Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR

Teenagers, advice for parents, & awesomeness: my interview with @JoshShipp

Every teenager and every parent of a teenager should read this book by Josh Shipp.

Last year Josh was named one of INC. Magazine’s 30 under 30.

And too, CNN included Josh on their “Young Person Who Rocks” list.


He also hosts his own TV show called “Jump Shipp.”

And now his first major book is out in stores…

The Teen’s Guide to World Domination: Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness (published by St. Martin Press) is a must read…

Seriously, if you’re not familiar with Josh’s work, check it out. His ability to connect with 13-19 year-old humans astounds me.


Recently I asked Josh a few questions about the topic of teens…

Josh, you travel the U.S. speaking at hundreds of high schools each year, why do you think you’re able to connect with such a wide variety of teenagers?

1. I don’t take myself too seriously. The topics I discuss are serious, but the delivery is not.
2. I talk more about my screw ups than my victories. Do that and anyone will listen to you.

From the people you’ve met and the experiences you’ve encountered, what is the average  17-year-old looking for?

And fun.

This is why anything with a team, be it debate, drama, sports, or basket weaving…can dramatically alter a teen’s life. Because it has all three.


Any advice for the parent who is struggling to connect with their teenage son or daughter?

If your approach isn’t working. Vary your approach. It’s easier to get them to open up by talking about things that are hard for you–and do it with NO agenda. Be more open with them about things that are fun, thrilling, scary, down right depressing to you and soon they will follow suit.

Also, try mediums that teens are more comfortable with. Text them to say, I’m proud of you. Check them out of school for lunch and just be with them. Ask them what their favorite movie is, watch it, and then discuss it with them. Don’t judge; just discuss. Look for the reasons behind what they’re attracted to.


I just finished watching HBO’s “The Wire”–which is a fictional series about the drug war on the streets of Baltimore–and even if that show’s depiction of intercity life is only 50% accurate, the huge struggles facing Intercity, America seem to differ greatly from the issues that kids encounter in the suburbs/country. And if the struggles are the same, the consequences certainly differ.

My question is this: Do you believe that the average intercity kid can attain, what your book suggests, world domination?


I don’t believe any kid can obtain world domination. And the book states that the truth is… YOU CAN’T DOMINATE THE WORLD.

Well, I figured that much… since we’re not in North Korea… :)

But Matthew, I do believe that you can dominate YOUR world. It’s a fresh spin on “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it.”

I grew up in foster care and some really bad circumstances. I believe kids that come from hard beginnings, when they find something that drives them, something that wakes them up in the morning, something they excel at and someone to encourage them to continue. Game over. They will be forever different.


The truth is you can’t change the world. But you can change your world. And that could change everything. Not only for you, but for those you influence.

What are the biggest misconceptions that we have about teenagers?

They’re lazy.

They are not lazy. They’re picky.

I think you should constantly challenge your teen to try new things. It builds confidence and shows them how to deal with the learning curve they’ll experience in college or in the workplace.

The worst thing you can do is never let them fail. He’s 17. He will be fine.

Consider this: One day you won’t be there…have you prepared them to fail successfully?

The subtitle of your excellent books is “Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness”–what is “awesomeness” in your opinion?


You define that. It’s different for everyone.

It’s not about being THE best, it’s about being YOUR BEST.

All of us, regardless of our age or previous circumstance…have a shot at that. And guess what? It’s a daily CHOICE.

Buy Josh’s book here.

Check out Josh’s recently released promo video…

More about Josh HERE…

Got any advice for teens?! Share it.

Comments read comments(9)
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posted August 17, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Great interview. I like the freedom he gives parents. In my experience, a lot of parents feel like their hands are tied, when Josh’s perspective is the complete opposite. And any interview that includes the Wire is going to be great.

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posted August 17, 2010 at 3:19 pm

My first thought: AWESOME. And then some questions…

I’m not a parent nor a teenager, but I work with teens who are in foster care. I run an independent living program, that includes working with teens individually and in groups on life skills. Would this be a good read for me? Sounds like it would be, but if it’s overly focused on the child/parent relationship, maybe not.

Does Josh have any plans for creating any type of DVDs or leader guides that would make this into something that could be done with a group of kids?

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    Josh Shipp

    posted August 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Heather,

    It’s Josh

    I think it would be a good read for you and the teen’s you work with. Info here:

    I do have a DVD & study’s pretty pricey but I’m giving them away to people who buy a case of books.

    Again, info here:

    Thanks for what YOU do,

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      posted August 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      Thanks Josh. I appreciate your input! I’m going to purchase the book and give it a read, and then talk to my administrators. If I can work it into the curriculum we use, I can put in a request to purchase a case for our youth.

      We also have a yearly conference for teens in foster care in our state. It’s the 3rd weekend in July each summer for about 200 kids 14-18 years old. We won’t start planning until after the new year for next summer, but I will certainly bring up your name as a possible speaker!

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posted August 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Love this guy. I hope he’s still around talking to teens when my kids are teens. He says so many of the things that I took a long time to learn but totally contributed to my success.

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Steve K.

posted August 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

What, no link to! MPT, I thought we were friends …


Great interview! Josh rocks.

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Carole Turner

posted August 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I love this!! I’m gonna copy your Q and A and send it to the guy over our after school program at the inner city dream center where I work. We have been debating just hanging out vs having a structured activity during the program. I’ve been advocating for a structured activity. I think this will help the discussion.

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posted August 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Hahah, I may be 24 (and thus not his demographic), but that video had me roaring with laughter. “Al Gore hates you.”

I may just have to pick up this book for myself. I work with some teenagers – college freshmen – and granted it’s in Japan, but it might still be a good read.

Thanks for the recommendation, MPT. I’m glad to see that we have people in America who care about our teenagers and want them to grow up to be good people, rather than just writing them off.

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