Keep it Real

I’m speaking at a conference in the Maritimes (Canada) this summer, and I just was chatting with the conference coordinator about the theme. He wanted me to send him my theme and the direction I would go.

I started brainstorming about the theme REAL. Just one word. I’ve used that theme before and really liked it. So I whipped up some thoughts on the subject. Curious of all of your thoughts.

Theme: REAL
REAL is a word we hear almost every day. No one wants a fake. No one likes a phony. In today’s language we even have developed phrases that show our desire for authenticity: “Let me keep it REAL.”
But does the world really want REAL? Is the desire for authenticity… authentic? Let’s be honest. Most of the people we run into in this world are more concerned with outward appearance than who they really are inside. Often, what we see from people on the outside is not the REAL thing. Honesty is rare. Complete authenticity is almost extinct. In the online world it’s difficult to find people who really are who they say they are. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is really REAL anymore.
“Keeping it REAL” seems to be just a catchy phrase… a bunch of words without meaning. In actuality, the world has exchanged truth for a lie. The world seeks “temporary” things, while ignoring our eternal condition. In the Bible, in the beginning of the book of Romans, Paul describes people as “suppressing the truth with their wickedness.” Think about that. He describes people as pushing away the truth, exchanging it for a lie. How REAL is that?
What does it mean to be truly REAL in superficial world?
This week we will be talking about our REAL condition and the REAL pressures we feel every day. God provides something so REAL that we can’t ignore it… and it’s not found in religion or good deeds… it’s found in a relationship with Him. An authentic relationship with our creator changes us in a REAL way, a change that occurs from the inside out.
It doesn’t get any more REAL than that.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to Keep it Real

  1. Laura says:

    I love this theme, particularly for small groups where honesty is REALLY important, and usually link it to the wearing of “masks”. Some great music to bring home the message and start discussions: Joy Williams “We”; Casting Crowns “If we are the Body” and “Stained Glass Masquerade”.

    Love the blogs and resources – thanks for everything.

  2. Todd H says:

    A comment I have been finding myself saying a lot toward my guys in the youth ministry I volunteer at is “You guys are trying so desperately to rebel against the norm that all you are really doing is rebelling right into conformity with everyone else.”

    Real… yeah, that’s a topic that I think needs to be taught, because we have such a distorted definition of what it really is.