Episode 104: Interview with Sara Barratt and Calling this Generation to Glorify Christ

In this episode we chat with Sara Barratt who has written two great books for teens and young adults calling them to glorify God with their lives.

Our Guest: Sara Barratt

Sara Barratt is an author, speaker, avid reader, chocolate lover, and editor-in-chief for TheRebelution.com, a growing online platform that reaches more than half a million Christian teens, parents, and youth workers each year. She is a frequent speaker on topics including using your teen years for Christ, engaging culture with a biblical worldview, and godly dating and relationships. She wrote her first book Love Riot: A Teenage Call to Live with Relentless Abandon for Christ when she was eighteen. Her second book Stand Up, Stand Strong: A Call to Bold Faith in a Confused Culture released April 2022 in partnership with Summit Ministries. She’s the host of the podcast Do Hard Things with the Rebelution and has been a guest on dozens of radio shows and podcasts including The Eric Metaxas Show, Moody Radio, and WMUZ.

Her passion is challenging and encouraging her peers to live sold out and set apart for Jesus. When she’s not writing or dreaming up new book ideas, she loves spending time with family and friends, taking long walks, drinking copious amounts of tea, and scribbling down random thoughts that eventually get lost in her purse. Come hang out with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Books Discussed in this Episode:

Transcript with Links:

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Welcome to “Books That Spark,” a podcast for parents and caregivers, celebrating books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion, leading to teachable moments with our kids. Today, we have a very special podcast, a little different from our usual podcast because we’re not talking about picture books today. Today, I have an interview with a wonderful young woman named Sara Barratt, and she’s written a book called Love Riot, which I have recommended before on our podcast. And she has a brand new book that has just come out called Stand Up, Stand Strong. Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m so excited to get to talk with you.

Sara Barratt:

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to chat with you too.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Well, first of all, let’s just start by talking about your books. I’ve been reading your brand new book that just came out and I know you wrote it for younger people, but my husband and I are loving it. Can you tell us a little bit about your new book?

Sara Barratt:

Yes. Stand Up, Stand Strong. It just released a few weeks ago, which is crazy, because it seemed like the release day would never come cause I was working on it for so long, but yes, so that book really came out of a desire to encourage my peers, to navigate everything in this culture, with clarity and biblical truth. I was just hearing so many of my peers asking really hard questions about life and culture and God; questions that I knew needed solid biblical answers. In 2018, this statistic just really broke my heart. The Barna group released a study that shared that only 4% of Gen Z has a biblical worldview. So in short Gen Z is really the least Christian generation and I’m 22 years old. So that is my generation and those trends and statistics were just so heartbreaking to me because I saw so many of my peers just floundering in those cultural waters and I wanted to provide a resource that would help them to navigate culture with clarity and with biblical truth. That’s how Stand Up, Stand Strong came about.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Well, it’s truly a wonderful book. It’s very clear. I love that. It’s not like a textbook. It reads very much like a friend talking to a friend and I love that about it. I think it’s very accessible for just anyone. It has really changed our ministry. My husband said, he’s going to add to what he does in premarital counseling now because of your book.

Sara Barratt:

Oh, wow. That is so encouraging to me.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Well, he wants to help couples not only prepare for their marriage but prepare for the family they’re going to raise. And to be able to answer those questions and help them answer them for themselves, but then be prepared to raise their future children with a biblical worldview. And so he’s just really convicted that he needs to do that from now on with premarital counseling. So that was all because of your book and us reading it together. So God is really, I believe God’s going to use this book. He’s already used it in our family a lot. And one of my children is gen Z. My others are millennials. We’ve talked a lot about these topics because it’s like throwing your child into the shark-infested waters these days. Absolutely. When they go off to college, it’s just terrifying from the parent standpoint.

Sara Barratt:

Yes. For sure.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Well, in your first book, Love Riot. We read that as a family. I read aloud to my children, even though they’re grown. So we were reading that one together as well. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Love Riot?

Sara Barratt:

Yes. Love Riot was the book I never planned on writing, but the one that God really clearly showed me that needed to be written. Again, that one just came out of–I was seeing so many of my peers struggling in their walk with God. I had experienced many of the same struggles myself, seeing just so much apathy, so much complacency, really a struggle with actually being serious and intentional in their walk with God. I knew exactly what they were experiencing because I had felt those same, same things myself. And I saw it in the church, just so much of so many people veering towards entertainment instead of actually solidly equipping and challenging young people to actually be serious and intentional in their relationship with God as young people. I wanted to, again, just provide something that countered that message, that countered, that message of just apathy and complacency and using the teen years for fun and entertainment and to provide something that would be a challenge and actual encouragement to reject that apathy and to instead seek to live wholeheartedly, sold out for God.

Sara Barratt:

And all of the things that comes from that. How does that change your life? How does that change the way you use your free time, the way you look at media and entertainment, the way that you approach relationships, all of these things that the word of God just changes and transforms how you approach all of these aspects of your life. So I wanted to challenge both myself and my peers to really be intentional and serious in how they approach their relationship with God as young people. Because I believe that young people have so much potential for the kingdom of God, that it doesn’t have to be a season that you waste. It can be a season that you use for God and for his glory.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Oh, I love that so much. That is so true. People who don’t understand that are wasting so much time. I just think it’s amazing when young adults and teenagers catch a vision for what God wants them to do and start serving him and changing the world even as young people. Oh yeah, I have recommended Love Riot a number of times on this podcast. And so I’m so excited that you’re here talking with us and that we can hear your heart for ministry and for this generation. I think it’s amazing. Many of my listeners do homeschooling and I would highly recommend that they use your books in their homeschooling materials. You have questions at the end of each chapter for discussion that are just fantastic. I love also in this newest book, I don’t remember if you had it in Love Riot, but you have resources at the end of each chapter. So if they need to dig deeper, you know, and follow up, I think it’s just a tremendous resource in addition to just good, solid education and teaching.

Sara Barratt:

Well, I’m a homeschooler too. I was homeschooled, my entire school year. So I absolutely love that. I love that you all have so many homeschoolers listening, so I’m just like, homeschoolers are going to rock the world. Right.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

I agree. Well, tell us a little bit, what caused you to start writing at such an early age? That, I think it’s wonderful. what prompted you to just jump in and write these books?

Sara Barratt:

Well, writing was never my plan. It was never what I dreamed about doing when I was younger. I did desire to do youth ministry and to encourage my peers via that. I started a discipleship group for young girls when I was around 14, 15, and that laid a good foundation for me to like dig into the word and be able to prepare a message and share truth with those that were younger than me. And then after one thing led to another, I just started writing articles. I submitted my first article to The Rebelution when I was 16 and it was a long shot in my mind. I didn’t think that they would have any chance of accepting it, but to my shock, they actually did. And after that, I just couldn’t get enough. It was like, the writing bug had bitten me, I guess you could say.

Sara Barratt:

And I just was so excited to share with my peers to actually see them reading and responding to my writing. So I absolutely loved it. My theory here is that I was annoying the editor at The Rebelution so much by submitting articles, like every two or three weeks that eventually she asked me, “Sara, can you join as a regular writer? And we’ll give you deadlines and we’ll put limits on how much you can write for us.” So I joined their team as a regular writer. Soon after that, I joined their team as an editor. And then I had a book idea and it was not for Love Riot, actually it was for a different book, but that book was obviously not God’s will because as I was submitting it to editors and publishers, it was getting nothing but rejections. But then there was this little idea in that book proposal for a book called Love Riot.

Sara Barratt:

One publisher was like, “Hey, what about this idea? Can you give us more about this, ‘this’ idea? Like, what is this book all about?” And so I created a proposal for that one, sent it off and that was Baker Books and they decided to publish it. And that is… That’s my story in a nutshell. And I just totally see God’s grace over it, all His providence and leading and guiding every step of the way and just providing the right opportunities and opening up the right doors. And it’s just such a joy and a privilege for me to be able to share what God is currently teaching me and what he has taught me in the past, because we’re always learning. And I know that I’m still learning the messages that I am writing about all the time.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

That’s wonderful. So for those of our listeners who haven’t heard of The Rebelution, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Sara Barratt:

Yes. The Rebelution is a ministry website founded by Alex and Brett Harris based off of their really amazing book, Do Hard Things, which I highly recommend for every teenager to read. It was so impactful for me. And so The Rebelution is really just a ministry to challenge and encourage young people to rebel against low expectations. And if you’re wondering, yes, the word “rebelution” is one that Alex and Brett made up. It is really a rebellion revolution. You could say a rebellion against rebellion where instead of rebelling, how teenagers usually do, you know, you hear, “Oh, teenagers are just rebellious.” Instead of rebelling, how we usually think of rebellion, it’s rebelling against the low expectations that expect teenagers to do nothing but waste their teen years, use them for themselves. Use them, use their teen years for fun. Instead use those years for the glory of God, for the gospel, really just to use your teen years for a purpose bigger than yourself. And so that is the heart and the message of The Rebelution. And I’m so honored to be joining them in that and just providing resources to help teens navigate these teen years in a way that is glorifying to God and in a way that can really impact the world around them.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Yes, I think it’s wonderful. And I’ve recommended that book as well, and I know now they’ve started a conservatory, a writer’s conservatory for young people, right. To help them to get their message out that they have on their heart. I think it’s amazing what they’re doing. I just love it.

Sara Barratt:

I know Brett is doing such a great job with that.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

What is one message you really want this generation to get out of all you’re sharing? What is the one– if you zeroed in on one thing you could share today, what would it be?

Sara Barratt:

That is such a good question. And there are so many things, really, there are so many angles that you could go, but if I narrowed it down to one thing, I believe that it would be that our lives are meant to be lived solely for the glory of God and not for ourselves. That this life that we have been given. It’s a gift from God. It’s a gift that he’s given to us. He’s entrusted us with this one short span of years on earth. And we have a decision to make: how will we use the time that we’ve been given? Will we use it for ourselves or will we use it for God’s glory and really seeking God’s glory, above all things. It encompasses every other aspect. Every other thing that I could have narrowed in on. You know, the importance of knowing your Bible, knowing the word, the importance of ministry and work and service, the importance of looking at everything in the world through a biblical perspective, all of that is wrapped up with the goal of living for the glory of God.

Sara Barratt:

Seeing that God’s name is glorified, that He is made great in this earth. And that ultimately He will be exalted for all of eternity and praised for all of eternity. So I would just encourage teenagers to remember that this life is not their own, that there is a bigger purpose for their life. That they can use everything, every circumstance and situation in their life for a greater calling. Really, we have a greater calling upon our lives. And if we are children of God, that calling is to just bring glory to God, to exalt His name. The glory of God is our greatest goal as Christians. So that’s, I would just encourage teenagers to live with that perspective. To seek to reorient everything in their lives, to change their thinking, their mindset and their perspective to think along those lines of “What will most glorify God, how can I most use this one life I have for Him and Him alone?”

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Oh, amen. That’s wonderful. Okay. And then one last thing. How can people get in touch with you if they would like to connect with you or join your mailing list? How can they reach you?

Sara Barratt:

Well, I would love people to visit me on my website, Sarabarratt.com. I have links to all my social media there, Facebook and Instagram. And you can also sign up for my email list there so I can find everything on Sarabarratt.com. And of course I’d love people to check out The Rebelution as well. We just launched a podcast earlier this year. So I’ve been getting into the podcast world a little bit myself and having a lot of fun with that. And so everyone can reach out at therebelution.com, check out our articles, check out our podcast, and our email list there as well; you can reach out there and find all of the resources on those two websites.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

That’s great. And do you do speaking, are you available for different events? Do you do, like, classroom visits and things like that?

Sara Barratt:

Absolutely. Yes, I do all kinds of different speaking events, engagements. So I have a speaking page on my website that has more information there and just all the details on how to get me to speak. And I would be absolutely thrilled and love to do that. I love getting to meet people in person or virtually over Zoom or Skype or whatever. Love just to get to chat and encourage those around us to just use their lives for God. So, yeah, I love to do that.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Okay, great. And also for my listeners, when you sign up or when you visit her website, she also has this great quiz just to kind of self-evaluate where you are. Are you living a sold out life for Christ or are we playing games? And, and it’s just a really great little quiz. I really enjoyed it. I took it just to kind of evaluate where we are. And so that’s another thing that’s on your site that I think my listeners would really enjoy. Well, Sarah, I just have really enjoyed talking with you. And again, I love your books. I hope everyone buys your books and reads them together as a family. I know they’re written for a younger audience, but boy, it speaks to all of us. And especially this second book, it has just been wonderful to read and to just think about how we are being influenced by our culture around us. And are we really holding to a biblical worldview? And do we really know the word of God? And are we being compromising in any way and I just think it really calls us all, whatever our age, back to genuine authentic Christianity. I pray that God just really continues to use all of what y’all are doing.

Sara Barratt:

Oh, thank you so much, Terrie. That is just so encouraging to me and I love to hear your heart and the ways that you just, seek to pray for that. So thank you so much for your encouragement and just for all that you and your husband and family are doing. This has been so encouraging to me too.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Well, thank you again so much for joining us. And I look forward to talking with you again in the future. I would love to have you join us again.

Sara Barratt:

Absolutely. Thank you, Terrie.

Terrie Hellard-Brown:

Thank you for joining us for “Books That Spark”, a podcast celebrating books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussions as we disciple our children and help them follow Christ with their whole hearts. If you would like to reach Sarah, you can reach her in two places, at sarabarratt.com, and you’ll find the link in the show notes on my website and also therebelution.com. And that is rebel R E B E L and then U T I O N like revolution. The Rebelution was started by two brothers, Alex and Brett Harris, and they now also have a writers conservatory for young adults and teenagers who feel called to write and to share their message with this generation. I love everything that they do. It is so amazing, calling this generation back to Christ, calling them back to the word of God and also calling them to step up and make a difference and to make their lives count at a young age. So check it out. If you would like to connect with me, you can always reach me at Terriehellardbrown.com Thank you for listen.

Your Host: Terrie Hellard-Brown

Terrie Hellard-Brown writes and speaks to help children and adults find God’s purpose and plan for their lives. She teaches workshops and writes devotional books, children’s stories, and Christian education materials.

Her podcast, Books that Spark, reviews children’s books that spark imagination, emotion, questions, and discussion leading to teachable moments with our kids. Her podcast posts each Tuesday morning.

Her blog posts discuss living as a disciple of Christ while parenting our children. She challenges us to step out of our comfort zones to walk by faith in obedience to Christ and to use the nooks and crannies of our lives to disciple our children.

Terrie uses her experiences as a mother of four (three on “the spectrum”), 37 years in ministry (15 in Taiwan), and 32 years teaching to speak to the hearts of readers.

Her motto is “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be WONDERFUL” and keeps her childlike joy by writing children’s stories, delighting over pink dolphins, and frequently laughing till it hurts.

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