On a middle school campus

Posted on: 12/11/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

This semester I’ve had the privilege of hanging out at a middle school just 14 minutes from my house and we’re getting ready to start a campus ministry reaching the campus… but it’s not easy.

I met the principle earlier this year when I was doing research for my bullying book. I love this guy. He’s an amazing educator who is more “encourager” than “disciplinarian”… the school is so lucky to have him. I got to know him a little better when he brought me out to teach my Parenting the Smartphone Generation workshop to the school’s parents, and I’ve been hanging out on campus about once a week with him during lunch since.

One day I mentioned that it would be cool to see a Campus Life or Young Life club on campus and he welcomed the idea. So I literally walked into the church across the street, met the youth pastor and said, “Do you want to help me reach this campus?”

That was about two months ago and now this church is partnering with Campus Life and myself to try to get something started.

Here’s the difficult part: even though we have an open invitation to hang out with kids at lunch on campus, we can’t invite them to church or Campus Life. I’m not blaming the principal… I’m not even upset at him. He’s actually protecting us. Because if we were walking around the campus passing out fliers for this “Christian club,” all it would take is one phone call from a parent to the district office and every positive mentor with access to that campus would be removed for the year (something we’ve talked about quite a bit on our CAMPUS MINISTRY CORNER resource page on TheSource4YM.com). Kids can invite other kids, but we can’t.

So that’s the challenge. We need to meet some kids (which we know a few from the church across the street), and have theminvite friends to Campus Life… and once we have a momentum of about a dozen kids… kids bring more kids, then it will build momentum.

Today we were on campus hanging with kids again… not talking about church or Campus Life, just hanging out (which is really fun, actually). But we’re eager to start building momentum and meeting even more kids in January.

I’ll be keeping you posted along the way. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of amusing stories of things that don’t work(which are always great lessons).

And think. Maybe the campus near you would be open to you being on campus and getting to know kids. Who knows. Only one way to find out (and here’s a little bit of help in this article, “How to get on campus”).

What are you waiting for?

The stream is up

Posted on: 11/8/18 6:11 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Did you miss our Anchored Leadership Conference last weekend, helping church leaders reach young people identifying as LGBTQ?

No worries… you can still register and replay the stream of THE ENTIRE conference for just $29.

Hear me talk about Christ as our identity.

Hear Caleb Kaltenbach tell his story of being raised by two lesbian mothers and a gay father… and now is a pastor.

Hear Sean McDowell talk about scripture as our authority.

Hear Greg Stier talk about love in our community.

Hear a panel of church leaders talking about how to actually love young people today!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE REPLAY OF THIS CONFERENCE- WATCH ANYTIME!

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?

Two Completely Different Theologies… both Reaching LGBTQ Kids

Posted on: 08/2/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

In the last few months, in preparation for our upcoming Anchored Leadership Conference, I’ve been conducting interviews with people who are effectively reaching out to young people identifying as LGBTQ. I’ve been engaging in these conversations for several reasons:

  1. I want to learn as much as I can about how to help this hurting group of young people.
  2. I want to know how loving ministries can answer tough questions, like Continue reading “Two Completely Different Theologies… both Reaching LGBTQ Kids” »

Imposing our ideas of Jesus

Posted on: 12/5/17 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A Northeastern village in Spain was the home of a magnificent fresco painting of Jesus on the church’s wall.

Time took its toll on the painting…

moisture on the wall caused it to fade.

In 2012 an elderly parishioner named Cecilia Gimenez acted on her own to restore the project… tragically failing in her attempt.

The results? Continue reading “Imposing our ideas of Jesus” »

face to face and hashtag evangelism

Posted on: 03/21/17 3:34 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A live evangelism training that will create Gospel conversations both in person and on social media?

Yeah… God can absolutely pull that off, and no better person to work through than Greg Stier.

If you’ve been in youth ministry more than a minute, than you probably have seen Greg’s training videos, or heard him teach either at venues like the National Youth Workers Convention or at one of his Dare 2 Share events to a stadium full of teenagers passionate about sharing their faith. Greg is all about sharing the good new of Jesus and equipping other to do it.

And so am I. That’s why I’m super excited about the potential of Continue reading “face to face and hashtag evangelism” »

A remarkable man

Posted on: 03/14/17 3:46 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last weekend I encountered a man so remarkable, the experience was life changing.

I didn’t expect it. I was visiting Maui by myself for the quickest trip to the island I’ve ever had, there and back in just a weekend for a friend’s wedding (not the choice way to do Maui). The ceremony was ocean-side in the beautiful Kahanu Gardens in Hana, a truly precarious drive, but breathtaking scenery.

As we were waiting for the ceremony to begin… this man caught my eye.

He was Hawaiian with a chiseled jaw, a tribal tattoo on his left cheek, and his grey hair pulled back tightly into a bun. He was probably one of the eldest people at the wedding, but no doubt one of the most physically strong. He was perfectly composed Continue reading “A remarkable man” »

The rise of the non-believing Millennial

Posted on: 03/2/17 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christian”?

How do think most college kids would answer if you asked them that question on a University campus?

A couple weeks ago Chance the Rapper burst into Christian worship at the Grammys… and people didn’t know exactly how to respond. It honestly seemed out of place to see Christ glorified in a setting where He is typically ignored… even shunned.

If you watch any TV these days, it’s rare to see faith or religion thrown into the mix. Sadly, if it is, it’s often in gest, particularly portraying Christians as hypocritical or judgmental. If TV was the mirror of our society, then the majority of our population would probably be Continue reading “The rise of the non-believing Millennial” »

Walking Alongside a New Believer

Posted on: 09/26/16 4:00 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Montoring-Teen“What tools can I use to help new Christians understand the commitment they just made?”

It’s one of the most common questions I hear from youth ministries who are actually reaching young people for Christ. And I’m glad to hear the question, because it means these ministries realize the need to walk alongside new believers and disciple them.

My friend Scott Rubin, the Director of Student Ministries at Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, just wrote a helpful little resource called The Essential Guide to My New Life With Jesus. I just read it and felt compelled to tell you about it… Continue reading “Walking Alongside a New Believer” »

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SNL Mocks Christian Films

Posted on: 05/24/16 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

SNL-mocks-christian-moviesSaturday Night Live (SNL) has been poking fun at Christians for years. The question I want to ask is: is there any validity to their jesting? Or more importantly, can we learn anything from it?

A few weeks ago SNL did a sketch mocking the film God’s Not Dead (and the sequel), mixed with the recent controversy about Christians refusing to provide services for gay weddings.

Continue reading “SNL Mocks Christian Films” »