Exhausted

The Skit Guys, sign language, 21 hours to fly coast to coast (yeah, it shouldn’t take that long), a whole lotta kids… these were the elements of this past weekend. Wow… I’m tired!

The weekend started at 6AM Friday morning with a mechanical failure that left me sitting on a plane on the Sacramento runway for 2 hours. Eventually, United Airlines gave up trying to fix it and returned us to the gate exactly two minutes after the door shut on another flight just two gates away that would have also brought me to the East Coast. By this time, I had had no chance of hitting my connecting flight in Chicago. The chances of getting to Maryland by the end of the day were looking pretty slim. And I was scheduled to speak to over 3,000 kids at 9AM the next morning.

I scanned flight itineraries and looked for any hopes for getting to the East Coast. After an hour of researching flights, sweet talking ticket agents (buying them Starbucks), I somehow secured a seat on an overbooked Friday afternoon flight that would land in Chicago around 8PM with high hopes for a late Baltimore connection. Over four hours later (yeah… sitting in the airport) I boarded a plane to Chicago, knowing that getting from Chicago to Maryland would be another feat.

Once I landed in Chicago, the Baltimore flight had been delayed and looked slim, so I began searching the terminal for any remaining flights that brought me within driving distance of Maryland. Next thing I know I was squeezed on a Washington Reagan flight where I landed at 11:30 PM, was picked up just before midnight, and driven 3 hours to my destination in Ocean City. I went to bed at 4AM and set my alarm for 8AM.

Saturday I spoke to the huge crowd at 9AM, then did my all day seminar in two chunks with a quick nap in between, ending at 11PM. I slept for 6 hours Saturday night, spoke again Sunday AM, finished training immediately after and then was driven 3 hours to the Baltimore airport. 13 hours later I was back home.

Whew! I’m tired just typing it all!

30+ hours of travel aside… the weekend was a blast! The event was put on by Metro-Maryland Youth for Christ in the huge convention center in Ocean City. 3700 chairs were set up and it looked pretty packed.

The programming on mainstage was smooth, with bands like Hawk Nelson and entertainment like the Skit Guys. If you aren’t familiar with Tom and Eddie, you should check out their website (SkitGuys.com). Hilarious! The kids loved them. They always do a great job. Side note: The two of them joined me for a quick training video as one of the new resources we’ll be launching on our Training Tools page in the next month. Fun stuff.

Funny, when I gave my keynote to the big audience, the lights were so bright I could only see the first two rows. But when the audience laughed, you quickly realized that there were thousands in the room! I gave a message on getting alone and getting real with God. I recorded it. We might make it available for an upcoming podcast on our free podcast page.

I also did my CONNECT training workshop for a few hundred of the youth workers and led them through the stickynote training. What a fun group. We premiered our brand new “six types of kids” training video that no one has seen before. They loved it. I’ll be sharing that with you guys soon too.

Another funny moment on stage both during my keynote and in my training workshop was when I noticed that there was a lady assigned to do sign language during my talks (there were a few deaf people in the audience). I started watching her when I would say certain words- fascinating stuff. I finally just walked over to her during my training and started having fun with her. You see… one of my training videos referred to someone as being a “turd.” So I asked her, “How did you sign turd?” The audience laughed… she said that she just spelled it. So every time I said something weird or off the wall, I kept looking at her to see how she would sign it… sometimes I even added adjectives to see what she would do. We had a great time! The audience gave her a big hand for putting up with me!

I’m home now, I’m exhausted… but what a rewarding weekend! God is so good!

Thanks to Metro Maryland Youth for Christ for putting on that fun event. They did a phenomenal job!

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. 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, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. 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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9 Responses to Exhausted

  1. Laura Hoffert says:

    Hey, I am a youth leader who brought a bunch of kids down to IMPACT this past weekend. I just read your blog about your very long long trip to the east coast. i just wanted to say you did an amazing job speaking to the kids on saturday and also at your seminars. i already knew about your website before coming to impact and use it very frequently and just wanted to say Thankyou so much for providing a FREE service to all of us youth workers. When I was at your seminar I was so excited because I kinda felt like I was meeting a celebrity because I am always reading what you post and blog. The hardest decision I had to make was they had Jonathan Mckee’s seminar for youth leaders and a Hawk Nelson concert at the same time! Whoever scheduled that just ain’t right! But i went to your seminar instead of the concert and absolutly enjoyed it. Thankyou so much again and God Bless!

  2. Laura, thanks for the kind comments. Wow… I beat out Hawk Nelson! 🙂

  3. Rach says:

    Thanks so much for your seminar this weekend — it was really helpful and I can’t wait to share with our other volunteers! I came home and purchased the book and received the power point presentation. You really helped give me some much-needed focus.

  4. Danny Chang says:

    Ditto! Your workshop was great! We’re home and tired, but excited even more to serve the youth! Already we have email messages flying back and forth about setting up the six teen traits and placing our teens in each of these columns and figuring our how we can build these on-on-one relationships and moving them more towards the right! We plan to present all we have learned at our next counselors meeting so that the rest of us can avoid the “horseshoe” and build that solid relationship with the teens.

    I also wanted to share that I was able to build up some one-on-one time while at impact with one of our teens. He shared with me so many thing about what he was struggling with and what he felt he was gifted in. He also shared with me how much he wants to grow and serve, but doesn’t really know how to get there and do it. I don’t think I would have eve known that unless I had that one-on-one time with him.

    Thanks again for everything! I look forward in checking out all those books we bought!

  5. Thank you both. I’m really glad that workshop helped stimulate thinking about making “connecting” a priority with your kids. It’s amazing to see the fruit when we invest a little one on one time listening.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Karen Dekker says:

    Jonathan – Thank you! I won Connect from MMYFC and am almost finished. Great material. Back to the weekend — everything you did was wonderful: your intimate presentation to the thousands of hungry kids and your high-energy, playful presentation to the hungry YM workers! God had something for everyone in each and every moment of the IMPACT weekend! You are a blessing, brother. Thanks for all you do!

  7. Annie says:

    Jonathan,
    I had told my coworkers I was going away this weekend with some youth to a conference and I kept referring to it as vacation…they all laughed and said hanging out with teens is not a vacation. But I disagree wholeheartedly. I gained a great deal of knowledge, hope, tools (your resource pack you were selling) and can’t wait to put some ideas into action. But the number one thing you said that God used to strengthen me was, “connecting with kids is priority”. I have often doubted that my tiny efforts make much of an impact with the students, but you affirmed what other’s have told me..”the time I spend with these kids inside and outside the church has value”. Thank you for writing your books and the seminars.
    God Bless,
    Annie

  8. Rachel says:

    Jonathan, the interpreter you speak of is my cousin 🙂 I know that she and her husband had a great time and she forwarded your blog to her mom who has forwarded it on to more family members 🙂 I love the skit guys! We live in CO but is sounds like this might be an event we need to travel back home to see family when my kids are older if it is still going on! Great job leading the kids to Christ! May God bless you in all that you do!

  9. Ha… that’s funny. Thanks Rachel. Tell your cousin “Hi” for me. She did a great job signing in my seminars!