Published on August 13, 2019 by Benjamin J. Montoya

New Growth Press, 2019 | 112 pages

Radically Different by best-selling author Champ Thornton is an insightful guide for middle and high school students who want to live radically even though life and relationships are complicated. By examining life through the biblical lenses of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, readers can explore how God’s Word untangles the twists of life.

There are so many areas of life to navigate when growing up, and this practical resource full of biblical wisdom helps middle and high school students find encouragement in the everyday challenges of life.

God made everything, including relationships, to be good. But because of the fall, everything—including relationships with parents, friends, and siblings—are also broken. Christ came to make all things new, and because of this biblical perspective, readers of Radically Different can know with clarity they are set apart as unique.

Thornton invites teenagers to consider how they are set apart—especially in a time when Christianity is more and more culturally marginalized. He guides them to embrace what it means to live Christianly in a morally murky and increasingly hostile world.

Radically Different helps teenagers live in and relate to the reality of good, bad, and new, which makes us radically human, radically biblical, and radically different.


About the Author:

Champ Thornton is associate pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Delaware. He has pastored in South Carolina and served as director of SOMA, a ministry training school in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of several books, including The Radical Book for Kids and Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation. Champ and his wife, Robben, have been married since 1996 and have three children.



Radically Different is an excellent new resource for parents, students, and ministry leaders. Each one of us wants to know our place in the world. This curriculum will help equip the next generation to live in the world by teaching them to see their relationships, both with God and others, through the lens of the gospel.

Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention


The middle school years can be difficult for kids. It can also be a struggle for many parents to find age appropriate Christian resources to help young tweens and teens process faith, friendships, and family. Champ Thornton’s new book, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community, is a wonderful way to help teens learn about God and the story of Scripture, as well as how the Bible relates to their daily lives. This book is the exact resource I’ve been hoping to find!

Melissa Kruger, TGC Director of Women’s Content and the author of 5 Things to Pray for Your Kids


It’s not easy for Christian young people today who want to live in a way that’s pleasing to God. However, Champ Thornton has provided an invaluable resource to help middle school students be distinctive. Radically Different is a practical hands-on study offering solid insights and biblical guidance for relating to others.

Jim Daly, President – Focus on the Family


I look back at my middle school years as the years when I made some of the most important decisions of my life in terms of whether or not Christ was going to be at the center of my life. It required that I become radically different from my peers. Radically Different is a great resource for thinking through what it will mean to have Christ at the center rather than the fringes of your life now and for the rest of your life!

Nancy Guthrie, author of Dinner Table Devotions & Discussion-Starters


I loved this book because it speaks to the heart of youth. The lessons are practical and gripping. At the same time, the book is faithful biblically and theologically. Thornton explains how a passion for God and for his Word can transform the lives of youth. Highly recommended!

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and author of The King in His Beauty: A Theology of the Old and New Testaments.


Champ Thornton’s Bible Study, Radically Different, for middle schoolers is excellent. He uses the grid of “creation, fall, and redemption” (“good, bad, and new”) throughout the study and everything discussed in the Bible Study is seen through that lens, especially with respect to how one relates to God and to people. The study has good practical suggestions throughout and these suggestions are always tied closely to the passage of Scripture being focused on for the week. For those who think a strong weekly dose of Scripture might be too much or too impractical for middle schoolers, this Bible Study will help them think differently. This is a fine balance between scriptural exposition and application of it to the lives of young people. I heartily endorse this Bible Study and will recommend it those ministering to middle schoolers.

G. K. Beale, J. Gresham Machen and Research Professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA


A few years ago, many of your children probably read Champ Thornton’s The Radical Book for Kids (if they haven’t yet, they should). Now, those children are young teenagers—and Champ has provided another resource that’s perfect for that age group. Radically Different challenges students to move beyond mere knowledge into deep community that’s grounded in the metanarrative of Scripture. I highly recommend this work!”

Timothy Paul Jones, Ph.D., C. Edwin Gheens Professor of Christian Family Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


Teenage Christian disciples need what we all need—the regular, clear teaching of God’s Word, along with a warm, personal application of its truth to our lives. This punchy, well-written set of studies is an excellent framework for doing just that. It very cleverly manages to keep the big picture of the Bible’s story always in mind (creation–sin–redemption) while working through key topics and passages, and relating them insightfully to the realities of life as a Christian teen.

Tony Payne, author of Fatherhood: What it is and what’s it for; and The Trellis and the Vine.


I love the fun and engaging format of Radically Different. The side comment explanations and the winsome illustrations are certain to draw the interest of students and invite them in to read. Once they start, the solid biblical truth, aptly spoken, is sure to hold their attention cover to cover. A great youth ministry resource!

Marty Machowski – family pastor and author of The OlogyLong Story ShortDon’t Blame the Mud and other gospel rich resources for church and home


“What a wonderful and needed book Champ Thornton has given to God’s people!  It’s for teenagers—middle schoolers—and this old guy found himself wishing he had had something like this when he was a teenager. It would have made a significant difference. This is a great, practical, and user-friendly book.  Give it to every middle schooler you know and to those who love middle schoolers. They will be so glad you did.”

Steve Brown, broadcaster with Key Life Network, seminary professor, and author


Radically Different is just like its title suggests—a unique and distinctively valuable book from Champ Thornton that every teen and youth ministry will benefit from. Like a master builder, Champ lays a strong biblical foundation for adolescents in relevant topics such as theology, Scripture, prayer, relationships, and more. Radically Different is witty, practical, and power-packed with gospel truth. I highly recommend!

Joshua Cooley, Children’s Minister and New York Times bestselling author of The Biggest WinHeroes of the Bible Devotional and The One Year Devotions with Jesus


In our day and age of instant and double speed everything, I encourage you to work through this study day by day, and week by week with a group. While God is the one who will ultimately change and grow you, in my experience, he often uses tools like this study to do so.

Daniel Im, pastor, podcaster, and author of several books, most recently You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love.


Champ is an incredible Bible teacher. In Radically Different, he’s given the church an excellent tool for teaching young men and women about how biblical community is rooted in our relational God and shaped by the redemptive story. This looks to be an excellent resource for student ministry discipleship groups.

Jared Kennedy, Pastor of Operations and Families at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, KY. Author of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible


If you’re looking for a practical tool for teaching pre-teens to think biblically, look no further than Champ Thornton’s “Radically Different.” Deeply rooted in Scripture, this resource is brimming with age-appropriate questions, illustrations and applications! I’m so convinced of its transformative value that I plan to use it in discipling my own children.

Drew Hill, Pastor and Author of “Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel


In Radically Different, A Student’s Guide to Community, pastor and award-winning author Champ Thornton enables parents and teachers to guide middle school students on an amazing journey of deep discovery. Each lesson presents rich theology, engaging discussion questions, and a spectrum of creative activities that seek to reach the heart, and to develop community engagement and a love for Jesus.

Deborah Harrell, Overseas Educational Advisor, Serge; author of What’s Up? Elementary and coauthor of What’s Up? Discovering The Gospel, Jesus and Who you REALLY are, and the Gospel Centered Parent.


As parents we have the enormous opportunity to help shape our children’s worldview. But without a gospel foundation to build upon in our ever-shifting culture, it’s an uphill battle. That is why Radically Different is the book I wish my children had in middle school. In an engaging, easy-to-understand way, Champ Thornton gives young teenagers, through the lenses of good, bad and new, a radically different way for viewing themselves, and relationships with God and others.

Kristen Hatton, Author of The Gospel-Centered Life for Students in ExodusFace Time: Your Identity in a Selfie World and Get Your Story Straight 


Research consistently suggests that Christian children need a constellation of godly mentors for authentic, lasting faith development. I urge you to invite Champ Thornton to be one of your kid’s mentors by giving them Radically Different. With a pastor’s heart and a father’s love, Champ nails it again, giving us a great resource for a new generation of kids as they develop their faith.

Dr. Roger C. S. Erdvig, Headmaster, Wilmington Christian School; Co-Author, Bring it to Life: Christian Education and the Transformative Power of Service-Learning (ACSI, 2018)


Champ Thornton has crafted a terrific new resource to help students make sense of relationships. Utilizing the “good, bad, and new” biblical worldview lenses, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community gives readers simple yet profound hooks on which to hang all of the complicated relational aspects of their young lives. By investing just a little time in this creative Bible study, teens will gain great clarity in how to relate to their parents, friends, family, church, and God.

Matthew C. Mitchell, father of four, pastor of Lanse Evangelical Free Church, and author of Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue


This workbook for young people is a serious attempt to build into them the three biblical themes of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. He not only introduces these concepts, but week after week he reinforces their truth in practical aspects of living in a fallen world. We need to be helping our young people learn how to think and relate as Christians in an increasingly hostile world. Radically Different is a great place to start.

Stephen Smallman, author of The Walk, and Understanding the Faith—A Workbook for Communicant Classes

Buy the books


New Growth Press, 2019 | 112 pages

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