"I grew up in church and knew all the 'good Christian kid' answers. My faith worked for me until I entered high school and was faced with a wave of criticism, rejection, isolation, and insecurity. My 'good Christian kid' answers no longer seemed very relevant and I decided that the Christian life wasn't really all I had thought it to be when I was younger. I walked away from the church and my parents' faith and focused on fulfilling my own selfish desires. That worked for a little while, but I soon found myself more broken and empty than ever before.
When I went through that crisis of faith I finally broke down and just admitted to God that I needed Him. It has definitely been a process, but Josh and I have come to realize authentic faith requires an intimate and personal relationship with Christ. You can grow up in church but if you don't have a firsthand relationship with Christ your faith will eventually break down." - Ryan Shook
Twenty-three-year-old Ryan Shook grew up in church knowing all the "good Christian kid" answers. The son of New York Times best-selling authors Kerry and Chris Shook, founders of Woodlands Church, a megachurch near Houston, says his faith "worked" for him until he entered high school. At that point, he said he was faced with criticism, rejection, isolation, and insecurity.
Earlier this week, Shook and his brother Josh (22) released their book, Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own. The book about breaking free from "secondhand religion" is receiving high marks from well-known Christian leaders.
"Josh and Ryan Shook, the sons of well-known pastor and author Kerry Shook, have fully embraced the fact that although their dad gave them a great start, they need to run their own race," writes Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C.
I interviewed the Shook brothers this week via email. Read their interviews here: