Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own

Shook, Ryan; Shook, Josh


Barcode: 9781601427229

Release date: 15/07/2014

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Stop copying someone else's religion.
Start living out a faith that's all your own.

A "firsthand" faith is never what somebody tells you it should be, even if that person is a parent, friend, or pastor. "Firsthand" means you went after it for yourself and now it's all yours. That kind of faith is changes everything, but most people only find it by facing tough questions. Like:

? If God is real, why does he feel far away?
? Can I ever get past the dos and don'ts of church?
? Why should I even try to follow God when I fail so often?
? How do I experience a relationship with Christ that's more than surface level?
? Is it possible to have authentic faith when I have so many doubts?
? How can I connect with others who take firsthand faith seriously?

In these pages, Ryan and Josh Shook talk candidly about growing up in church only to realize that "how things are supposed to be" had stopped working for them. They set out to find what makes a young person's faith stick--or not.

Each chapter is designed to spark a discussion, and comes complete with personal inventories, Bible teaching, small-group discussion questions, and links to original video.

Now includes bonus "Looking Back from Here" Q&A with the authors

Praise for Firsthand

"You can't live a purpose-driven life without a real and personal faith. Christ didn't come to start a religion; he came to connect with you in a genuine firsthand relationship. Ryan and Josh Shook will challenge you never to settle for a secondhand religion but instead to develop a personal faith that transforms your life."
--Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA, and author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Purpose Driven Life

"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 in Washington, DC, and author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Circle Maker.

"Josh and Ryan Shook, as the sons of a 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, Elevation Church & author of the New York Times bestseller, Greater

"Firsthand is a rich and insightful book for believers who are tired of second-hand religion. Honest, compelling and well-written, Ryan Shook and Josh Shook have given us a huge gift! Their candor is so refreshing, and they point to the way to a vibrant, personal faith. This could be one of the most important books you'll ever read."
--Jud Wilhite, author of Pursued, senior pastor of Central Christian Church

"Every Christian parent wants their children to develop a faith of their own. Firsthand asks tough questions and guides those with a second-hand faith to find Christ for themselves."
--Craig Groeschel, Pastor of, author of Soul Detox, Clean Living in a Contaminated World

"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 to not settle for an inherited faith, but to discover a true relationship with Jesus that is unique, exciting, and every bit your own."
--Pete Wilson, Pastor of Cross Point Church, and author of Plan B and Empty Promises

From the Author
We grew up in church and always knew the right answers. Our parents and church really were great, but when we got to college we discovered that our faith was no longer working for us. After struggling with what a genuine faith looked like we realized that the reason our faith no longer worked for us was because it was never our own. What we called our faith was really borrowed religion from our friends, church and parents. When we looked around, we saw that many of our friends, Christian or not, really didn't have a faith that they called their own either.

Firsthand is a book all about moving from secondhand religion to a firsthand relationship with Christ. We aren't Bible scholars, we don't have all the answers, but we do genuinely want you to discover the beauty and passion of a firsthand relationship with Christ. Throughout this book you will find honest examples, practical advice, and thought provoking questions designed to help our generation own a firsthand faith. We didn't write this book to give you simple Bible school answers or criticize your questions. We embrace doubts, seek honesty, and value community in our lives as well as our faith. We hope this book challenges you in a positive way and we would love for you to join the community of young people trying to live out a firsthand faith. Please let us know what you think and join the conversation by visiting


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