The Intertwining Power of Music and Television

Katy-MissyIn my previous post I highlighted some eye-catching elements that many parents overlooked during last Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast (and no, it had nothing to do with the Illuminati). In this post, I want to turn my attention strictly to the music.

Last Sunday morning Missy Elliott wasn’t on the music charts and certainly wasn’t on young people’s radar. But then Katy Perry invited her to come and perform with her in the most watched halftime show in Super Bowl history.

Now Missy’s experiencing Continue reading “The Intertwining Power of Music and Television” »

Posted in Jonathan's Rant, Music, Parenting, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, TV, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

The Need for Super Bowl Conversations

Ted-2-for-kidsAfter spending an entire weekend with a couple thousand teenagers in South Carolina, my attention was immediately turned to the most watched television broadcast of the year in the United States: the Super Bowl. It was an intriguing transition.

The Super bowl is a distinctive television event. It’s not unique to adults, and it’s not exclusive to teenagers (a la MTV Video Music Awards). It’s an event truly watched by the entire family (the commercials alone are a huge draw for all ages- did you notice the ad for the new SpongeBob movie? And the new Ted 2 movie… wait… is that for kids?).

So what did I take away from this year’s Super Bowl?

One conclusion Continue reading “The Need for Super Bowl Conversations” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Sexuality, TV, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

Quiz for the Super Bowl

super bowl quizIt’s almost Super Bowl time… and that means our annual BIG GAME Quiz!

For those of you have been following for the past few years, you probably look forward to the fun little free resource we provide every year called the Super Bowl “BIG GAME Quiz!” (I just posted it HERE). This quiz is a fun little party game you can use at your Super Bowl party at your church or your home. People fill out the quiz as they enter your party, predicting scores, catches, runs, etc., then you Continue reading “Quiz for the Super Bowl” »

Posted in TV, Youth Ministry Programming | 2 Comments

Content with My Sin

this is where I leave youI Just finished watching a movie on my flight, This is Where I Leave You. The film was extremely well written, with powerful performances and real-to-life characters. There was just one problem… I walked away content with my own sin.

Life sucks. So do what feels good at the moment.

Here lies the struggle: touching film… bleak perspective

One of the main reasons I enjoyed the movie was the authentic characters with genuine problems. They were blemished, just like me and just like the people sitting in the pews with me every week. But the reason I actually sit in the pew every week is because I desperately need Continue reading “Content with My Sin” »

Posted in Entertainment Media, Faith, Jonathan's Rant, Movies | 1 Comment

From SnapChat to Tappy

tappy appIt’s called Tappy. It’s the newest app acquired by Tinder, and the buzz is that it’s Instagram meets Snapchat.

The conversation begins with a photo, and then becomes chat. All messages disappear after 24 hours.

It’s everything young people want: pics, social media, anonymity and of course… it’s ephemeral. The first two elements aren’t bad, but the latter two are where young people frequently get into trouble.

Let me explain.

Parents should beware of any app promoting a lack of accountability. Anonymity only breeds irresponsibility. If you don’t believe me, look at the Continue reading “From SnapChat to Tappy” »

Posted in Internet, Jonathan's Rant, Parenting, Self Image, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | 1 Comment

MORE No Prep Games

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” »

Posted in Youth Ministry Management | Leave a comment

No-Prep Games

heads or tailsAs a youth worker, I always like to have two games “in my pocket” at any given time. You never know when you need one. Even if you are NOT in youth ministry, you never know when you might need something fun to liven up a dying New Years Eve party (or Arbor Day party).

Last weekend I spoke at the Recharge event in the greater Twin Cities area of MN—a great event with 600 area youth leaders. My friend Tiger McLeun was at the helm and he ran a classic simple crowd game that was really fun. The game was called Continue reading “No-Prep Games” »

Posted in Youth Ministry Programming | Leave a comment

What Teens Want to Read

best-teen-booksI always find it intriguing to see what forms of entertainment today’s young people are digesting in our culture. For most of us, that brings to mind the newest Vine video, social media app, or Nicki Minaj song in the Top 10. But what about books?

Every since Harry Potter, we’ve seen a surge in YA fiction (often followed by movie releases), like the Twilight series, the Hunger Games trilogy, Divergent, or the more recent The Fault in Our Stars. In a world with so many entertainment options, what is it young people are actually reaching for on the shelf today? And with steamy adult books like 50 Shades of Grey surging mainstream… will this trickle down to the teen market?

I asked YA author Continue reading “What Teens Want to Read” »

Posted in Books, Entertainment Media, Youth Culture | Leave a comment

Three states this week

This week I hit three states, speaking to kids in WI, training youth leaders in TX and MN, speaking at a church in MN and teaching a parent workshop. Then later this month I’ll be in two more states… maybe even near you.

It would be fun to see you. Check out my calendar and see if I’m coming to a city near you! Continue reading “Three states this week” »

Posted in Speaking/Training | Leave a comment

The Dark Undercurrents of Bullying

Nelson-Muntz-bullyI’ve been taking time off work for a few weeks during Christmas break to not only spend as much time as possible with my family, but also to finish writing my first fiction novel, a story about a school shooting on a high school campus—a sobering peek into the dark undercurrents of teen culture and bullying.

The book has been an interesting project, providing a porthole into the perspectives of various individuals: an athlete, a Christian girl, a bullied kid, a teacher, a cop… and countless other teens.

I admit, the book hits a little too close to home. As I dove into the internal psyche of the shy, teased, isolated kid who one day just explodes in a rampage Continue reading “The Dark Undercurrents of Bullying” »

Posted in Books, Personal, Youth Culture | Leave a comment