CONTEST- What are your top three?

Top-10-youth-ministry-booksA 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 “CONTEST- What are your top three?” »

Posted in Books, Contests, Youth Ministry Management, Youth Ministry Programming | 20 Comments

A book signing

Jonathan-SignThis Weekend the YS Store asked me to do a book signing where I’m speaking at the National Youth Workers Convention in Atlanta, a fun opportunity to connect with people who’ve bought my books. (Curious which book sold out on the first day of this convention in Sacramento?)

So if you’re heading to this convention in Atlanta, be sure to stop by the YS Store at 3:15 on Saturday.

If you’re NOT going to be there in Atlanta… NO WORRIES. I’ll do this:

order any of my books from me this week, and I’ll personally autograph them for you. Feel free to order books for your entire volunteer team… I’ll sign every last one of them!

Posted in Books, Speaking/Training | Leave a comment

My TV Interview about Sex

More-Than-Just-The-Talk-WEBToday I’m being filmed for a Canadian TV show- a Christian talk show. We’re filming several segments about my upcoming book to parents, More Than Just the Talk (coming this February/March), and then some bit on how to open the doors of dialogue with today’s teenagers.

It’s interesting, as I’ve been preparing for this, taking a peek at some of the newest studies about teen sex, I keep seeing the same assertions. “We need to talk with our kids about this regularly!”

It doesn’t matter how liberal or conservative the report Continue reading “My TV Interview about Sex” »

Posted in Books, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | 2 Comments

Curb Your Phone Addiction

phone-addictionDo your kids spend too much time on their phones?

Do YOU spend too much time on your phone?

Wanna app that will help you see exactly how much time you’re on your phone?

I think many people are becoming self aware that they spend too much time staring at screens (I won’t bring up that you’re staring at one now… because I actually WANT you to be reading this), because we’re seeing more and more blogs and funny parodies about “smartphone addiction” and I’m even hearing many teenagers admit they spend too much time on their phones.

If you’re curious exactly how much time, then try the new app called Moment which not only helps you track exactly how much time you’re using your phone each day, but also can help you set limits, with occasional “nudges” when you approach those limits.

Last month a similar app was introduced Continue reading “Curb Your Phone Addiction” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Zombie Senior Retreat

Zombie Camp TXI’ve been speaking at camps for almost 20 years, and I gotta admit… this is a first!

I received a call this summer from a camp director of a big camp in TX and he told me, “I’d like you to speak at our camp this winter, but it’s going to be a little bit different than the typical senior high retreat.”

He wasn’t kidding. This camp is going all out. Each year they have anywhere from 500 to 1000 students at these retreats, but this year they are hosting a “Zombie Senior High Weekend” and they have Hollywood makeup and set designers Continue reading “Zombie Senior Retreat” »

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I’ll go as a slut

subway-slutty-costumeRemember when Halloween costumes were as simple as a cowboy hat and boots, or a sheet with holes poked in it? Today it’s not that simple. And if you’re a female the pressure is on… the burden to be sexy.

Mean Girls said it years ago, and today’s teens know it to be true. Halloween is the one time a year where girls have an excuse to dress like sluts.

Last night NBC’s brand new show Marry Me jested about this reality when Dennah and Annie discussed what costumes they’d wear this year:

Dennah: I’d love some feedback on my costume. Two years ago I went as a slutty nurse and then last year I was a slutty judge. But this year I’m just going to cut out the middleman and go as a slut.

Continue reading “I’ll go as a slut” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Self Image, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Ashley’s Unconventional Speech

Ash-HomecomingLast Friday night Lori and I got a chance to escort Ashley onto the football field at halftime for the Homecoming “Royal Court” while the commentator read her speech.

I guess I should have know what to expect, knowing Ashley. But here’s what was read while we escorted her in front of hundreds of parents:

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God. He is my everything and the only reason I’m good at anything. Special thanks to my parents. I am blessed by your support for me and the food we eat together is pretty fantastic. Shout out to my best friends Jenny and Makayla; my heart is with you both, always, the Foran Van, and Mimi’s cafe for making those delectable buttermilk spice muffins, for without which I wouldn’t be who I am today!”

It’s just so… Ashley!

Posted in Family, Humor, Parenting | 4 Comments

The TV America is Watching

what-tv-families-watchI like to glimpse at the Nielsen charts every once in a while to see what Americans are watching on TV. And recently… it’s been football, Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, even more football, and The Voice.

For those of you who don’t care how the numbers work… here’s the most popular shows “families” are watching, listed by me, derived from three lists (if you’re curious how I’ve come up with these numbers, keep reading below) Continue reading “The TV America is Watching” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, TV, Youth Culture | 2 Comments

The Power of Coming Together

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” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Youth Ministry Management | 3 Comments

Life in 6 Words

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 10.07.32 PMA week ago I got to hang out with a good friend of mine, Greg Stier. And Greg’s ministry has an amazing giveaway right now for youth leaders—free books for their entire youth group.

The book is called Life in 6 Words. Many of you have already seen the video (with hip hop artist Propaganda). The book creatively and artistically spells out the same “GOSPEL” message… literally, using the word GOSPEL as an acronym to share the Good News Continue reading “Life in 6 Words” »

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment