Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel

Drew Hill
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ECPA's 2019 Christian Book Award winner for Ministry Resources

Alongside is a much-needed resource for both parents and those in youth ministry. In this transformative book, Drew Hill unpacks the challenges teenagers face and how youth leaders and parents can share the gospel with them at this crucial age. Full of practical insight and biblical knowledge, Alongside is an invitation to love teenagers well with the hope of the gospel.

Our teenage friends are full of questions and longings. They're trying to figure out who they are, where they belong, and if they matter during this pivotal time of development—all while facing new realities of loneliness and isolation, despite their social media followers.

Teenagers want to be chased, and Alongside brings scripture to life and helps parents and those in youth ministry practically connect the life of Jesus to the lives of their adolescent children and friends.

Through Scripture and captivating personal stories from years of experience working in youth ministry, Hill pulls back the curtain and invites readers to step into the unfiltered world of teenagers.

How do we start meaningful conversations with our teenage friends? How do we build trust across the dining room table? What would it look like to prayerfully cultivate a group of leaders or parents with a shared goal of seeing Christ transform the lives of teenagers in our communities? What does Jesus have to say about caring for our middle or high school friends and how can he use us in his plan to rescue them?

Alongside offers practical application and biblical truths to highlight the complexities of relational youth ministry, address the needs real teenagers encounter in their daily lives and engage their hearts rather than just their behavior. Hill explores what it looks like to not only share the love of Jesus with our teenage friends but to share our very lives with them as well.


Drew Hill, MDiv,is an award-winning author and speaker. His book Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel won the 2019 ECPA Christian Book Award. He is also the author of The Alongside Devotional and the minibook, When to Get My Kid a Phone. Drew serves as the head of school for The Covenant School in Greensboro, North Carolina and also works in a mission-wide leadership role with Young Life. Drew has been in pastoral ministry for more than two decades and regularly speaks around the country to thousands of parents, youth workers, and teenagers. Drew is married to Natalie and they have five children.

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"In Alongside, Drew Hill helps adults understand teenagers and helps teenagers understand themselves. But more importantly, Drew helps all of us see the only remedy for our problems is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. But teens, he tells us, require more than gospel information, they need a loving gospel relationship. They need someone to walk alongside of them. Parents and youth workers would be wise to read this book and mine the treasure held in its pages. A good book will make you cry and laugh, inspire you to action and compel you to pass it on. This is a good book."
Marty Machowski, pastor and author of Parenting First Aid, The Ology, Long Story Short, and other gospel-rich resources for church and home

"I highly recommend Alongside to all parents, teachers, youth ministers and anyone who has a concern for the well-being of adolescents. Drew Hill has invested his life in helping teenagers respond to the unconditional love of God, and this excellent book offers practical help that will lead to their lives being forever changed."
Gary Chapman, Author of The Five Love Languages

"With raw, real life examples from decades of working with teenagers, combined with biblical and practical guidance, Alongside provides pathways to help all of us journey together with the rising generation toward genuine experiences of the gospel."
David Robbins, President & CEO, FamilyLife

"Alongside is a beautiful and practical companion for anyone who wants to learn how to better love the teenagers in his or her life. I found myself in tears as I read incredible real-life stories of the gospel breaking through the distractions, darkness, loneliness, and pain that often accompany adolescence. It tells the beautiful story of the gospel, and also offers tools that will help you communicate that story well as you walk alongside the teenagers in your life."
Ellie Holcomb, Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter

"Drew Hill engagingly demonstrates that the incarnation is not just a central Christian doctrine. It's a model for how we share Jesus with teenagers. Alongside takes us on an authentic journey into the exciting yet perilous world of adolescence, making the case that sharing the gospel is not merely by words. 'It's opening up our very lives,' entering into their lives, as Jesus did. This is must reading for parents and youth workers!"
Dennis P. Hollinger, President, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Drew Hill was my camp counselor twenty years ago. He has photos (read: blackmail) to prove it. Ever since I've known him, Drew's passion and gift has been bringing gospel grace to young adults. In Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel, Drew has distilled decades of youth-ministry experience into a resource that is funny, engaging, and profound. Whether you're a parent, pastor, youth leader, or teenager, I commend this book to you."
Matt Smethurst, Managing Editor, The Gospel Coalition

"As a former youth pastor, Young Life leader, and someone who has parented two teenagers, I've found great encouragement in Alongside. In a time when the youngest among us are receiving so many confusing signals from their leaders, Drew has helped us see that ministry to teenagers is both walking alongside and in front of them. Alongside is a fresh reminder of the tremendous opportunity parents and leaders have been given. It's an invitation to simply walk across the room, the street, and even the school parking lot and make a positive difference in someone's life. I'm looking forward to seeing the far-reaching impact this timely resource will have in the lives of teenagers and those who minister to them. This book is a gift. I commend it to parents, pastors, lay leaders, and most especially, our fearless heroes: those walking alongside teenagers in youth ministry."
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Archbishop and Primate, The Anglican Church in North America

"Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel is a modern day primer for parents and youth workers. A must read for those who are serious about meeting teenagers where they are. Drew Hill's format of questions and a prayer is very compelling and helpful. Most of all, you can tell that Drew Hill is not just an author; he is someone who has given his life to this high calling of reaching teens for the gospel."
Gail Ebersole, Vice President, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Eastern US

"Alongside is a great read for any parent or student leader who wants to effectively engage students with the gospel. With years of firsthand experience working with middle school and high school students, Drew shares keen insights into the next generation while offering practical suggestions for leading students to find their identity in Christ. Really powerful."
J. D. Greear, Pastor, The Summit Church, Durham, NC

"I think for many of us, we can quickly forget what it felt like to be a teenager. I certainly had those moments as a Young Life leader while also trying to manage the intense world of professional sports. We forget the pressure to fit in, pressure to perform, and unrelenting messaging of how we just aren't quite enough. In Alongside, my friend Drew lays out a beautiful display of what it means to pursue young people, right where they are. This book will equip anyone to impact the next generation with the heart of God."
Clint Gresham, Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champion; international speaker; best-selling author of Becoming

"Alongside takes you on an amazing journey through the struggles and trials of being a teenager . . . and the joy that comes with walking alongside them and sharing the gospel. Having experienced this firsthand as a lost teenager, then as a Young Life leader, and now a parent of three teenage boys, I promise you will want to take plenty of notes as you walk through Drew's compilation of stories, triumphs, struggles, and truths. A great read!"
Dave Alpern, President, Joe Gibbs Racing

"Drew's book to help simplify communication with teenagers will change lives! He uses his years of experience and knowledge of God's Word to encourage parents and mentors to stop stressing about the small things. Alongside helps transform the principles of the Gospel into very practical ways to inspire the tender hearts of young people."
Joe White, President, Kanakuk Kamps

"Alongside is an essential read for anyone who loves teenagers and seeks to reach their hearts with the gospel. While full of practical advice, I was struck by how Drew Hill consistently points to God's power as our only hope. This book is for ordinary people who serve an extraordinary Savior who walks alongside us."
Matthew Smith, Singer-songwriter, Indelible Grace

"Only the gospel gives lasting hope, meaning, purpose, and life. And it is parents and youth workers who are primarily called and strategically placed to speak the gospel into teenagers' lives. Drew Hill offers practical wisdom to help us do this."
Walt Mueller, President, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

"Drew's insight has been validated by decades of working with and caring for young people. But this is not just a book about relating to youth culture. It is a road map for living life well, at any age and in any community. Read it. Do what it says. The rewards are generous."
Allen Levi, Singer-songwriter; author of The Last Sweet Mile

"Drew takes you into the world of young people, pulls you into your own life, and sets you down in Scripture. Alongside is a great resource to have on your bookshelf through the seasons of life and ministry. As a veteran youth worker and father of two, this book has refreshed my perspectives and recharged my passion to love young people well."
Cesar Castillejos, Pastor; father; youth ministry veteran

"In twenty-plus years of ministry, I have never met anyone more gifted at relating to and leading students to Jesus then Drew Hill. This book, Alongside, was written in the trenches, years and years of relating to students and parents. I couldn't think of anyone on the planet more equipped to write this book. It is authentic, relevant, and helpful. A must-read for anyone leading teenagers!"
Bryson Vogeltanz, Location Pastor, Passion City Church, Atlanta, GA

"Drew Hill not only captures your heart with the power of the gospel, but this book is also full of captivating stories and illustrations. Alongside is an excellent resource for the church."
Matthew Z. Capps, Senior Pastor, Fairview Baptist Church, Apex NC

"There's a special place in my heart for books that help parents and youth workers share with teenagers, not only God's good news but their own lives too. A must-read book, Alongside is refreshingly honest and filled with life-changing, relationship-enriching insights and inspiration."
Fil Anderson, Author of Running on Empty

"Drew Hill's passion for Jesus and teenagers is contagious! Alongside is an excellent read. Short, fun-to-read chapters, packed full of relevant stories and practical ministry ideas. Powerful and helpful guiding questions at the end of each chapter to help both parents and youth leaders process and apply the information. And I love that each chapter is drawn together with a pertinent Scripture passage and prayer intended to be used by the reader. These prayers alone are worth the price of the book. Warning: Don't read this book unless you want to be impacted in your personal and your ministry life. You won't be the same, your family won't be the same, and because of your increased effectiveness as a Kingdom minister, the teenagers with whom you share the journey won't be the same!"
Bradley J. Widstrom, Associate Professor, Chair Youth and Family Studies, Denver Seminary, Littleton, CO

"As you read the pages of this book, you'll see clearly that Drew Hill loves teenagers and loves Jesus. He also knows teenagers and knows Jesus. Drew starts with Scripture, shares stories about teenagers he's known, and offers practical tools for living out 1 Thessalonians 2:8 with the teenagers in your life."
Julie Clapp, Mission Director of WyldLife, Young Life

"If ministry is to be anything, it is to be incarnational. In Alongside, Drew does a masterful job of using both Scripture and story to show the ministry of Jesus and how it can be lived out among those who love and pursue teenagers. A must-read for anyone involved in youth ministry."
Jim Branch, Youth ministry veteran; author of The Blue Book

"The next generation desperately needs adults who understand them and are unafraid to take leadership in their lives. With his art of telling stories that are captivating and practical, Drew invites parents and youth workers to be a forgiving, redeeming, gospel-centric presence in teenagers' lives and to drink deeply from the power of prayer. Youth ministry isn't easy, yet Alongside helps you feel you are not alone."
Jodi Chung, Youth Pastor, West Houston Chinese Church, Houston, TX

"I can't wait to share this gem of a book with family, friends, and fellow youth workers. Alongside is chock-full of practical nuggets and helpful resources from a wise veteran. This is a must-read for youth workers, parents, and anyone else who cares for teenagers but sometimes struggles with knowing how. Drew Hill has given us a substantive, yet extremely practical handbook, for loving the teenagers in our lives and authentically sharing God's love with them."
Rich Van Pelt, Compassion International, Senior Director for Ministry Relationships; author of The Youth Workers Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis and The Parent's Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis

"Drew Hill is one of the most qualified people to write this diamond of a book. Part artist, part doctor, part philosopher, and part storyteller, he tells the old, old love story in a captivating way. Alongside is filled with much-needed practical advice for anyone who works with young people. It will be a tremendous resource for parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, and more. Drew majors in the Who we are all looking for. His genuine heart for young people comes shining through. This raw, real, and relevant work will help all who read it find their way and invest in the next generation."
Pete Hardesty, Young Life College Divisional Coordinator; author of Adulting 101

"Drew winsomely communicates the realities of loving and pursuing kids in the hope that they see and experience Jesus. Whether you're a parent, a church youth minister or volunteer, a teacher, or in any way involved with teenagers, you'll be challenged, inspired, and encouraged. Plus, there are great practical 'tools of engagement' you'll find helpful."
Ty Saltzgiver, Author of My First 30 Quiet Times

"When I was a teenager, Drew Hill entered my life and showed me the love and reality of Jesus. His friendship sparked a faith journey that has continued through college, marriage, and now as a leader in ministry. Alongside captures the essence of what Drew's life has taught me: God designed his message to live in people. The Word becoming flesh was not an isolated event, but a precedent for all of us."
Zak Ellison, Young Life Area Director, Merced, CA

"I truly believe this book should be in every household. As a person who works with high schoolers, and many who don't have dads, I often find myself in a father figure role. In addition to teaching them how to become men, I also have the privilege to lead them to Christ. This book helps me do just that. It will be practically helpful for parents, teachers, coaches and all those in youth ministry."
Odysseus Wallace, Young Life Area Director, Chattanooga, TN

"As someone in family ministry, Alongside is the best of both worlds, a helpful tool that will both build up our volunteers and also serve as an encouragement for parents. I'm excited to take our youth leaders through Drew's book because it captures both a prayerful and practical approach to pursuing middle and high schoolers. Also, it's a fantastic resource to put in parents' hands as they are navigating this complicated phase in their kids' lives."
Paul Mannino, Family Pastor, Grace Church, Kutztown, PA

"As an educator of seventeen years, I believe this book is a must-read for those who want to impact the lives of teenagers at a much deeper level. It's allowed me to see my students in a more compassionate and loving way! Drew Hill's understanding of how to walk alongside teenagers showing them the gospel is what every person who interacts with teenagers needs to learn. Alongside not only gives practical applications to better understand teenagers but tells it through the story of teenagers who were desperate for someone to meet them where they were."
Joey Menendez, High School Principal, San Jose, Costa Rica

"Lists of how-tos and bullet points describing successful parenting/youth ministry are plentiful and gather dust quickly. Drew Hill does something else. Alongside helps us mouth words of prayer for young people and invites us into their world through vivid snapshots of unfiltered, real-life stories. Reading Alongside is an experience, not a lecture."
Sean McGever, Professor of Theology at Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ; author of

"This book is just so good. It is practical and moving and insightful and spiritually deep. I love how the book is a journey through many lives. The stories are poignant. I laughed and I cried while reading this book several times! I love the questions the author asks at the end of each chapter. They really make you think. And they are truly springboards for action. Readers will walk away from this book refreshed, reminded, and armed with practical ways to reach kids. It's a loving 'how-to' that I want every one of our Young Life leaders to read and apply. I want to send it to all my friends with kids. It is simply an excellent resource and an enjoyable read."
Courtney Lancaster, Associate Regional Director, Young Life, Southwest Florida

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23 Reviews

  • 4
    Reading this book as a grandparent

    Posted by Kathleen Packer on 01 08 2023

    I am liking this book and it is helping prepare me to speak into my grandchildren's lives about the gospel and salvation.

  • 5
    It is a book I wish I had as a teenager to help me navigate the waters as a new follower of Christ.

    Posted by Elizabeth Brooks on 10 16 2022

    Are you looking for a devotional to help your teenagers grow in their relationship with Jesus? "Alongside Jesus" is a beautiful devotional you can read, discuss and experience with your teenager. It is a book I wish I had as a teenager to help me navigate the waters as a new follower of Christ. I think this devotional will help them figure out what it means to follow Jesus by drawing them in with weekly conversation prompts and includes an "Alongside Practice" that gives action steps to developing a lifelong walk with Jesus. This devotional book is terrific at showing how Jesus is alive and wants to walk through life with us. I loved how the book prepares teenagers' hearts to meet with Jesus and hear from Him. It's the perfect practical resource for teenagers to show them how to start their walk with Jesus and to get to know their creator better and who He created them to be.

  • 5
    Absolutely wonderful read!!!!

    Posted by Tara Woods on 09 12 2021

    I couldn’t put this book down!! I recommend for all people who want to reach others with the gospel! First rate!

  • 5
    I wish my parents read this book when I was a teen

    Posted by Heidi Reichert on 08 21 2021

    I am excited to share this book with my peers (parents of teens) at my church. I am so grateful for this book that I want to share it with everyone I know who has a teenager. So I'm hosting a small group for the youth group parents at my church. While the youth are at Bible study, the parents can come to my house and read the book together. I will do this every year that there is interest!

  • 5
    This is one of the most practical books on youth ministry on the market today

    Posted by The Geeky Calvinist Blog on 06 10 2019

    In Drew Hill’s new book, Alongside, produced by New Growth Press, he demonstrates how to minister to teenagers in a way which is intuitive, as well as providing tangible results. As a minister to youth myself, this ministry is also known as incarnational ministry, and it is integral in ministering to youth. Alongside, provides four stages of ministering to youth and how to go about putting this form of ministry into action. Each of the twenty-nine chapters provides different steps/actions to implement. While that seems like a great deal to read through, this work is just over 170 pages, keeping the chapters short and to the point while keeping the reader engaged. Furthermore each chapter ends with with two series of questions, one section is aimed at parents and the other is at youth ministers, each of these groups of questions are to help the reader implement the principles discussed. This is one of the most practical books on youth ministry on the market today and one the ones while you will keep coming back to again and again. Also on a side note, this book has one of the coolest cover designs, which bleed on the the pages I have ever seen.

  • 5
    PEOPLE. This book is the bomb!

    Posted by Kara Lynn on 06 10 2019

    PEOPLE. This book is the bomb! I've felt for years that my calling is with the Middle School/High School teens, the outcasts and misfits and those who are just playing the background in a loud, upbeat world. I've worked with teenagers one on one as a teenager myself and now at 20, I still feel that same passion and love when I'm working with them. But sometimes I feel so out of the loop with them. I don't always feel qualified. They talk about their phones like they're their best friends. There's drama with guys and not getting enough loves on musicly. Sometimes I don't understand their lingo. Sometimes I just struggle to feel I'm actually making a difference. Drew Hill made my week though -- this book was like water. He speaks with frank, refreshing honesty through real life stories. He lets people like me know that you are okay, that God doesn't call the qualified. He encourages us to be a friend to the friendless, to see God working in the little things, and shows us from real life examples how God has worked in his life and the life of his teen friends. I easily put this book down as a for a reread -- highly recommend to anyone. Anyone can read this and be impacted, no matter your age or walk of life.

  • 3
    Practical, Though Not Perfect, Guide for Ministering to Teens

    Posted by Theron St. John on 09 21 2018

    The teen years can be an exciting time of growth and new experiences. Yet, the teen years can also be filled with intimidation and loneliness. What is crucial during these teen years is for these young people to have older people, parents and youth leaders, come alongside them to mentor them. This is especially important with discipling youth in the church. Even with this need known, many youth leaders and parents feel ill-equipped to come alongside teenagers in a discipling relationship. In Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel, seasoned youth ministry leader Drew Hill seeks to change that. Over the course of four parts consisting of twenty-nine chapters, Pastor Hill writes to those who care about youth, helping them to better understand teenagers (part 1) while giving them biblical truths to know and practice (parts 2 and 3) for a sustaining and enduring ministry to teenagers (part 4). Chapters average about 6 pages in length and are structured to include sections pertaining to parents and those in ministry. The chapters close out with a Bible verse and pray on that particular theme or topic. In the appendix of the book, practical tools are listed for working with teenagers. More Practical than Doctrinal For youth leader, parent, or person that cares for reaching youth, one element they will quickly take notice of in this book is its practicality. Through the author’s use of personal stories and ministry experience, the reader will hear the real and raw truth of youth ministry while receiving practical ideas to use as they minister to and disciple teenagers. The bite-sized chapters of 6 pages make for an easy read. Yet, the book seems to take on a more practical than doctrinal approach. This does not mean one can separate the practical from the doctrinal, which is a false dichotomy. Rather, to say this book takes on a more practical approach is to say the book is more practically driven than doctrinally driven. Sections in the book are devoted to looking at Scripture and considering how we can follow the method of Scripture, but there are a few important factors that are not emphasized enough. Wonderful Concepts, Wanting Content It is because of these neglected important matters the biblical youth leader will be left wanting in the book’s content. There is much to appreciate in the book as Pastor Hill addresses topics such as the impact of Christ’s incarnation for the model of ministry, the influence of a teen’s relationship with their parents, and the importance of speaking on issues of hospitality, anxiety, and insecurity. The problem is not that these subjects were discussed, as they need to be for those investing in youth. The trouble is these topics, especially insecurity, were emphasized to the neglect of mentioning sin. To be fair, the author does mention sin as the number one problem for teenagers (Hill 19). Yet, more room throughout the book appears to be given to the issue of insecurity. One other area where content was found wanting was the numerous times the author uses The Message translation to quote Scripture. This was surprising due to the fact it is a loose translation at best of Scripture (better seen as a commentary on Scripture). While some of the content is found wanting in this resource, it does have its bright moments. In speaking on the gospel, Drew Hill says “moralism leads to exhaustion” (Hill 30) while the gospel leads to grace. The strongest section of the book is found in chapters 6–9 as the Trinity is laid out faithfully and the gospel is shared through a biblical framework. These chapter portions highlight the potential of seeing the wonderful concepts that provide the overarching structure this book. The parts are structured well, the chapter themes are chosen well, and the author’s stories and illustrates are told well but the content could benefit from further biblical depth. Criticism of content aside, Alongside still provides youth leaders and parents with practical help in entering in and coming alongside a teenager with the gospel. Alongside can serve as a practical starting point for the youth leader, parent, or adult who wants to begin interacting and investing in teenagers with the gospel. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5
    Alongside book is phenomenal

    Posted by Jennifer Marmolejos on 09 13 2018

    Great tool for wisdom in ministering to youth as a parent or in ministry. You are drawn in from the beginning! Great read for a team/parents to do together as well with the questions that are at the end of each chapter. Discussions are crucial and after reading each chapter, you’ll want to discuss it with others because it’s just that insightful and good!

  • 5
    Great for both parents and anyone who cares deeply about teenagers!

    Posted by Christian on 08 31 2018

    Several chapters in and already gleaning some truth about how to better care for the teenagers around me. As a Young Life leader I work with middle and high school students every day and am always hoping to learn more about how to better love and understand them and how to encourage parents to do the same. Drew Hill hits the nail on the head here!

  • 5

    Posted by Vicky on 08 27 2018

    If you minister to teenagers, love a teenager, want to help a teenager, then this book is a great resource for you. You’ll learn to meet them where they are and help them as they grow. Each chapter has a different scripture based life lesson, which will allow you speak into your teen’s life in a way they understand. True stories will bring these lessons to life and bring encouragement to the reader. Scripture and prayers will point the adolescent to Jesus every time, showing how much He loves us. Jesus came “alongside” people. He loved them where they were. And loved them too much to leave them there. I highly recommend this book as you come “Alongside” your teen!

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