Building Radically Different Relationships


Building Radically Different Relationships
Champ Thornton helps middle schoolers use God’s Word
to untangle the twists and turns of life

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. 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 an 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 it strives 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 the real problem is culture. They’ll say culture lies upstream of politics. Consequently, the need is to change or 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,” says Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. “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.”

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 Kids, Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, and his latest, Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community. Why Do We Say Good Night?, a children’s picture book will be releasing in October 2019.

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 kids’ Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Radically Different: A Student’s Guide to Community and other resources from New Growth Press, visit