This Changes Everything book review

Aug 20, 2017 | Julia Bartel

When I was younger, I often felt discouraged by the fluffiness of Christian resources aimed at young people. Books written for my demographic were patronizing and made me cringe. Youth group meetings were shallow. I was itching to experience God deeply, but it appeared that “serious” Christianity was something I wouldn’t get to experience until I was older.

However, that’s a lie that This Changes Everything drags out into the light. Jaquelle Crowe’s book is anything but fluffy. It’s gospel-centred, loving, convicting, and full of clarity and depth. As a teenager herself, Crowe believes that teens shouldn’t have to wait until they’re older to begin living a life transformed by the gospel.

Crowe’s writing is refreshing. She approaches the reader as a friend rather than a teacher, and she communicates the depth and importance of the topics she addresses without watering anything down. Her book includes eight chapters, each touching on different spheres of a teen’s life that can be impacted by the truth of Christ: identity, community, relationships, sin, disciplines, growth, and time. Crowe’s points are laid out clearly and bolstered by references to literature and to famous figures of Christian history, such as C.H. Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards. The book is also grounded in Biblical truth. One example is of Crowe using the writings of Paul to illustrate finding identity in Christ, or the chapter “Our Story,” which explains the story of the Fall and why we need Jesus.

I especially loved the chapter “Our Community,” which is about the role of teenagers in the church. Crowe passionately argues that teenagers should be integrated into the body of the church instead of considered a separate entity. She quotes Eric McKiddie: “Teenagers in whom God is at work do not cringe at a gospel-centred sermon from the Bible. Rather, they receive it with power and joy, even if it causes them to suffer.” I think the same can be true for Biblically-focused, gospel-centred books such as this one. It convicted me and made clear to me that I still have steps to take towards allowing the gospel to transform my life. It also gave me practical ways to take those steps.

With my twentieth birthday coming up, I’m reaching the end of my teen years, but this book will still be an important tool when I’m not a teenager anymore. It’s not just a good book for teenagers – it’s a good book for anyone who wants a basic primer on how to live out the gospel. More than anything, I wish I had this book when I was fourteen and confused about what it meant for me to be a Christian. I would highly recommend it for any teen unsure of how to embrace the work of Christ in their lives.

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About the Author

Julia Bartel

Julia is an intern with P2CS at the University of Toronto. As a student she studied English Literature and Book & Media studies, which means she likes reading, writing, and nerd stuff. She can often be found running, writing, or trying not to fall off her skateboard.