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In New Growth Press release, author helps middle schoolers use God’s word

Building Radically Different Relationships

Champ Thornton helps middle schoolers use God’s word to untangle the twists and turns of life 

Greensboro, NC – As adults it’s hard to figure out how to live as Christians in a morally murky and increasingly hostile world, so how do we teach the next generation to develop relationships in the world in which we live? There are so many areas of life to navigate when growing up, but in his new book, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community (New Growth Press/August 5, 2019), best-selling author Champ Thornton provides an insightful guide for middle schoolers and young teens who want to live radically even though life and relationships are complicated.

Radically Different equips middle schoolers to untangle the twists of life by presenting them with in-depth study of good, bad, and new—creation, fall, and redemption. By understanding these three concepts, students can discover their unique identity in Christ. Living through the lenses of good, bad, and new makes them radically human, radically biblical, and radically different.

“To get an accurate picture of life in this world, we must simultaneously view all of life through three lenses. The first lens provides the view that originally God made everything very good (Genesis 1). The next lens reveals this good world is now also bad, broken and tainted by sin (Genesis 3). The third clarifies Jesus came to make new everything that was broken by sin (Romans 8). Creation, Fall, Redemption—good, bad, new. If you leave out any of these lenses, you will neglect some aspect of reality God intends for us and our children to embrace,” Thornton writes.

Radically Different consists of thirteen lessons and is available in both a student’s and teacher’s guide. The teacher’s guide provides the outline and activities for the weekly group discussion of the material. The student’s guide (to be completed before the group discussion) provides three devotionals per week that can be completed in ten minutes each.

Radically Different doesn’t aim to be exhaustive or provide a topical dictionary of issues, but to help middle school students begin to think biblically about life and relationships. Each lesson explores how to navigate a different relationship such as parents, friends, siblings, difficult/annoying people, and individuals within the church.

“People often decry modern politics and say that the real problem is culture. They’ll say that culture lies upstream of politics. Consequently, the need is to change/transform the culture. But my contention is that what lies upstream of both politics and culture is the next generation,” shares Thornton. “This study aims to pass along a biblical worldview regarding relationships and community, in order to help the next generation see the world through Bible lenses, and change the world, one person at a time.”

“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,” praises Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family.

Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community
(Student/Teacher Guide)

by Champ Thornton
August 5, 2019 / Retail Price: $13.99
Print ISBN (Student Guide) 978-1-948130-17-2
Print ISBN (Teacher Guide) 978-1-64507-032-0
Religion / Christian Education / Children & Youth

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.  Before arriving in Newark, Thornton lived most of his life in the Carolinas. After seminary, he pastored at Grace Bible Church near Spartanburg, South Carolina.  He is host of “In the Word, On the Go,” a ten-minute podcast for families and is the author of several books, including The Radical Book for KidsWhy Do We Say Good Night?, Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, and his latest, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community.  Thornton enjoys hanging out with his family and friends, drinking coffee, listening to music, doing genealogical research, and reading theology, biographies, and fiction. Thornton and his wife, Robben, have three children.  Visit to learn more. He can also be found on Twitter (@champthornton) and Instagram (@thorntonchamp).

New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and children’s Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about other releases from New Growth Press, visit

For review copy and interview information, contact:  Audra Jennings – – 903-874-8363

Suggested interview questions

  • How do we teach our kids to live Christianly in this morally murky and increasingly hostile world?
  • Who was Radically Different written for, and how is it intended to be used? Can you share more about the format?
  • What does it mean to be radically different?
  • Don’t middle schoolers want to be a part of the group? How do you convince them they want to be different?
  • Walk us through the three lenses that we need to view the world through.
  • What are the three questions you encourage readers to ask when they’re trying to figure out a situation in life?
  • What are some of the relationships you talk about in the book?
  • It’s easy to understand earthly relationships, but it can be difficult to grasp how we build a relationship with God. Is that why the first seven lessons focus on relating to God?
  • What is the difference between a difficult and a broken relationship? Do we have to work on those relationships or can we try to eliminate those from our lives?
  • Why was it important to have a chapter on relationships within the church?
  • What is the most important lesson about relationships you hope students learn?
  • This study comes with a companion Teacher Guide, do you have to use one to use the other?