This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years by Jaquelle Crowe. This book, written by a nineteen-year-old, speaks directly to teenagers. Crowe shares exactly what the gospel is, and how it radically and joyfully transforms the lives of teens.
Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary by J.D.Greear. A seminal work on the bottomless riches of the Gospel, with emphasis on what this means for practical, everyday living.
Lost and Found: How Jesus Helped Us Discover Our True Selves ed. Collin Hansen. This highly readable book contains twelve powerful testimonies from men and women who realized they were lost when Jesus found them. Voices as varied as Joni Eareckson Tada, Christopher Yuan, Aixa de Lopez, and Vaneetha Rendall Risner will encourage teenagers to trust in Jesus and embrace His plan for their lives. A good option for the kid who isn’t much of a reader but likes a good story.
Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen by Katherine Forster. Written by a teen for teens, Forster speaks as one who knows the struggles young people face in reading the Bible. However, she doesn’t let emerging adults off the hook- she challenges young seekers and believers to do the hard work of habitual Bible study- and encourages them to seek the rewards of loving God’s word. See our review here.
Irresistible Faith: Becoming the Kind of Christian the World Can’t Resist by Scott Sauls. Scott Sauls is uniquely gifted to challenge Christians to move deeper into Christ. Sauls offers a view of how the world will look if Christians really learn to love God and neighbor as the Bible teaches, and his vision will resonate with teens and young adults who care very much about social justice. Speaking directly to the heart of millennials and Gen Z, he demonstrates the winsomeness of Christ and of the Christian who really loves both Savior and neighbor.
The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy by Tim Keller. All of Tim Keller’s books are very readable, even for teens, because he has the Lewisian gift of making the deep things of God accessible. The Prodigal Prophetexamines the small, potent book of Jonah, “one of the worst prophets in the Bible,” drawing out issues of diversity and God’s justice that will give young readers a Biblical view of God’s plan for how we ought to “do justice and love mercy.”
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith. This is not an easy read, but boy, is it a potent one. Parents will enjoy this as much as their teens and reading this together will likely springboard you into great conversations about your family’s daily habits and practices. To use Smith’s word, the “liturgies” of our lives not only indicate what we already love but shape our hearts to either worship God or the world.
The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables and The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together by Jared Wilson. These two books from Jared Wilson are great choices for teenagers. The first explores the often difficult-to-understand teaching of Jesus in the parables, which are far more complex than the moralistic fables we sometimes reduce them to. The second will be an encouragement to any teen who struggles with perfectionism or relationships, because after all, aren’t all disciples “people who can’t get their act together?’
The Holiness of God by RC Sproul. One of the spiritual giants of the last century, R.C. Sproul tells of how, as a young college student, he came to yearn after the holiness of God. This modern classic text will help young people do the same.
Identity Theft by Melissa Kruger. “Who am I? It’s a question we all ask ourselves at some point. Depending on the season we focus our identity on our job performance, marital status, personality type, or social network, among other options. However, there’s a larger question to consider. Who does the Bible tell me I am in Christ?”
Get Your Story Straight by Kristen Hatton. A 52-week devotional book and small group resource, Get Your Story Straight is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story–the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live.