The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

In This Issue

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Featured Article: It's the Holy Spirit's Fault! by Jonathan McKee

by Jonathan McKee
January 13, 2004

Jonathan McKee I think the Holy Spirit gets blamed for a lot of things He doesn't do.

A youth worker asked me for advice about a talk he would be giving to a large group of kids. Although, five minutes into the conversation I quickly realized that he didn't want advice at all, he just wanted a stamp of approval - one I wasn't willing to give him. He didn't want to prepare because he thought it would "hinder The Spirit's leading." Sure enough, he got up on stage and talked about whatever "The Spirit" led him to speak on. Of course he went longer than the time allotted, bored the audience, and touched on about 12 different issues, never bringing any one point home. "Wouldn't want to hinder The Spirit."

Why can't The Spirit lead you when you're preparing?

Who came up with the idea that God has to wait until the moment you walk on stage to evaluate the audience? Do you actually think that God is sitting there in heaven, waiting for you to get on stage so he can then ... "Hmmmm, hold on a second, let me see who's here. Oh, wow! T.J. is here. You better talk about this..." As if God never saw that one coming.

Here's a no-brainer. Preparation doesn't hinder The Spirit. Before you speak or minister to a group of students, spend some time praying for them. Even though you don't know who is going to be there, God does. Ask for Him to guide you and lead you in your studies. Then plan your talk with His guidance.

And what about time constraints? Who says that God can't work in a certain amount of time? If you plan a program where parents are going to pick up kids at a certain time, then make sure you have kids out there exactly when it is over. Don't blame it on The Spirit for going over.

Last month my friend booked a speaker for a big event with 1,000 jr. high students. He told the speaker, "You have to give the invitation by 10:40 p.m. so kids have 15 minutes to talk with counselors." My friend's ministry has been doing this king of event for almost a decade, and they know the importance of getting jr. high students one on one with counselors so they understand the decision they're making, so they can fill out follow-up material, and so they can get a Bible in their hand before they leave.

But not this time. Why? Because "The Spirit" supposedly led the speaker. The speaker felt that he was "on a roll" and that he should talk until after 11:00 p.m. Parents were outside waiting for their kids, wondering what was going on. Youth workers were frantically making phone calls as they loaded up kids in vans 20 minutes late. Counselors didn't get to meet with kids, get their information for follow up, or give them Bibles. The event ended in chaos.

Did God still work? Yes. Can God work through our mistakes? Yes. Was the speaker a good steward of the resources he had that night (counselors, a sufficient time to present the Gospel)? No. Was he disciplined enough to do what he said he'd do? No. As a matter of fact, he didn't keep his commitment. He had assured them, "no problem," when they asked him if he could finish by 10:45.

I worked with an organization who brought a speaker into the public schools one year to do assemblies. The schools laid down the rules- no talk about God during the assemblies- but they could at our after-school events. The organization went over this with the speaker and he agreed ... until the first assembly. The principal all but yanked him off the stage when the speaker was giving an invitation to receive Jesus Christ. After being booted off campus, the organization asked the speaker what he was thinking. He said, "The Spirit led him to preach it."

Yes, the speaker did get to talk about the Gospel for about 2 minutes in front of 300 kids. But an entire district kicked two major Christian organizations off 17 campuses, reaching almost 2,000 kids a week. Why? "Christian's couldn't be trusted."

I'm sure the speaker still maintains that his Gospel presentation was Spirit led. But ministry was stifled for years in that city.

"Special revelation" does not supercede God's moral will. In other words, God isn't going to speak to us and suddenly tell us to do something contrary to scriptures. And last time I checked, keeping our commitment was part of God's Word. (Mathew 5:37, Psalm 15:4) It shouldn't be such a leap for us to show up when we said we would or keep within the time that we outlined.

I'm sure that God isn't too happy about his Holy Spirit continually being used as an excuse for lack of preparation, lack of discipline, and bad time management. Let's not put blame there.

For further reading on determining when God is speaking to us,
check out Dr. Haddon Robinson's book,
"Decision Making by the Book."

For further reading on speaking to youth,
check out Jonathan's article.

Something You Can Use This Week: Super Bowl XXXVIII Party Ideas

Superbowl XXXVIII For those of us in the U.S.A., the Superbowl, coming on Sunday, February 1st, is a great opportunity to plan a party, activity or event. And this year we've got some great ideas- for those who like, and even those who don't like the Superbowl:


A group of youth-workers came up with this idea at my "Reaching the Unchurched" Training in Cincinnati. Their ministry has attracted a lot of skaters over the last few years. They don't see a lot of interest in the Superbowl, so they thought, "Why not do an Anti-Superbowl Party."

They are bringing in all kinds of skateboard ramps and equipment for students to skate on all afternoon. Then they'll have some special activities like The TV Smash, where students will smash TV's with sledgehammers. (NOTE: If you opt to do this, you obviously will want to research all safety precautions necessary, safety goggles, jump suits, safety for you audience- use discernment)

They said that they'll actually have a TV there with the game on as well- because they'd hate to lose anyone who actually wanted to see the game. But, as you can see, the potential of ideas here is endless.


Nothing brings out students like food. And the cheaper the better. This might be the opportunity to do that burger bash or that pizza feed. All you can eat pizza for 3 bucks, prizes, the game on the big screen, etc. This is a great one to use our Superbowl Quiz that we provide every year (see below) and award prizes for the top 3 quizes.


Some of you might have noticed that the commercials can be pretty bad during the Superbowl (or anytime for that matter). Why not do a "Commercial Free" Superbowl Party." Have a tech guy kill the game every commercial (while watching it on a small monitor, knowing when to turn it back on) and lead game or activities from our UP FRONT GAMES page during every break. This is another great one to use our Superbowl Quiz that we provide every year (see below) and award prizes for the top 3 quizes.

Coming Soon: Another Ready-made Superbowl Quiz
for Your Superbowl Event

Picture this- students take a quiz as they enter the party. They have to fill it out before going in (or entering the main room). Questions range from basic football knowledge (How many points is a safety?) to questions specifically about the game that day (Who will catch the most passes for the home team?).

Then you just let everyone enjoy the game. At the end of the event, tally up the quizzes based on the statistics from the game and give away prizes to the top three.

THE SOURCE will send out the 2004 quiz to all EZINE subscribers the week before the Superbowl.


Jonathan's "Reaching The Unchurched" Training in Sacramento, CA and Huron, SD

Reaching the Unchurched Youth Specialties/Zondervan is publishing Jonathan's new book, REACHING UNCHURCHED STUDENTS (coming late 2004), but don't wait for the book ... get the training now!

If you are in driving distance from Sacramento, CA or Huron South Dakota, you won't want to miss this!

Tic Long, President of YOUTH SPECIALTIES EVENTS says "We had Jonathan do his REACHING UNCHURCHED KIDS seminar at our National Youth Workers Convention and he did a great job. Not only is Jonathan's presentation dynamic, his information was extremely helpful to those in attendance. In fact, that's why we're publishing his book."


MARK YOUR CALENDAR: February 7th, Jonathan is doing a Saturday workshop (9AM to 3PM) for youth workers near Sacramento/Roseville. If you're a youth worker, barely paid or a volunteer, this is for you! Here's the details:

    February 7th, 9AM to 3PM
    Two affordable choices:
    $10 a person if registered by January 31 (includes lunch)
    $20 at the door (includes lunch)
    Call Sacramento Youth for Christ at (916) 857-0660

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: February 14th, Jonathan is doing this training for area youth workers as well as student leaders. (it only goes to 3:00 p.m., so you still have time to take out your Valentine!)

Check out the Reaching the Unchurched web page later this week for Huron's exact location and registration information!



or contact Jonathan at

Jonathan McKee is president of The Source for Youth Ministry and author of the new book "Do They Run When They See You Coming? Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers." (CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK) Jonathan speaks and trains across the country and provides free online resources, training, & ideas for youth workers at

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