Are games actually effective in youth ministry?

Posted on: 09/25/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s an interesting question, coming from a guy who has over 1000 free game ideas for youth workers on the brand new TheSource4YM.com

But honestly… that’s why I asked the question. Because our GAMES & ICEBREAKERS page is our most hit page on the website, and I want to make sure that youth ministries aren’t “just playing games”… I’m hoping that games serve as a springboard to meaningful conversation.

That’s why on our newly revamped website (have you seen it… it’s literally only been up a few days now), I put our newest FREE TRAINING VIDEO, a YouTube video titled, “Are Games Effective in Youth Ministry” right there on the side bar in hopes that visitors to our page will click and be challenged by what I ask them:

So if you’re in youth ministry, what about you?

Why do you use games? What’s your purpose?

Teens & Social Media 2018

Posted on: 09/17/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Common Sense Media just came out with their brand new report about teens and social media revealing exactly how many teens now have smartphones (89%),  their favorite apps (Snapchat), their feelings about how social media makes them feel (they’re fooling themselves) … here’s their infographic with the highlights:

Click HERE for the entire report.

Is evangelism shrinking across the U.S.

Posted on: 09/13/18 12:01 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Which states in the U.S. are full of the most committed Christians… and which aren’t?

And how are those numbers changing?

Many of us have read articles about the decreasing amount of believers in the U.S.– like this fascinating Washington Post article a few years back displaying 22 different maps of various religious groups and their influence in the U.S., or this one about weekly church attendance.

I find it interesting to see how this translates to youth ministry.

For example: I swung through Denver yesterday after spending the day with Focus on the Family in Co Springs… and I connected with one of my favorite friends in the youth ministry world, Greg Stier, passionate follower of Jesus and founder of Dare2Share Ministries, an organization who is really doing something about trying to reverse those numbers. Dare 2 Share is launching their Dare 2 Share Live event in about 30 days from now. On October 13 there will be 99 satellite sites FILLED with thousands upon thousands of teenagers getting trained, equipped and unleashed for the gospel! (It’s really cool, check it out HERE and find the site closest to you-  you won’t want to let your youth group miss this one of a kind event!)

On Greg’s Dare 2 Share Live webpage they show a map of where youth ministries have responded hosting this event. Check it out:

Obviously this doesn’t necessarily dictate where true believers are… but do you notice the resemblance to most the U.S. religious landscape maps?

As a resident of California and a frequent speaker in the Pacific Northwest, I’m really hoping to see more Idaho, Montana, and Oregon churches- to name a few- getting involved in evangelism opportunities like this.

Where is your church on this map?

Maybe you should connect with Dare2Share and become a part of this?

Talking with teens about how they treat others

Posted on: 09/11/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The same group of young people watches a boy get pushed around by a bully in gym class almost every day…

and they do nothing.

They merely “stand by.”

Some chuckle, some shake their heads. But no one does anything.

Are “bystanders” any better than the bully?

Ask the kid whose being harassed every day.

Many of you are aware that my first novel, Bystanders, just hit the shelves (in fact, you guys voted on the cover), and as promised, I just wrote a free 4 week curriculum to go with it.

The book is a sobering peek into a high school campus during a school shooting. A curious thing I’ve observed about school shootings –the dialogue that takes place as students and teachers barricade themselves in classrooms, closets etc. They don’t talk about music downloads or their favorite YouTube video. They talk about stuff that matters.

Like my Zombie book, this book uses a fictional premise to springboard meaningful conversation about real world struggles. In this case the story provokes discussion about faith, integrity… and most importantly… how we treat others.

Narratives often speak loudly to today’s young people. And this book isn’t afraid to ask some of the big questions.

The book is available on Amazon (print or Kindle) and we just posted the free discussion guide (complete with scripture and small group questions) HERE.

Your response to 4-years-in-a-row of STD’s at a record high

Posted on: 09/6/18 2:34 PM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s not just some alarmist headline—the CDC issued a press release Monday revealing the fourth consecutive year of sharp increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the U.S.

Are we listening yet?

Last year the country heard this warning and was surprised at the news of STDs at a record high… again. The year prior we heard the warning and many thought it was a fluke thing… I stated my own theories as to why this was no surprise.

It wasn’t a fluke thing. It’s still on the rise. In fact…

  • Chlamydia was once again the most common condition reported to the CDC with more than 1.7 million cases in the U.S, compared to 1.3 million in 2013. Almost half of those are 15-24-year-old females. Here’s the scary thought: Chlamydia is often asymptomatic in females. So how many didn’t report it?
  • Gonorrhea increased 67 percent overall and nearly doubled among men. And it could soon become resistant to antibiotic treatment.
  • Syphilis increased 76 percent.
  • Fewer young people are using condoms (and a particular group is even more at risk)

“We are sliding backward.” Director of the CDC’s STD center said.

You know what this means.

It’s coming.

People are going to begin to point fingers.

It was almost exactly one year ago that people tried pointing fingers at Abstinence-Only Education… and I chimed in on that with a post that probably made people on both sides a little uncomfortable (the truth hurts).

And I won’t play innocent… because even I pointed my finger to one obvious source (with a fun little math problem for your kids).

So how should we respond?

Every expert agrees… we need to create a comfortable climate of continual conversations about sex.

What does this look like?

Parents: we need to have more than just the talk. It’s not one talk… it’s an ongoing conversation. Help them understand sex matters. Don’t be afraid to go to the CDC web page and show them the whole truth (did you know that the CDC STD prevention page lists “abstinence” as the most reliable way to avoid infection? I give you a guided tour of how to present this to your kids HERE.)

Youth Workers: We need to address this to kids.  Here’s my sex talk written out for you to use (Or DYM has a really slick version of it for a few bucks… and my talk from the previous year).

Are you creating a climate of continual conversations?

No, that doesn’t mean you have to bring the subject up. It just means don’t dodge it next time it comes up.

Do your kids know the whole story?

What Advice Do Today’s Teen Guys Really Need?

Posted on: 09/5/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m neck deep writing my newest book to young men… and I’d love your advice?

And here’s what I want to know:

What advice do you think today’s young men need more than anything else?

Every time I speak at leadership event for today’s young people I notice something overwhelmingly obvious: the ratio of guys to girls.

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll put it this way. If there were 100 student leaders in a room, then 80 of them would be girls.

As thrilled as I am for girls (and for my two daughters), I mourn for today’s young men. Why is it that young men aren’t rising up to the challenge? What’s distracting them?

Many of you have seen my first Guy’s Guide book, a book with 101 real world tips for today’s teenage guys- The Guy’s Guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket.  For some reason this particular book has struck a chord with readers– it’s by far my best seller. Maybe because it’s hitting such a huge need.

That’s why we decided to do a second book in the series to guys (and yes, I have one for girls AND guys HERE). In this one, we’re going to specifically target some of the biggest pressures, temptations and distractions young men face today. The working title is:

The Guy’s Guide to Four Battles Every Young Man Must Fight

We’re going to address these four areas: self image, substances, sex, and screens.

With that in mind… what would you like to see in this book? Use the comments below, and if you like, start with these words:

“I’d like to see you address…”