But in Christian circles, here’s what I hear:

“She’s disgusting.”

“She’s a tramp.”

“She’s not even talented. She’s just a sellout.”

Really? She performed Julie Andrews spot on… and she’s not talented? She was voted by teenagers as the #1 key influencer two years in a row and all we can say is… she’s disgusting?

I’m guilty of going on some rants about key Hollywood influencers in my home. Funny, as I went off, I could see my own kids processing my words, and my tone. They were thinking, “Is Dad right? How come no one at school seems to agree with this point of view?”

Was I being shrewd?

It would be one thing if we shrewdly contended:

“It’s interesting that someone as talented as Lady Gaga typically relies on sexually charged messages to capture an audience. It’s almost as if she values her sexuality more than her musical ability, an unhealthy practice the American Psychological Association calls “Sexualization.” Too bad, I think she’s way more valuable than just her sexuality.

Or better yet, what if we posed it in the form of questions:

  • Why do you think Lady Gaga is using so many sexually charged images in this music video?
  • Was her Grammy performance less powerful, since she didn’t use her sexuality? Why are so many people pleasantly surprised by her raw talent, in the absence of her typical gimmicks?
  • Why do you think so many female performers today flaunt their sexuality at the forefront of their performance? What do you think young female fans glean from this?
  • What does the American Psychological Association call it when people value their sexuality over other characteristics? What are some of the consequences they list from this behavior?
  • What are some of the values and characteristics you would like to live out? What does that look like?

Compare that to:

“Lady Gaga is such a slut!”

Shrewd? Or does that just live up to the reputation of the religious weirdo every movie and TV show portrays?

Entertainment media proves over and over again to be shrewd. The Walking Dead introduced a gay character this week. He was pleasant, kind, welcoming… probably one of the nicest characters introduced in a long time. And in a touching moment we saw him forfeit his own well being to care for someone else, which turned out to be his partner.

Best introduction of a gay character… ever, save, maybe, Alan Turing in the Oscar-winning film, The Imitation Game.

Very “shrewd.”

Are Christians being shrewd?

How should we react when we are watching our favorite prime time show with our kids (Downton Abby) and one of the major characters (Mary) sleeps with someone just to see if they are compatible?

How should we respond when we discover our kids watching a Maroon 5 music video where Adam Levine hooks up with a model and has sex with her (and blood pours on them while making love)?

How can we be both “shrewd” and “innocent” in our communication to today’s young people?

TWO EXAMPLES:
Parents had an opportunity to practice this recently when they were watching the Super Bowl game last month and a commercial for 50 Shades of Grey appeared asking, “Are you curious?” I followed that event with an article providing several tips how to respond. Similarly, in my brand new book, More Than Just the Talk, I spend an entire chapter talking about “Creating a Comfortable Climate of Continual Conversations.” Not overreacting, but looking for opportunities to interact with today’s young people when we encounter sexual content.

Sometimes our kids ask us tough questions. Our visceral response might be to bark, “Where did you hear that!” But we should celebrate these questions, excited they feel safe enough to ask. In fact, we can look for opportunities to open doors to this kind of dialogue. For example, in my new book, Sex Matters, I spend an entire chapter addressing the tough questions today’s teens ask, questions about anal sex, cohabitating, oral sex… you name it. This chapter, like the others, has discussion questions at the end of the chapter to help you dialogue with your kids after reading it.

Are you engaging your kids in calm, continual, meaningful conversation?

Are you being shrewd in your responses?

Posted in Entertainment Media, Movies, Music, Parenting, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Conversations about Sex

between the sheetsThey’re here!

I’ve never experienced so much anticipation for one of my books–two of my books actually–probably because they’re candidly addressing the truth about a subject usually kept hush-hush.

I’m talking about my two brand new books about sex (both in stock and shipping today), one for teens, and one for parents and adult mentors. Thanks to all of you who have been asking me about these two resources. I’ve never had soooooo many people asking for early copies and eager to buy bulk copies for their kids and parents. (And to the hundreds of you who pre-ordered copies over the last several months… they’re shipping today!)

I won’t bother blabbing about them. Here’s what others are saying:

FOR TEENS- SEX MATTERS: The Unedited Truth about Sex (includesSex-Matters-620 discussion questions at the end of each chapter)

Sex Matters provides super-helpful, truthful answers to the big questions you’ve wondered about, but never asked.”
– Scott Rubin, junior high pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

“This could be the most honest and relevant book available for teenagers in your ministry.”
-Brooklyn Lindsey, author Confessions of a Not-So-Supermodel

“Just don’t do it’ isn’t enough. Today’s young people are looking for real answers to tough questions and Sex Matters isn’t afraid to tell them the unedited truth. Every teenager with an Internet connection or a phone in their pocket needs to read this book!”
-Doug Fields, author of over 50 books including Purpose Driven Youth Ministry

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK

FOR PARENTS- MORE THAN JUST THE TALK: The perfect tool to create a comfortableMore-Than-Just-The-Talk-620 climate of continual conversations about sex!

“Jonathan McKee’s book helps us to remember that ‘the talk’ is a myth at best, and a terrible strategy at worst. A lifestyle of preparation, a strategic series of discussions, and a proactive commitment to conversation is what our kids need, and this book will help any parent to walk with their kids in confidence.”
– Chap Clark, professor of youth, family and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

“In a world full of explicit lies, today’s kids need parents who aren’t afraid to tell them the explicit truth. The book provides parents with the tools they need to have these candid and continual conversations.”
-Dr. Kevin Leman, New York Times bestselling Author of Have a Happy Family by Friday

“Parents, take a deep breath. This book pulls no punches. But it will give you exactly what you need to walk alongside your kids at this time when they most need it. Let’s become a generation of parents that our children can safely come to for truth!”
– Shaunti Feldhahn, social researcher, speaker, and bestselling author of For Women Only and For Parents Only

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK

The-Sex-TalkIf you’d like both these books, you can save $5 when you order it as the “sex pack” (nice, huh?)

We also sell them in bulk for an amazing discount!

Posted in Books, Parenting, Youth Culture, Youth Ministry Programming | Leave a comment

Walking Dead Conversations

The-Walking-DeadIt’s nice when the most watched cable show happens to also be one of the most discussion-provoking shows on television. (And that’s why we post discussion questions pointing to scripture after every episode.)

I’m talking about The Walking Dead. The hit show had its mid-season premier last week, and it drew over 15 million viewers, ranking it not only the top viewed cable show that week, but also beating most broadcast shows. In fact The Walking Dead beat out American Idol, Empire, Modern Family, Scandal, Two and Half Men, Two Broke Girls… and almost everything else.

And what is the common theme of the show week after week: What is the right thing to do?

Week after week, the show is about morality. People love to discuss, “What would you have done?” In fact, about 3 million viewers tune into The Talking Dead each week simply discussing what happened that week on The Walking Dead. No show has provoked so many discussions (yeah, not even Lost, which, of course, was pretty lame by Season 5. The Walking Dead keeps growing in popularity).

Yes, I’ve heard a few ultra conservatives bash The Walking Dead.

It’s too violent!” They always say.

Yep. No question. It’s violent. The show is about people surviving in a post-apocalyptic world with flesh eating dead walking around. Just be careful before you judge it. Last week I watched another popular show loaded with gossip, backbiting, and slander. Several of this show’s major plot points right now are a murder, a woman who gave birth to an illegitimate child, and a couple who just had premarital sex to see if they were compatible. Sound horrible? It’s a little show called Downton Abbey. (I confess, in all honesty, my wife and I really enjoy the show. Maybe you do too. Luckily, it hasn’t tempted me to murder yet.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not proposing you throw discernment out the window when making entertainment choices. Quite the contrary. Today’s programming is loaded with irresponsible entertainment and today’s Christians need to be leery of anything distracting us from the truth. But don’t dismiss all entertainment as evil. Entertainment can provide some great springboards for discussion about truth.

The Walking Dead is one of those shows for many. It’s a show provoking meaningful conversations. Not a lot of people are tempted to eat flesh after watching the show. In fact, most people are being prodded to think about morality and the ethics in daily decisions.

Are you using culture to engage in conversations about the truth? (a la Acts 17:16-34)

If you haven’t subscribed to the free The Gospel According to The Walking Dead blog, sign up HERE and get posts every week with discussion questions and scripture.

Posted in Entertainment Media, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Sex Matters

Sex-secretsTwo brand new resource are releasing that will help us dialogue about an issue… we usually keep hush hush!

The end of this week two of my brand new books about SEX will literally be coming off the press and being boxed in timely fashion… on Valentines Day… and on the release of the new movie, 50 Shades of Grey. (You might have just seen the new Youth Culture Window article I just posted about that film, “Mom, Why Do People Like ‘50 Shads of Grey’?”)

In a world filled with sexually charges images and content, I’m excited to release these two resources, one for young people and one for parents & adult mentors.

SEX MATTERSSex-Matters-620
The book for young people is called SEX MATTERS. People are describing it as “the unedited truth about sex.” It’s a candid book that tackles the real questions today’s young people are asking about sex. Doug Fields described it like this:

“Just don’t do it’ isn’t enough. Today’s young people are looking for real answers to tough questions and ‘Sex Matters’ isn’t afraid to tell them the unedited truth. Every teenager with an Internet connection or a phone in their pocket needs to read this book!” -Doug Fields

The book is just five easy-to-read chapters and I added discussion questions at the end of each chapter so a parent or youth worker can dialogue with a young person about what they read.

The book retails for just $5.99. We have the book discounted for pre-sale right now, shipping THIS MONTH. We also offer amazing bulk pricing (just $4.50 each) when you buy 10 or more—a great resource to go through with small groups. The book will hit Amazon and bookstores on March 17th.

MORE THAN JUST THE TALKMore-Than-Just-The-Talk-620
The book for parents, mentors and youth workers is called More Than Just the Talk. The book truly “pulls no punches” (to use Shaunti Feldhahn’s words describing it), and helps adults create a confortable climate of continual conversations about sex and intimacy. Dr. Kevin Leman said this about the book:

“In a world full of explicit lies, today’s kids need parents who aren’t afraid to tell them the explicit truth. The book provides parents with the tools they need to have these candid and continual conversations.” -Dr. Kevin Leman

The book retails for $13.99. We have the book discounted for pre-sale right now, shipping THIS MONTH. We offer amazing bulk pricing for this title as well. The book will hit Amazon and bookstores on March 17th.

If you’d like both these books, you can save $5 when you order it as the “sex pack” (nice, huh?)

Help me spread the word about these two brand new resources and open up the doors of dialogue about this important subject.

Posted in Books, Parenting, Sexuality, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

The Intertwining Power of Music and Television

Katy-MissyIn my previous post I highlighted some eye-catching elements that many parents overlooked during last Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast (and no, it had nothing to do with the Illuminati). In this post, I want to turn my attention strictly to the music.

Last Sunday morning Missy Elliott wasn’t on the music charts and certainly wasn’t on young people’s radar. But then Katy Perry invited her to come and perform with her in the most watched halftime show in Super Bowl history.

Now Missy’s experiencing a 1000% sales gain, with all three of the songs performed at the show in the top 10 of iTunes.

Having seen this phenomena before, I took a screenshot of the iTunes Top 10 chart on my phone moments before the Super Bowl. Then I took another screenshot the day to follow. All three of Missy’s songs rose to the Top 10 within 24 hours (over 70,000 downloads sold).

missy-elliott-super-bowl

Many parents aren’t aware of the influence of television and music in young people’s lives today. Some of these parents saw Missy sing and simply thought, I can’t understand a word she’s saying! Kids might have had the same thought, but many of them were quick to Google, YouTube or even iTunes the song or artist to see what she’s all about. Isn’t it comforting to know that America’s most watched television program jumpstarted a song into viral popularity in less than 24 hours with these lyrics:

If you got a big ***, let me search you
And find out how hard I gotta work you
I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it [backwards 2X]
I’d like to get to know you so I could show you
Put the p***y on you like I told you…

A few years ago the exact same thing happened with the Black Eyed Peas at the 2011 halftime show. They opened their performance with the song, I’ve Got a Feeling, a song that rode the top of the charts for an entire summer in 2009. After the halftime show, the song was back at the top of the charts again.

I wonder how many young people YouTubed the music video? (Do you think parents know what their kids will find?)

Americans love their music. In fact:

  • 93% spend more than 24 hours a week listening to their favorite music
  • 75% say they actively chose to listen to music (which is 2% more than choose to actively watch TV)
  • 67% now stream music weekly
    (Nielsen, January 2015)

Sadly, many of the songs at the top of the charts are sexually charged. Take a peek for yourself. Jump on the Spotify Top 50 right now and Google the lyrics of just the top 10 songs, or do what many kids do, watch the YouTube video. (Brace yourself for many of those.)

Rather than overreacting, are you using music to interact and provoke some meaningful conversations? No, I’m not suggesting you expose your kids to videos they aren’t already watching, but if a song comes on the radio when you’re in the car, or they are playing a song from their favorite playlist, don’t be afraid to ask questions. (We’ve got free music discussions- with questions and scripture- for several of the Katy Perry songs she sang at halftime on our MUSIC DISCUSSIONS pages on both our parents site and our youth ministry site.)

Music is an element I spend quite a bit of time talking about in my parent workshops across the country. Kids love music, parents are most often ignorant of the content, and neither are talking about it.

Maybe it’s time for some Super Bowl conversations.More-Than-Just-The-Talk-BLOG

IF YOU LIKED THIS ARTICLE FROM JONATHAN, YOU’LL LOVE HIS BOOKS, SHOULD I JUST SMASH MY KID’S PHONE?, GET YOUR TEENAGERS TALKING, and the upcoming MORE THAN JUST THE TALK

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

The Need for Super Bowl Conversations

Ted-2-for-kidsAfter spending an entire weekend with a couple thousand teenagers in South Carolina, my attention was immediately turned to the most watched television broadcast of the year in the United States: the Super Bowl. It was an intriguing transition.

The Super bowl is a distinctive television event. It’s not unique to adults, and it’s not exclusive to teenagers (a la MTV Video Music Awards). It’s an event truly watched by the entire family (the commercials alone are a huge draw for all ages- did you notice the ad for the new SpongeBob movie? And the new Ted 2 movie… wait… is that for kids?).

So what did I take away from this year’s Super Bowl?

One conclusion: the need for conversations.

Why did I arrive to this deduction? Simply because our country’s biggest “family entertainment” event offered plenty of moments that warrant discussion… and most families are not having these discussions. (For example: I just taught a workshop about what the Bible says about sex to a couple hundred teenagers yesterday, and countless teens could not attend because either their parents or youth workers thought these teens were not “ready to talk about this yet.” I’ll be blogging about this again soon, especially with the release of my new research on this subject.)

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying the Super Bowl was “bad” and we shouldn’t watch it. I’ve not even saying it was as sexually charged as most entertainment, or pushing the limits (like some shows will definitely do, coming in the next month). It was actually quite mild by comparison. I’m just maintaining we live in a world that offers plenty of distractions for our kids and many of them reared their heads during the Super Bowl broadcast.

A few examples:

  • A commercial for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey film with the caption, fantasies provoked, and then asking, “Are you curious?” (Do you think our kids are? Will they YouTube the two-and-a-half-minute preview?)
  • A Victoria Secret commercial with plenty of eye candy.
  • Kate Upton continuing her legacy of “showing off her assets” in her newest commercial for Game of War.
  • A commercial for the upcoming movie Ted 2, a movie with the slogan, “Ted is coming again.” (A play on words- the poster is a picture of the bear turned the other way with his hands occupied- insinuating when he is masturbating to give a sperm sample in the film.)
  • A commercial where an old man tries to take a blue pill to sleep with a woman, but a Fiat digests the pill instead, then grows.
  • A commercial for a cruise informing us how we originally came from water. (That’s funny, I thought we came from dust.)

And that’s without the halftime show.

This year’s halftime show was pretty tame, by comparison (remember the “wardrobe malfunction”?) But do parents even know the content of the music that was performed? Do you think young people aren’t going to revisit or download some of that music this week?

Two interesting observations about the halftime performance:

  1. Our kids know the lyrics: Whenever I talk with young people about the impact of music, I always hear the excuse, “I don’t listen to the lyrics.” Halfway through the show Katy began singing her song, California Gurls. She paused and encouraged the audience to sing. Almost an entire stadium began singing the song word for word. They know the lyrics.
  2. We wouldn’t agree with the lyrics if we read them: Don’t take my word for it. Go ahead—look up the songs that were performed and take a gander. Here they are, listed in order: (and you’re gonna want to look at more than just one song)

Roar

Dark Horse

I Kissed a Girl

Teenage Dream

California Gurls

Get Your Freak On

Work it

Lose Control

Firework

I just have one question for you.

Do you think our kids are ready to talk about some of this… or should we keep quiet and just hope they aren’t thinking about it?

Hmmmmmm.

RESOURCES TO INTERACT, NOT OVERREACT, ABOUT THIS WITH YOUR KIDS:

SEE EVEN MORE GREAT RESOURCES LIKE THIS HERE

Posted in Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

Quiz for the Super Bowl

super bowl quizIt’s almost Super Bowl time… and that means our annual BIG GAME Quiz!

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 fill out the results during the game and tally up the winner (and PLEASE… remember to tally up the answers during the game because that’s how the quiz works).

My friends over at Download Youth Ministry also have a really amazing package for sale called the BIG GAME EVENT KIT complete with a promo video, a pile of fun powerpoint games, and an 8-minute video message from Josh Griffin. Really good stuff (worth the price).

And if you haven’t already seen what I posted last year about “The Seahawks and Jesus“… take a peek. Awesome interview (although realize this was last year, so it was Mark Driscoll interviewing them).

Enjoy these resources.

Posted in TV, Youth Ministry Programming | 2 Comments

Content with My Sin

this is where I leave youI Just finished watching a movie on my flight, This is Where I Leave You. The film was extremely well written, with powerful performances and real-to-life characters. There was just one problem… I walked away content with my own sin.

Life sucks. So do what feels good at the moment.

Here lies the struggle: touching film… bleak perspective

One of the main reasons I enjoyed the movie was the authentic characters with genuine problems. They were blemished, just like me and just like the people sitting in the pews with me every week. But the reason I actually sit in the pew every week is because I desperately need Jesus, and he’s the only one who can solve my sin problem.

That’s Christianity in a nutshell: realize your own shortcomings, understand you can’t do anything about it on your own, and in faith, ask Jesus to do it for you. It’s not very macho. Quite the opposite really. It’s admitting we need help. The good news is, Jesus gives us a clean slate immediately (justification) and begins the slow process of cleaning up our lives part by part (sanctification).

But the world doesn’t like that message. Our dependence on Christ kicks us out of the driver’s seat and doesn’t allow us to do whatever we desire… and that’s really where the problem lies for most.

In This is Where I Leave You the blemished characters acted out in desperation, sleeping around on their spouses, drinking, smoking pot… sometimes to numb the pain, and sometimes exploring greener pastures, only to find out that the grass isn’t always greener. Then they wondered why their lives were so messed up. Jason Bateman’s character even asked, “Is it just our family, or is everyone miserable?” (Of the five lead characters, not one had a healthy marriage.)

Don’t get me wrong; I actually enjoyed much of this film, especially the elements where the family bonded together through the tough circumstances. I don’t mind movies showing the breakdown of the family and the pain that goes along with it. Some of my favorite films have done this, and done this well. It’s difficult to label a film like this all “good” or “bad.” The film was gritty. It was really touching at moments… and then really bleak.

But that’s where the movie “leaves you”, so to speak: life sucks, and just make the best of it, because… this is all there is.

Thankfully, that’s not true. There’s more. If you want to see it, go to the funeral of someone who put their hope in Jesus. My friend’s mom just died and I went to her funeral. Unlike the funeral in this movie, the funeral I attended was a celebration. Countless friends and relatives shared stories of happy moments, and a happy ending. And every last one of them mentioned how comforting it is to know we will see her once again.

In the movie Tina Fey asked, “Do we believe in God?”

Talk about your bleak funerals.

Yes, ironically, life does suck when you do whatever you desire. That’s a pretty accurate definition of sin—doing things our way, not God’s way. Life is so much more than the quick thrill. Point of fact, the quick thrill often costs long-term.

God wants to save us from all of that.

No, that doesn’t mean we’ll avoid all pain. But it does mean two things:

  1. God will help us stop bringing pain on ourselves
  2. He’ll help us endure through suffering, with the hope there’s something so much better, a hope that helps us here and now.

Frankly, the movie didn’t provide a happy ending because the filmmakers didn’t seem to believe in happy endings… only happy moments.

I love happy moments.

But faith in God provides happy moments and a happy ending.

Posted in Entertainment Media, Faith, Jonathan's Rant, Movies | 1 Comment

From SnapChat to Tappy

tappy appIt’s called Tappy. It’s the newest app acquired by Tinder, and the buzz is that it’s Instagram meets Snapchat.

The conversation begins with a photo, and then becomes chat. All messages disappear after 24 hours.

It’s everything young people want: pics, social media, anonymity and of course… it’s ephemeral. The first two elements aren’t bad, but the latter two are where young people frequently get into trouble.

Let me explain.

Parents should beware of any app promoting a lack of accountability. Anonymity only breeds irresponsibility. If you don’t believe me, look at the comment section of any YouTube video. People say the cruelest things under the guise of an avatar. You’ll see the same thing in chatrooms—people speaking and acting out in ways they would never act in person. (Think of the way kids act out when they have a substitute teacher who doesn’t know their name.)

Would you like even less responsibility? Promise that all content will all vanish in 24 hours. The ephemeral nature of apps like Tappy and Snapchat convince young people there are no consequences for their actions. They’ll just “disappear.” Who cares if you say something mean? It will disappear. Who cares if you post a revealing or inappropriate pic? It will “disappear.” Of course, with Snapchat, we’ve learned that is not the case. Do young people think no one will ever click a screenshot on their Tappy posts?

Parents might also want to consider that Tappy is now owned by Tinder. I’ve talked about Tinder in previous articles about some of the dangerous apps young people enjoy. It’s basically a visual e-harmony. You look at pics of people and if you like them, swipe right. If you don’t, then swipe left. If two people swipe each other to the right, they are matched and the conversation begins, a relationship based on sexy pics.

Sound appealing?

Tinder sees 1.5 billion swipes per day.

It’s another app where strangers begin conversations based on pics. This only increases the demand for young people to appear sexy when they post pictures of themselves. Yes, conversations could begin with a picture of your Schnauzer. I hope they do, in fact. But sadly, many will begin just like Tinder relationships—the proverbial high shot selfie showing plenty of cleavage.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think social media is evil. Parents need to look at each of these apps on a case-by-case basis. And any app encouraging chatting with strangers and “no accountability” aren’t going to help anyone.

As for social media in general? It’s a question I hear at every parent workshop I teach. “Do you think social media is a good thing?” My answer is always the same:

Social media a great supplement to existing relationships; it’s a lousy replacement for relationships.

In other words: Instagram is a great way to share pics with existing friends and keep up with them, but it’s a lousy substitute for face-to-face friends. Sadly, we’re seeing a lot of the latter. Social media is actually making kids less social. So parents need to be proactive in coaching their kids how to be smarter than their smartphone and teach them how to keep social media safe.

Are you having these conversations?

Do you know what apps your kids are using?Should-I-Smash-My-Kids-Phone

JONATHAN MCKEE AND DOUG FIELDS WROTE A WORKBOOK WITH SIX LESSONS HELPING YOU SET REALISTIC GUIDELINES FOR TODAY’S YOUNG PEOPLE. THE BOOK INCLUDES A “SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE” AND A “SAMPLE PHONE CONTRACT.” GET SHOULD I JUST SMASH MY KID’S PHONE? ON SALE HERE!

Posted in Internet, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Self Image, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

MORE No Prep Games

youth ministry gamesEarlier this week I shared a fun “no-prep” game, the kind that you can do on the fly to fill a void or liven up a party or event.

The nice thing about no-prep games is that you don’t  have to run to the store really quick and buy 100 balloons, cut 100 pieces of string and pass them out to everyone (although Ankle Balloon Pop is a great game).

Here’s another one I saw this weekend. Youth worker Bekah Miller ran this with her youth group- an old classic game with a fun twist:

Rock, Paper, Scissors Fan!
The game is a crowd game. Everyone plays. You tell everyone to grab a partner and play rock, paper, scissors– best two out of three. The winner moves on to battle someone else. The loser becomes their fan! The fan must cheer for their winner in the next battle.

Then, of course, after the next two battle, the winner will have three fans as he/she moves onto the next battle. Then seven fans… etc. Eventually half the room is cheering for one person, and half for the other (kind of like Ro Sham Bo Train).

A great quick game with literally no prep.

I love it. Other no prep games I love:

I need a shoelace (for any sized crowd)

The big squeeze (for big crowds)

Silent Animal Circle (for small groups of like a dozen or less)

In fact… here’s a list of my TOP 20 Game Ideas!

Posted in Youth Ministry Management | Leave a comment