The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan's Resource Ezine

Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In This Issue

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Featured Article: A Long Way Since the ?Solid Gold Dancers'

This is the time of year where youth culture seeps out from multiple media reservoirs, the most blatant being last weekend's MTV Video Music Awards and last month's Teen Choice Awards. Jonathan gives us his annual "2 cents" on these shows and what these barometers are reading about youth culture today.

A Long Way Since the ?Solid Gold Dancers'
By Jonathan McKee

I remember the first time I saw the Solid Gold Dancers when I was a kid. I was like someone tasting his first menthol throat lozenge "with vapor action"... tingling all over.

Some of you are way too young to even remember the sexually charged dancers from the 80's pop music TV show Solid Gold. But those of us who grew up during the television era of The A-Team and The Greatest American Hero remember it well.

Solid Gold is Mr. Rogers by today's standards.

MTV, Fox, and even The ABC Family Channel (we talked about that quite a bit on our recent podcast) are reaching new levels when it comes to pushing the censorship line. Hollywood acts as if "censorship" is a bad word, an enemy of true artistic expression. Meanwhile, our kids are growing up watching basic TV programming with the kind of action once reserved for strip clubs. Two of the main sources of this kind of elicit programming are two of the top shows viewed by teenagers each year: The MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) and Fox's Teen Choice Awards. These shows not only give us a glimpse into youth culture, they provide a good sampling of the content in today's music, music videos and movies.

They say this is MTV's first year in sin city... but I think they've "been there" for years.

Sin City-that's Las Vegas-the location of this year's MTV VMAs. And as a parent of a teen, a tween and an elementary school kid... I really wish what happened in Vegas would just stay in Vegas. But unfortunately MTV did the honor of projecting it out to TV sets around the world for all to see.

Sex sells.

It always has and it always will.

I guess I didn't expect less from MTV, but somehow they always manage to drop my jaw during the airing of this show annually. That's their goal. Give the audience what they want. TV reality show The Hill's Audrina Patridge summarized it well about satisfying her fans, "They love it, so that's all that matters."

So that's what MTV provided: plenty of racy performances for the pleasures of the eyes and ears. Although this year, the show was more like a raging party taking over Vegas' The Palms Hotel with televised concert parties in different suites throughout the building. 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake's party came complete with dancers (I'm being nice-really these were strippers with a little bit of clothes on) dancing around poles. There was no shortage of females literally gyrating their merchandise throughout the show (sad what MTV has allowed women to become-sex objects). The Foo Fighters party was complete with beer bong drinking fans smattered throughout the crowd.

Main stage wasn't much different. The show opened with a highly anticipated performance from Brittany Spears performing her new song "Gimme" wearing a skimpy sequined bikini. Her dance featured some moves straight out of a Pussycat Doll audition, with back up dancers groping her body and pole dancers (yes, also on main stage) doing moves that left rapper 50 Cent gazing with his mouth open.

Minutes later a commercial offered the ringtone with the voice from Brittany's song saying, "It's Brittany bitch." Might as well capitalize on the words from the song she just performed.

Less than 10 minutes into the show the raunchy Sarah Silverman did an encore of her MTV Movie Awards' performance, spouting off truly R-rated onslaughts of various stars in the audience. "Have you seen her kids?" Sarah asked about Brittany. "They are the most adorable mistakes I've ever seen. They are as cute as the hairless vagina they came out of. They're like this..." Sarah turned her head sideways and stretched her lips out, doing her best impression of the female genitalia.

Offended? Good. Because at the last few Christian camps I spoke at I surveyed the audience and the overwhelming majority of our Christian kids watch MTV regularly, probably giggling at that very joke last Sunday night.

Do you think parents really know what's on this channel?

After Justin Timberlake won male artist of the year he returned to his party suite to sing "Ayo Technology" with 50 Cent. This video, which was actually shown unedited on MTV during its daytime video programming the week prior, is the closest I have ever seen to porn without actual nudity. The performance at the awards wasn't much better. The pole dancers did their thing while the crowd partied and sang the lyrics with Justin and 50:

She's so much more than you're used to
She knows just how to move to seduce you
She gone do the right thing and touch the right spot
Dance in you're lap till you're ready to pop...
I'm tired of using technology, why don't you sit down on top of me
I'm tired of using technology, I need you right in front of me
Ooh, she wants it. Uh uh, she wants it. Ooh, she wants it... I've gotta give it to her...

A few minutes later they showed 50 Cent on the same stage singing his song "In the Club." It was actually humorous. The "censor guy" had to silence out so many curse words that it sounded like a technical glitch or skipping record. I was wondering, "Why even show this performance?" People were missing more than they were hearing.

The "censor guy" must have been busy this year with all the language that had to be edited. He actually missed a beat, allowing Jamie Foxx to slip out the word "sh**" on live television.

I don't think many people noticed.

The commercials offer another glimpse at the quality of programming MTV provides. Maxim Magazine's model Tila Tequila's new MTV reality show was advertised where she invites 16 gorgeous lesbians and 16 gorgeous straight guys for a battle of the sexes. The commercial shows her confessing that she is a bisexual and the goal of this show apparently is for her to discover which sex she liked better. The commercial alone showed enough skin and sensuality (lesbians making out) to rival late night Cinemax. It will most definitely be a hit among teenagers. Commercials for other MTV shows like The Real World and The Hills didn't offer a much better alternative.

Beyond all the raucous content, I bet most musicians and artists were disappointed with this year's talent... or lack there of. Musically, I only enjoyed two artists: Alicia Keys and Rhianna-maybe because they were two of the few that actually sang instead of doing a Milli Vanilli into the Microphone.

But I must also admit that I enjoyed Chris Brown's dancing. This young guy is one to watch. They are already comparing him to Michael Jackson and Usher. He's a talented young man.

What can we expect from MTV in the future?

Good question. Rewind to the beginning of the show where Brittany answered that question... almost confessing the answer in the lyrics to her song Gimme. The last line says it all:

Cameras are flashing while we're dirty dancing
They keep watchin' (Wait)
Keep watchin
(Feel's like the crowd is saying)

Gimme gimme more
Gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme gimme more
Gimme (Uh)
Gimme gimme more

I just can't control myself, oh
They want more? Well I'll give'em more, oh!

I have one overwhelming complaint about the Teen Choice Awards-the content doesn't match the audience.

The content is often profane- and the audience is literally filled with teens, tweens and children. It's a known fact that the awards are marketed in teen venues attracting not only teens, but every little kid desperately wanting to grow up faster than their little bodies ever dreamed. Many of the Teen Choice Award presenters comment about the audience's age. This year Justin Long even referred to the crowd as "pre-pubescent."

The audience's age wouldn't be a problem if this was an episode of Disney's Hanna Montana or a screening of a new Sponge Bob movie. But I can't help but wonder if parents really know what goes on behind the doors of the Teen Choice Awards with role models like Snoop Dog, Fergie, The Shop Boyz and the cast of the new R-rated hormone infested film Superbad who were plugging their film to an audience that couldn't even get into the theatre without Mommy or Daddy. (It was quite a glimpse into the success of Superbad's marketing efforts to kids. The cast simply introduced themselves as, "We're here from the new blockbuster hit Superbad." And then we saw hundreds of 8 through 12 year olds erupt into screaming applause.)

I must confess that my hopes were high this year when I found out the awards were to be hosted by Nick Cannon and Hilary Duff (a little more innocent than last year's Dane Cook). But it didn't take long for the show to digress to the typical raunch it provides annually. Just minutes into a fairly creative sketch-a take off of A High School Musical-a costumed "mascot" began humping the leg of one of the dancers. As the sketch progressed... er... regressed, the same mascot continued its antics behind an old lady that was dancing, slapping her thighs while he thrusted her rear. Kindly the camera quickly cut away from the scene.

Then the show actually cleaned up for the next hour or so; although we definitely weren't denied cleavage shots from various Disney Channel children's show stars like Halie Duff and Hanna Montona's Miley Cyrus. (But I guess the world hasn't been denied much from Disney child stars lately, have they?)

As the show continued we saw typical "Teen Choice" phenomenon occur: kids voting for shows that they shouldn't have watched in the first place. This year's winners included Desperate Housewives, Knocked Up, and Superbad.

Award presenter Dane Cook couldn't restrain himself again this year, causing Fox to censor out one of his jokes. All we heard was him saying, "When I laugh too hard, my CENSOR wiggle! They wiggle!"

The icing on the cake was the closing act by Shop Boyz singing their hit song, Party like a Rockstar. Kids gathered around the stage screaming and lifting their hands up to these lyrics, prompting a "re-word" or two and another CENSOR from Fox:

I'm on a money making mission
But I party like a rockstar
Flyin' down 20 lookin' good in my hot car
You know them hoes be at my show
Worried 'bout where my chain go
I uh rubba in ma pants
But these hoes won't let my CENSOR go

I uwa like I uwa
'Cause you know them hoes be trying us
Hoe don't you know I f*** (reword: mess) with fine dimonds
That look like Pa-me-la
They fine and they hot bra
When I'm in the spot bra......

Again... where are the parents of these kids?

If you're a youth worker, what can you do when you know that our kids are absorbing this kind of content from their iPods, TVs and computers?

I asked the same question in the article I wrote last year in response to these same two award shows. This article revealed a "common denominator" present in the struggles of many teenagers today and provided four essentials our ministries can provide in this X-rated world.


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

Jonathan at the Youth Specialties NYWC: Catch Jonathan teaching two workshops at either the San Diego or Atlanta National Youth Workers Conventions

The Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) needs no introduction. This convention brings out the best in bands and speakers to equip youth workers to impact the lives of kids.

Jonathan will be teaching two different workshops at the San Diego and the Atlanta conventions this year. Check it out!


Getting Students to Show Up: Programming Outreach Events for 10 to 10,000: This training will challenge you to rethink your methodology when it comes to outreach. But more than that, Jonathan will show you, step-by-step, how to plan and execute a great outreach event, whether it's geared for 10 or 10,000 students! If you're hosting a citywide event or a weekly event for your church or local campus, you'll receive plenty of tips and tools to ensure that your event actually reaches out and points people toward Jesus.


Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers: Do They Run When They See You Coming? Based on Jonathan's book of the same title, this training will help you get into the minds of unchurched teenagers and then look at your ministry more objectively so you can see what proactive steps you need to take to reach students who aren't making it to church. In this seminar you'll
  • Learn the top five 'beliefs' that resonate in today's postmodern, paganistic, and pluralistic society and have begun to creep into the church

  • Learn how MTV, movies, music, and celebrities affect youth culture and serve as a megaphone for these five beliefs

  • Learn three essentials for reaching out to the unchurched


New Podcast Episode: Our EZINE takes a peek at episode #6 where Les Christie shares his own Seven Sins of Game Leading-and last episode to WIN BIG prizes like a brand new video iPod with the Podcast Summer Giveaway

Episode #6 is up!
Listen to it for free on iTunes now!
(CLICK HERE) Or, if you don't have
iTunes already... jump on Apple's web
for a free download, then click
on our podcast page.

A Peek at Episode #6- In this episode Jonathan returns to the studio with youth pastor Andy Matzke, and author, speaker and youth ministry game guru Les Christie. Andy is youth pastor at Sacramento area's Sun River Church. Les chairs the youth ministry department at William Jessup University and is a member of YS's THE CORE training team. One of his most recent books is the fantastic games book from GROUP Publishing, BEST-EVER GAMES.

In this podcast episode:
  • Les shares his own SEVEN SINS OF GAME LEADING, sharing some keen insight about how NOT TO lead games (and some insight on how to do it correctly).

  • In the "Youth Culture Window" section, Jonathan discusses the surprising content on the ABC "Family" Channel.

  • Jonathan looks at two amazing resources that you're not going to wanna miss in our "Resource Highlight" section.

  • They close the episode by answering youth ministry questions in the "Help Me" section.

  • 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

  • More from experts in the field like Kurt Johnston, Chap Clark and more!



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.

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