The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In This Issue

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Featured Article: The Question that Gives you a Glimpse into Their World-and a TiVo reminder to check out the upcoming Teen Choice Awards & MTV Video Music Awards

"May I?"
The Question That Gives You a Glimpse into Their World

By Jonathan McKee

A week ago I was hanging out with some of my friends and I noticed their youngest son sitting by the pool with his iPod on. I went over and struck up a conversation with this young tween, asking him what he was listening to. He answered honestly, "Umbrella" (a fairly catchy Rihanna song that rode Billboard's number one spot for months).

So I asked him the question I ask a lot of kids to get to know them better: "May I?" (asking to see his iPod)

An iPod will tell you plenty. I immediately navigated to his playlists, looking over his 'On-the-Go' lists that he had created for quick listening. I peeked at his 'Recently Played' and 'Top 25 Most Played.' These speak volumes. For this young man, some of the 'Top 25 Most Played' were Akon's Smack That, 50 Cent's Candy Shop, the Shop Boyz single Party Like a Rock Star and Fergie's Big Girls Don't Cry.

I asked him, "Wow, do you own all these?"

He blushed a little and then leaned in close. "Well, my friend has them. I just go to his house and set his iTunes on 'manual' when we sinc it." (Mental note: ask this kid for help when I need assistance tricking out my iPod.)

You can learn a lot about a kid from his or her iPod. In this case, I learned what kind of lyrics this 11 year old was putting in his head daily as well as the source of the music.

But the iPod wouldn't have told me a thing had I not been aware of youth culture today. And one of the best sources to keep you current about today's youth culture is happening in the next few weekends on your TV set.

Three times a year I'll tell you to put the kids to bed, turn on the TV sets and get ready to get a peek into the porthole of youth culture today. One of those times is this Sunday, August 26, on FOX at 8/7c for the 'Teen Choice Awards.'

Let me quickly summarize what Fox's 'Teen Choice Awards' looks like every year: a bunch of adults are allowed to talk and sing about stuff that we wouldn't want our kids to hear... and we televise it.

It's kind of funny to even think about. If you were in the grocery store with your kids and you wandered past an isle where two adults were discussing sex... you probably would do the same thing I would-grab my kids, hang a quick U-turn and head out the door. Yet somehow, millions of parents let their teens and tweens watch or even attend Fox's televised Teen Choice Awards where last year Nelly Furtado and Timbaland sang the song "Promiscuous," spewing lyrics like:

"Wait! I don't mean no harm
I can see you with my t-shirt on

I can see you with nothing on
feeling on me before you bring that on

I think a lot of parents aren't aware of the meaning of lyrics like "let me hit it." (If you don't know, go ahead and look up "hit it" in our slang dictionary.) After all... the song doesn't have any curse words. So if it doesn't have the explicit lyrics logo, it must be clean. Right?

You might want to watch it and judge for yourself.

And two weeks later on September 9th, MTV brings us their annual VMAs (Video Music Awards). Count on MTV to give you a true glimpse into the depravity of what our kids are filling their iPods with each day. Don't take my word for it-watch these upcoming VMA's... after all, most the kids you work with will be watching it too.

I'll be sharing my "2 cents" with you shortly after these two shows like I did last year and the year prior.

So set your VCR's, DVRs and TiVo's to record these shows. Or check out some of my past articles about youth culture and these portholes:

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is president of The Source for Youth Ministry and author of numerous youth ministry books like "Do They Run When They See You Coming?" and the brand new "Getting Students to Show Up." Jonathan studies youth culture and trends, speaking and training across the country and providing free online resources, training, & ideas for youth workers at

Something You Can Use: New music clip discussion starter using "Sorry, Blame it on Me" from Akon

Anyone who has spent any time on our site has noticed that we love to use music and movie clips to kickstart discussions about Biblical truths. Check out this recent addition to our MUSIC DISCUSSIONS page using the song 'Sorry, Blame it on Me' from Akon. This song worked its way up the charts and became the #2 downloaded song on iTunes. Currently it sits at #18 on Billboards Hot 100 chart and the #25 most downloaded song on iTunes.

The intriguing thing about this song is that the lyrics are what drove it up the charts. The song isn't much musically-nothing new. But kids have been intrigued by the controversy surrounding the song and probably surprised to hear an apology from a rap star.

Personal Responsibility:
Akon- Sorry, Blame it on Me

August 14, 2007

Main Point of Discussion: When we mess up and make mistakes, we need to admit them, correct them, and move on.

Akon (born Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam) on April 30, 1973 is a Senegalese-American hip hop and R&B singer, songwriter, and record producer. Akon rose to fame in 2004 following the release of his single "Locked Up" from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination for the single "Smack That". He is the founder of Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. He is well known for singing hooks and has over 130 guest appearances and 15 Billboard Hot 100 songs to his credit.

In April 2007, Akon drew criticism for a raunchy dance with a fourteen year old girl at a Trinidad club, as part of a fake contest, despite the club's claim to have an eighteen-years and over age limit. The incident was filmed by Akon's crew and later uploaded to the Internet. On April 20, 2007 local media, channel TV6, aired the video clip publicly. Amid criticism on the radio, television, and from the blogosphere, Verizon Wireless has removed ringtones featuring Akon's songs. Verizon has also decided not to sponsor an upcoming tour where Akon was to be the opening act for Gwen Stefani. However, Universal Music Group did not take action against Akon, but rather simply ordered the video clip be removed from the video-sharing site YouTube due to copyright infringement. Conservative commentator and Parents Televisio Council founder Brent Bozel called this "corporate irresponsibility."

In a newly released song, "Sorry, Blame It On Me", Akon apologizes to the young girl and Gwen Stefani for the incident at the club, though citing the club for admitting "Even though the blame's on you, I'll take that blame from you. You can put the blame on me." He also tells how Verizon dropped promoting him and Gwen's tour, and stopped sale of his ringtones. The song is available to listen to on Akon's MySpace page and was released onto iTunes (U.S.) on July 17, 2007*

At THE SOURCE FOR YOUTH MINISTRY we like to use pop culture references to start Biblical conversation (just like the Apostle Paul used culture to start conversations about Jesus in Acts 17). This music video might be a good discussion starter in some circles. Use your discernment.

If you want, you can print out the lyrics (below) and give each student a copy to refer to. has the video on their site for free right now and iTunes offers the video as a download for $1.99. Ask the tech guy at your church how to play the video on a laptop through a projector.

Introducing the Music Video:
Many of you have probably heard (or at least heard about) the song called 'Sorry, Blame it on Me' by Akon. It is basically a musical confession/apology from Akon for an incident at a night club where he publicly simulated sex with an underage girl. Tonight we're going to take a closer look at the song and what it says about mistakes, consequences, and personal responsibility.

Pass out a handout with the lyrics on it.

Song Lyrics:
"Sorry, Blame It On Me"

As life goes on I'm starting to learn more and more about responsibility
I realize everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things I have done
And things that have not occurred yet
And the things they don't want to take responsibility for

I'm sorry for the times I left you home
I was on the road and you were alone
I'm sorry for the times that I had to go
I'm sorry for the fact that I did not know
That you were sitting home just wishing we
Could go back to when it was just you and me
I'm sorry for the times I would neglect
I'm sorry for the times I disrespect

I'm sorry for the wrong things that I've done
I'm sorry I'm not always there for my son
I'm sorry for the fact that I'm not aware
That you can't sleep at night when I am not there
Because I am in the streets like everyday
Sorry for the things that I did not say
Like how you are the best thing in my world
And how I'm so proud to call you my girl

I understand that there are some problems
And I am not too blind to know
All the pain you kept inside you
Even though you might not show
If I can apologize for being wrong
Then it's just a shame on me
I'll be the reason for your pain and you can put the blame on me

You can put the blame on me [4x]
Said you can put the blame on me [3x]
You can put the blame on me

Sorry for the things that he put you through
And all the times you didn't know what to do
Sorry that you had to go and sell those packs
Just trying to stay busy till you heard from Dad
And you would rather be home with all your kids
As one big family with love and bliss
And even though Pops treated us like kings

He got a second wife and you didn't agree
He got up and left you there all alone
I'm sorry that you had to do it on your own
I'm sorry that I went and added to your grief
I'm sorry that your son was once a thief
I'm sorry that I grew up way too fast
I wish I would've listened and not be so bad
I'm sorry your life turned out this way
I'm sorry that the FEDS came and took me away


I'm sorry that it took so long to see
They were dead wrong trying to put it on me
I'm sorry that it took so long to speak
But I was on tour with Gwen Stefani
I'm sorry for the hand that she was dealt
For the embarrassment that she felt
Just a little young girl trying to have fun
Her daddy should never let her out that young
I'm sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage
In a 21 and older club they say
Why doesn't anybody wanna take blame
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I'm just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I'll take that blame
Even though the blame's on you [3x]
I'll take that blame from you

And you can put that blame on me [2x]
You can put that blame on me
And you can put that blame on me

Transitional Statement:
Talk to the group about why they think this song is so popular and how it seems to connect with so many people. Then say something like:

"I'm Sorry, Blame it on Me" shows a different side to most of the hip hop music out there, see if you can pick them out.

Play the song, then divide into Small Groups:
Let's go ahead and split up into our discussion groups to discuss this video, and then afterward we'll come back together for a final word.


New Special Sermon Podcast: In this episode you have the opportunity to hear Jonathan preach to a congregation in Detroit, MI

- Jonathan McKee -

In this episode we break from the normal format of our podcast to bring you a sermon that Jonathan recently preached to the congregation at WARD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Detroit Michigan-a sermon titled "God's Grace is for Everyone... isn't it?"
(CLICK HERE for more about Jonathan's speaking)




Podcast listeners get special perks like THE SOURCE PODCAST SUMMER GIVEAWAY. It's simple. You listen to the podcast... you have a chance to win any of these prizes:

A brand new Apple 30GB Black VIDEO iPod ($249 Value)

Getting Students to Show Up
Jonathan's new book Getting Students to Show Up and the FINAL COUNTDOWN Event Resource DVD.

Gospel Journey Adventure Kit
The Gospel Journey Adventure Kit from ($199 Value)

The more of our podcasts you listen to, the more chances you have to win.
Each of our episodes has a clue.

To enter, simply listen to any of our podcasts
and fill out the form on the

  • Podcast #6 will feature author and youth ministry game guru Les Christie. Les will be sharing his own SEVEN SINS OF GAME LEADING

  • Podcast #7 will feature Timber-lee Camp's Chris Radloff along with Jonathan and Furby. Chris will share the SEVEN SINS OF MANAGING VOLUNTEERS IN YOUTH MINISTRY.


Jonathan Training in Grand Rapids: On September 8th Jonathan is going to be doing an all day training workshop in Grand Rapids for youth workers

Grand Rapids , MI

September 8th, Jonathan is doing a Saturday workshop (9AM to 3PM) for youth workers within driving distance of Grand Rapids, MI. If you're a youth worker, paid or a volunteer, this is for you!

Here's the details for this Michigan training:

    Saturday September 8, 2007, 9 AM to 3 PM
    Community Reformed Church
    10376 Felch St.
    Zeeland, MI 49464
    Only $10 (lunch Included)
    Online: at via PayPal
    Mail check payable to ZAYM for total number of attendees x $10 to Kim Betten
    North Street CRC
    20 E. Main Ave
    Zeeland, MI 49464

    Or for questions: Call Phil Harbison at Community Reformed Church 616-772-4907.

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