Thursday, April 25, 2013


"Who wants some pizza?"

Since the dawn of time, every youth pastor has proclaimed these words to their youth groups. But once the dodge ball game was over and the pizza was gone, the youth pastors would say something else.

"You must own your faith!" To be clear, this probably originated when Aaron the priest said this to Joshua. 

"You will have to own your faith, Josh. After all, Moses goes along with too many things that his brother and sister do. It's gonna get him killed."

Every youth pastor has said things like....
  • Your parents can't believe for you.
  • Someday you will move away from home. Then what will your faith look like?
  • Your childhood Sunday School answers won't suffice for real life.
Any youth pastor could have written a book about this. But it was Ryan and Josh Shook who did write this book. And they did a great job of making the case for a firsthand faith, which is where the title comes from. 

Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own

The title really does say it all and sum it up well. Ryan and Josh banter back and forth, sharing their real-life stories of doubt and finding their faith. They describe the benefits of this faith throughout the course of the book. But they do better than that. At the end of each chapter, they share the mic, in a manner of speaking, and offer many quotes from other people who have been in the same place. 

I feel like a bit of a voice-over for an infomercial, but that's not all they have done. They offer follow-up discussion questions which, admittedly, have become the norm for many recent releases. Ryan, besides authoring this book, is also a blogger and filmmaker. Using those gifts, he has provided several videos that can also serve as follow-up and facilitate small group discussion. 

They couch all of this seeking and finding in a setting of relationships. The other thing every youth pastor has said, forever, is that the best way to do all of this seeking is in the context of relationships. They have done more than just say it, ensuring that this book is set up perfectly for a small group setting, really of any age group. 

So while I could have written this book, I'm glad that somebody did. If you have the setting, or lead a group, I would recommend this book. I was not held at gun point to write something positive, but I was give this book by my good friends at Waterbrook Multnomah. 

You can find the authors here - Firsthand Facebook page for authors Ryan and Josh Shook. 

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