Chaperone… or Sherpa?

Posted on: 10/20/15 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Youth-LeaderWhat do you call your adult leaders in your youth ministry? Chaperones? Leaders? Ministers? …Steve?

Is there a word that captures their purpose a little better?

I’ve taught my Connect workshop to youth leaders 3 times in the last 7 days in 3 different states, and my message didn’t change:

“We don’t need more Chaperones; we need caring adults who are willing to connect with young people, love them, and engage in meaningful conversations.”

Last Saturday I taught this workshop in West Houston, and a youth worker named Dave Blanchard hosted it, inviting his team of Sherpas. Yes… a Sherpa Continue reading “Chaperone… or Sherpa?” »

The Most Vital Skill in Youth Ministry

Posted on: 10/8/15 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

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” »

They are just so… SKINNY!

Posted on: 06/11/15 5:44 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Soooo-skinnyLast week a brand new set of books hit the shelves that are SO SKINNY…. any youth worker can read them!

Yeah, even that one intern!

Group Publishing had a creative idea of grabbing 6 authors on 6 vital youth ministry subjects. I was blessed to be one of those authors—writing “The Skinny on Volunteers.” Then Mark Oestreicher wrote Continue reading “They are just so… SKINNY!” »

Recruiting Your Volunteer Dream Team

Posted on: 05/21/15 9:42 AM | by Jonathan McKee

pictureHave you ever sat in church on a Sunday morning, looked around the room and coveted volunteers?

Okay, maybe it’s just me. I’ll notice a young couple I know sitting across the isle who are fun, relevant and on fire for God. All I can think of is…

“They’d be perfect youth ministry volunteers!
Middle schoolers would love these two!!!”

And then what do we usually do? We shake our head and say, “I wish they would sign up to help.”

And that is where we usually fail. Continue reading “Recruiting Your Volunteer Dream Team” »

Developing Student Leaders

Posted on: 05/7/15 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Mom and Teenager TalkingThis week I received a great question in the form of a tweet, one I’ve been asked repeatedly about mentoring young people.

Youth pastor Brandon asked me about developing today’s student leaders. He finished reading my book, Ministry By Teenagers, and was challenged by my emphasis to provide an adult mentor for each student leader. His specific question was Continue reading “Developing Student Leaders” »

What youth ministry should look like

Posted on: 03/19/15 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Living-Room-Small-GroupI walked into the small church Fellowship Hall in Richmond, VA and it was busting at the seams. 300-plus teenagers and about 70 leaders—better than a 1-to-5 ratio of adult to teen.

Don’t be intimidated by the numbers… be challenged by the ratio.

This was a church of less than 1,000… no building (they were borrowing the Fellowship Hall from a neighboring church). Normally, they met spread out in living rooms all over the city.

It was fun to see the energy in the room. Each table had six to eight kids and one or two adults all laughing, talking, and eating pizza together (there’s that ratio again). It was the beginning of their D-Now weekend (D-Now stands for Disciple Now, a weekend retreat of sorts focusing on the spiritual growth of teenagers). I was the speaker, but it wasn’t me who would be making the big impact that weekend… it was the 70 adult leaders who were spread throughout the room connecting with kids. God was using these caring mentors to make a huge difference in the lives of these teens.

What was their secret? Continue reading “What youth ministry should look like” »

MORE No Prep Games

Posted on: 01/15/15 9:12 AM | by Jonathan McKee

youth ministry gamesEarlier this week I shared a fun “no-prep” game, the kind that you can do on the fly to fill a void or liven up a party or event.

The nice thing about no-prep games is that you don’t  have to run to the store really quick and buy 100 balloons, cut 100 pieces of string and pass them out to everyone (although Ankle Balloon Pop is a great game).

Here’s another one I saw this weekend. Youth worker Bekah Miller ran this with her youth group- an old classic game with a fun twist Continue reading “MORE No Prep Games” »

What are your top three?

Posted on: 11/20/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Top-10-youth-ministry-booksWINNERS POSTED- see below.

A few weeks ago I was sitting with a group of youth workers and one of them asked me, “What are the top three youth ministry books you’d recommend we read, if we could only buy three?”

Great question.

This one caused me to pause for a few moments, after all, I’ve read a variety of insightful books that have helped me through my years of youth ministry (that lot in the picture are a pretty good bunch). But which three have proved foundational?

I’ll list the three books I shared with those youth workers that evening, and then I’ll ask you the same. What three youth ministry books have been the most influential and foundational for your ministry? (I’ll even make this a contest—chime in with a comment Continue reading “What are your top three?” »

The Power of Coming Together

Posted on: 10/16/14 5:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Youth-Ministry-NetworkLast weekend I was in a small town outside of Minneapolis where I witnessed something I rarely see in the world of youth ministry. I saw a network of 8 youth workers from different ministries come together to share ideas and do ministry together.

I almost pinched myself. A Lutheran, a Baptist, a Methodist, someone from the Covenant church and a Campus Life leader were drinking coffee together (sounds like a joke, right?) Yes, it’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but let’s just say I don’t see it often Continue reading “The Power of Coming Together” »

Want a sneak peak?

Posted on: 07/24/14 11:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

volunteerI just finished a brand new youth ministry book about mobilizing and equipping volunteers for ministry. I turn it in to the publisher in 7 days and would love to get some feedback to make some last minute tweaks before I turn it in.

Anyone want to preview my book this weekend? (UPDATE: I’ve already had an overwhelming response. I can have 5 more people look at it- but they’d need to be able to read it literally this weekend and have me comments by Monday at noon.)

The book is a short little resource, just 10,000 words (that’s like just 2 to 3 chapters of most of my books), part of a creative new youth ministry set that GROUP Publishing is coming out with early next year. I won’t give too much away about the project, but I’ll let you know that Continue reading “Want a sneak peak?” »