For quite some time I have anxiously awaited a book to be released in the Christian publishing genre geared towards teenagers and the plethora of issues they deal with on a daily basis. There are certainly many books on the market regarding issues such as dating for example, but few if any that explore in a manner accessible to teenagers how the message of the gospel and its application to their lives is nothing short of transformative. Such a book has arrived on the scene, that of Jaquelle Crowe’s This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years. This is a book written by a teen (well okay a 19-year-old) for teens.
I have a teenage daughter. As a teenager myself in the distant past, I can relate to the struggles she faces. While technological advances have increased over the years, teenagers face the same array of problems I faced at that age – peer pressure, understanding the need for your relationship with God not just to be your parent’s religion, the complicated struggle between a desire to be a child and enjoy the teenage years and the urge to want to be an adult, just to name a few. What is often forgotten is Scripture speaks to all these issues. Furthermore, the truth of the gospel can and must transform how teens approach those matters.
Jaquelle saliently engages vital topics such as forming a biblical identity, grasping how our story fits into the larger gospel story, matters of community, dealing with sin, spiritual disciples, spiritual growth, time management, and building godly relationships. At the conclusion of each chapter, she provides three discussion questions that will help the reader apply the information learned.
This is a book we are currently using as part of our homeschool curriculum, both as part of Bible class and as part of our daughter’s reading assignment. We have allowed her to select one of the discussion questions and to write a response to that question, being sure to personalize the answer rather than merely regurgitating the facts presented by the author. I can relay that some valuable discussions have taken place as a result of our child journeying through this book.
How to Use This Book
Teenagers do not spend a good deal of effort pondering their worldview. While they certainly form one, often as a result of peer pressure or perhaps by embracing their parent’s perspective on life on a surface level, truly grasping a biblical worldview is often lost among so many other attention grabbers in their lives. For that matter, spending time assessing spiritual disciples or time management at this age is also something that more often than not does not take place, let alone how the gospel speaks to all these life issues.
This is why a book such as This Changes Everything is so helpful. A book written from the perspective of a teenager for teenagers is a massive help for parents. So many times parents get the rolling of the eyes when they try and share about the matters addressed by Jaquelle Crowe in her book. Hearing what parents are hopefully trying so hard to get across from an age peer, is of great value and will go a long way to supporting, promoting, and strengthening the efforts of parents.
Furthermore, I see great value in this book being used in youth groups, specifically in a small group setting where the questions can be asked and explored in more detail than perhaps could take place in a larger group setting. Given the immense importance of the subject matter and again the fact this book is written by an age peer, I highly encourage youth leaders to consider using this as a teaching tool.
It has been a long time coming in my opinion for a book that will be of tremendous help to teenagers, parents, and youth leaders. Jaquelle Crowe has done a marvelous job of engaging teenagers in a way they can understand, and of bringing to bear gospel truth to issues our young people are facing and which they need to ponder at this formative stage of their life. I recommend picking up a copy, and I highly recommend checking out the videos Crossway has been sharing on their website of late in support of this book. In fact, you can watch a few of them here: