The Most Vital Skill in Youth Ministry

connect-artwork“What is the most important skill I need to teach my volunteers?”

That’s what my friend Brandon asked me when he was planning his fall training with all of his leaders.

What would you answer?

Without hesitation I answered him, citing a ministry skill that trumps all others:

“Connecting with young people.”

“Go back to your Bible.” I always tell youth workers at my training workshops. “What did Jesus model? Did he sit there in the synagogue Continue reading “The Most Vital Skill in Youth Ministry” »

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Moving Kids from Tech-dependent to Tech-enabled

girlsdistractedphonesDoes the smartphone help communication… or hinder it?

That one of the questions I ask when I’m teaching young people to be smarter than their smartphones.

“Think about it,” I suggest. “How many times are you sitting in a circle of your friends and none of them are talking because their heads are all down staring at their phones?”

Students always laugh and point to each other. “That’s so you!”

My point is clear: Phones can be really convenient tools helping us communicate with friends outside the room, but they become a hindrance when they interfere with our connection with people inside the room Continue reading “Moving Kids from Tech-dependent to Tech-enabled” »

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

What would you have done?

make-up“Turn around! Now!” That’s what she said, and my dad had no idea what to do.

Have you ever noticed that most tough parenting (and grandparenting) decisions aren’t black or white? Think about it. If they were… the choice would be easy. But parenting is never that easy… is it?

Let me give you an example with my own kids a while back– a grandparenting example. This was one of those sticky situations that my dad experienced when my daughters were in eighth and tenth grade and Lori and I were Continue reading “What would you have done?” »

Posted in Parenting, Personal | 4 Comments

9 selfies per week

teenagers-selfieShe holds her phone up at a high angle and strikes a sexy pose.


She inspects the picture. “Nope. Too much arm fat.” She tries again.

After four or five tries she captures the image she wants. Now to apply filters…

Funny… five years ago no one even knew what a selfie was. Now, Millennials average 9 selfies per week, spending an average of seven minutes perfecting each one before posting. That’s adds up to about Continue reading “9 selfies per week” »

Posted in Parenting, Self Image, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

Book Cover Winners

52-Ways-to-Connect-MCKEEThanks to so many of you last week who gave me feedback on my blog about my new book cover. I, and my publisher, both really appreciate it! It was great to hear what you all thought.

I turned it into a little contest, prompting you that I’d pick five names out of a hat and give them a free copy of the book once it’s on the shelves in the spring. We picked– and here’s the five names Continue reading “Book Cover Winners” »

Posted in Books, Contests | 1 Comment

Which book cover do you like?

My publisher just sent me two sample covers for the new book I’m writing to parents about connecting with their “Smartphone obsessed” kids.

Which cover do you like better? Use the comment feature below… in fact… anyone who includes their name and city in their comment, I’ll drop your name in a hat to win a free copy of the book when it hits the shelves. I’ll draw 5 names and give away 5 of them!


Or take a peek HERE at the other books I’ve written
(or my Amazon author page HERE).

Posted in Books | 134 Comments

Top 10 Things I Learned After 1 Week in an RV

RV-trip-funnyJust got back on a really fun trip, just me, Lori and my parents for one week in an RV, traveling 1,000 miles across four states, from Boise, through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

We all had a great time. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Farts are twice as loud in an RV.
  2. Each stop at the gas station required a month’s salary! (Yes, this baby drank like a camel at the pumps!)
  3. Always check the connection on your sewer hose before pulling the “black waste” valve. (Can you say fountain o’ feces?) Continue reading “Top 10 Things I Learned After 1 Week in an RV” »
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3 Tips to Keeping Connected with Your Kids… without Becoming That Creepy Parent

smartphoneA brand new study asking U.S. teens and their parents about their social media and mobile app use revealed some intriguing insights, not only about teen’s attitudes about tech, but about how connected… er… disconnected parents really are from their kids tech communication. The study discovered:

  • 79 percent of teens indicate they rarely say things online they regret (which one media outlet interpreted as them “not thinking before they post’).
  • 52 percent of parents say their biggest concern is how much time their teen spends on social media.
  • 43 percent of parents admitted they do not monitor their teen’s digital activity.

Interestingly enough, 88% of parents say they are aware of all or most of the social networks or apps their teens engage with, but yet Continue reading “3 Tips to Keeping Connected with Your Kids… without Becoming That Creepy Parent” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Internet, Parenting, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media | Leave a comment

MTV Helps Kids Make Sense of the World?

dancing dirty“No art form in the world captures moments like this more powerfully than music. Music helps us make sense of the world. A song can elevate a movement.”
Jussie Smollett of Fox’s Empire, in his speech at the MTV VMA’s, 8/30/2015

Jussie is right. It was probably one of the few noteworthy statements from Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards (The VMAs).

Music is powerful. It always has been. In the Old Testament we even read about David soothing King Saul with his music. Perhaps today David would send Saul his newest Spotify playlist (at a safe distance from any spears being hurled his way).

MTV is happy to talk about music’s influence… for good. How come we never see them owning up to the contrary?

After observing the effects of music on young people for two decades, I’ve noticed two observations Continue reading “MTV Helps Kids Make Sense of the World?” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Miley’s VMA Reprise

Miley-VMA-host-censoredThis coming Sunday night MTV will be exhausting all means necessary to garner one thing: ratings.

MTV has a history of stooping to new lows for ratings for their Video Music Awards show. This year’s new low will be Miley Cyrus hosting the show.

Yes, MTV exploiting Miley is nothing new. But this year they’ve been already pushing the envelope, utilizing Miley’s desperation for attention in their TV ads for the upcoming awards show. Maybe you’ve seen them: the topless ad (with little greenscreen dots covering the essentials), the “giving us the finger” ad, or the cloud of smoke adContinue reading “Miley’s VMA Reprise” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, Music, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment