Synopses & Reviews
Every person inherits a system of beliefs. Maybe yours came from community, or church, or society, or your parents. But one day you reach a breaking point. You look at the rituals and traditions and worship and theology and it all seems foggy. Foreign. Strange. You wonder why you believe what you believe. If you even believe anymore...
Brothers Ryan and Josh Shook reached that breaking point. Their book, Firsthand, is a smart, honest and deeply felt journey that invites you to leave behind handed-down beliefs and find authentic faith. A faith that lets go of how things are supposed to be. A faith that refuses to be defined by expectations or subcultures.
“Our goal is to help you replace secondhand religion with a meaningful relationship,” write the Shooks. “We want to help you get from a religion that you wear on the outside to a faith of your own—one that’s authentically yours all the way through.”
Young people are leaving the church in record numbers, but Ryan and Josh know now that it doesn’t have to be that way. They spent the past several years gathering research, trying to figure out the issues that make the most difference in whether a young person’s Christian faith sticks or not. They surveyed over three hundred respondents on the really hard questions. Questions like:
• If God is real, then why do I feel so empty on the inside? (Chapter 2)
• Why should I even try to follow God when I often feel like such a failure? (Chapter 3)
• How do I experience real connection with Christ that’s more than just surface level? (Chapter 4)
• How can I get past checklist Christianity and enjoy an every-day relationship with God? (Chapter 5)
• Is it possible to have a strong relationship with God even when I’m filled with doubts and questions? (Chapter 6)
• Can I really discover the meaning of my life through a relationship with Christ? (Chapter 7)
• How can I find a community of real people who take firsthand faith seriously? (Chapter 8)
In these pages, you’ll hear from the Shooks about their own struggles with these questions, along with the life-changing answers they’ve discovered from the Bible and personal experience. You’ll hear from other Christ followers, too, about their search for firsthand faith. And each chapter is designed to be shared—to spark a discussion with your friends—and comes complete with personal inventories, small group discussion questions, and links to creative video.
“Firsthand faith is the only kind that lasts because it’s centered deep in your own mind and heart,” write Ryan and Josh. “Sure, it’s still a work in progress, but it’s yours. It’s you. In fact, firsthand faith is so real and personal that when hard times hit, it just gets stronger."
Join us on a journey to find a faith of your own.
A faith that isn’t your parents’ or your youth pastor’s or your church’s.
Start from scratch, question everything, and get hold of a faith that’s real.
We call it firsthand faith.
“It’s rare to find young people unafraid to voice their doubts while still being bold in their faith. Ryan and Josh are two of those people.”
—Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church, Washington, DC, and author of the New York Times bestseller The Circle Maker
“All Christian parents want their children to develop a faith of their own. Firsthand asks tough questions and guides those with a secondhand faith to find Christ for themselves.”
—Craig Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, OK, and author of Soul Detox
“Josh and Ryan Shook, the sons of well-known pastor and author Kerry Shook, have fully embraced the fact that although their dad gave them a great start, they need to run their own race. Learn how to embrace a firsthand faith and walk in the strength of a personal relationship with Christ.”
—Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC, and author of the New York Times bestseller Greater
“Ryan and Josh Shook don’t shy away from the tough questions but face them head-on in this powerful book that will encourage young adults not to settle for an inherited faith but to discover a true relationship with Jesus that is unique, exciting, and every bit their own.”
—Pete Wilson, pastor of Cross Point Church, Nashville, TN, and author of Plan B
About the Author
RYAN SHOOK is a filmmaker and blogger. A graduate of Baylor University, he is married to Sarah, and they live in Los Angeles, California. JOSH SHOOK is a musician, a song writer, and a graduate of Belmont University. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee.