On How to Survive a Shipwreck

From the foreword:

“This book is a navigational chart to guide us through the aftermath—and I could have used it during any number of storms. Because what Jonathan did after his ship was wrecked is immensely inspiring and, frankly, the opposite of what most of us do in pain and chaos. Jonathan looked the wreckage full in the face. He peered deeply into both the lightness and the darkness of his own heart. And he drew closer to God in the middle of the mess, instead of running. These are incredibly difficult things to do. All of our impulses urge us otherwise. But the path of growth and wholeness and love is the one that Jonathan chose, and the one that will serve as a beautiful example for so many of us as we struggle in our own storms. This book is beautiful and deep and important, and my prayer is that it will guide you lovingly through whatever storm or shipwreck you may be facing.”

- Shauna Niequist, author of Bread and Wine and Savor


“Wow. I’ve never read a book like this one before! Who would ever guess that a few reflections on wind and waves, shipwrecks and sea monsters could comfort and challenge so profoundly? Jonathan Martin writes with a pastor’s heart and poet’s touch, taking the reader to colorful, unexpected places with each turn of the page. His insights into Scripture are fresh, his storytelling honest and vulnerable.  How to Survive a Shipwreck is a book to be savored, cherished, and returned to. I suspect it will take its place among some of the finest spiritual memoirs of our time." 

Rachel Held Evans, bestselling author of Searching for Sunday and A Year of Biblical Womanhood 

"If southern gothic theology was a genre of writing, this may be the our generation's undomesticated, spirit-haunted introduction. Poet-prophet-preacher Jonathan Martin has come to us speaking in tongues of fire as a howl and a song from the sea, from life after everything is lost. This gorgeous book is deep water, terrible and beautiful and cleansing, the words smell of salt water and wine, bread and longing, grief and hope. All of us who have ourselves gone under will weep with aching recognition as Jonathan testifies to the loving God who meets us in the chaos and the swirl and monsters to set us utterly free through a rescue that didn't look at all like how we thought it would."

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

"Jonathan is that rare soul who's been through the fire and has more, not less, hope, because of it. Is he a poet or mystic or teacher or recovery expert-who cares? He has something to say...”

Rob Bell, author of How to be Here Now and What We Talk About When We Talk about God

“Be warned: Jonathan's title is a bit misleading. What he has packaged as a sort of shipwreck ‘survival kit’ turns out to be a force of prose by which we are swept to the shore of Malta with a raging velocity that is at once raw and redemptive. Also we are urged to eat cheesecake tonight, for our own good. I love this book.”

Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church, author of Unqualified and Crash the Chatterbox

"While many people in the western Protestant church preach a gospel that is too saccharine and simple, Jonathan writes as a Christian who has experienced some real pain and loss, and the gospel that emerges from his writing is more robust and full-bodied as a result--a gospel that embraces even pain as a grace. This will be an important book for a lot of people."

Michael Gungor, singer/songwriter, part of the Liturgists and Gungor

“Anyone who has experienced deep and transformative brokenness will resonate with this book. I did. As Jonathan turned the pain of his interior death into the poetry of resurrection, I found myself saying again and again, Yes, that’s what I found to be true: Our childhood understanding of life and faith must give way to a more nuanced view of ourselves, of others and of God. Our hearts must be broken so they can be remade. We must journey past the illusions of our own adequacy so we can discover the most important truth of all—that at the center of everything is a great Heart of love beating for us. This I a wonderful book!”

Lynne Hybels, Advocate for Global Engagement at Willow Creek Community Church, author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World

"In this beautifully written, ruthlessly honest, often humorous, and sometimes heart-wrenching work, Jonathan Martin skillfully takes readers on a tour that intimately explores the scary, painful, dark contours of his own shipwreck. It’s a raw but hope-filled tour that leaves readers with a wealth of biblical insight on how to survive, and even be transformed by, the stormy times that decimate the ship of our life."

Dr. Greg Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, president of Reknew Ministries, author of twenty books including The Myth of a Christian Nation and Benefit of the Doubt

“Bob Dylan said, “behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain.” I believe that’s true. It’s certainly true of Jonathan Martin’s How to Survive a Shipwreck. From his bitter experience of nearly drowning in a sea of pain, Jonathan has survived to paint a beautiful portrait of a grace that will not quit. Jonathan artfully reminds us that even when we feel we are swallowed in a sea of pain, we are still enveloped in the boundless ocean of God’s relentless love. This book will help and heal many shipwrecked souls.”

Brian Zahnd, Pastor of Word of Life Church, Author of Water to Wine and Farewell to Mars

"This is no preacher’s sermon. This book is a survivor’s confession: even while your life is violently torn apart, your heart, it can break open. Break-open to a beauty, compassion and calling you thought would never again return. Break-open to a grace more powerful than the waves of pain, disaster, failure and devastation that could so easily devour you. If you need more than self-help-soothsayers and positive-thinking-profiteers, Jonathan again invites you to undergo a baptism in grace that is deeper than the seas that would drown you."

Jarrod McKenna, Australian peace award winning pastor, activist and cofounder of First Home Project

"No one is more qualified to talk about the forgotten path of spiritual descent than my dear friend Jonathan Martin. His book How to Survive a Shipwreck is a breakthrough in the way in which we are to understand our own spiritual process and conversion. His honesty & unique voice which has been drenched in heartache, wrestling & triumph has deeply resonated in my life and countless others I know. I, like so many of us, were taught to act saved, but not how to truly be born again. I believe that Shipwreck is part of the antidote to help heal the great sickness of "spiritual certainty" in our world today."

William Matthews, songwriter and recording artist

“This is a stormy book: dark, fierce, jolting. And really it is not about survival but about suffering and death—and just so about resurrection and the life of faith. Over and over from beginning to end Martin does all he can to remind us of the gospel’s deepest promise: our only hope is in letting ourselves be wrecked so we can sink into the depths of God’s unrelenting devotion to our good.” 

Dr. Chris Green, Professor of Theology at Pentecostal Theological Seminary; author of Foretasting the Kingdom and Sanctifying Interpretation 

“Brilliant and demanding, ‘Shipwreck’ is Jonathan’s heart-wrenching comeback story—and it is a hidden parable for us. Can I accept one who is fallen? We are all shipwrecked. We stand in need of grace.”

Dr. John Sowers, Author of The Heroic Path


On Prototype

From the foreword:

“Jonathan doesn’t just challenge me or comfort me. His friendship and ministry comfort me in a way that challenges me—to the very core of who I am. Jonathan knows how to speak words of undiluted challenge that flow from pure streams of compassionate comfort. That’s what makes Prototype special. That’s why I’m confident it will be one of your favorite books. That’s why I’m certain God will use it to change your life. Jonathan presents riveting truth about our identity in Christ in a way that honestly grapples with the intrinsic tensions and mind-boggling implications of the gospel. And he does it while maintaining a sensitive tone in a conversational atmosphere.

He humanizes the process of change—by illustrating the beauty of Jesus.

Usually, a book is either bulletproofed with truth or laden with grace. But when we become fully human in all the ways Jesus was, we discover a path to the heart of God that is big enough for both. As you’re about to discover, Jonathan slashes through false dichotomies like a world-class theological graffiti artist. He has a way of retagging issues that have been labeled either/or with a big, bold AND. He brings the gospel front and center, aggressively, with a brilliance and beauty that is guaranteed to mark you. Permanently. I guess this turned out to be more like a warning than a foreword, didn’t it? I have a feeling that’s just the way Jonathan would want it. So, scratch the part at the beginning where I said you’re welcome. It’s more like you’re about to be plunged into the paradoxical prodigy of Jonathan Martin.

Measured and unfiltered.

Searing and soothing.

Articulate and accessible.

Jonathan has written a book designed to body-slam your presuppositions, bear-hug your insecurities, and shake the contents of your heart with a gentle violence. It’s not every day you get to meet David and Goliath and it’s the same guy.

You’ve been warned.

And, you’re welcome . . .”

Steven Furtick, Pastor of Elevation Church, Author of Sun Stand Still, Greater, Crash the Chatterbox and Unqualified


“Jonathan Martin has discovered that ‘all the good stuff happens in obscurity.’ But it would be a deep problem if this book remained obscure. Drawing on extraordinary insight from Scripture and pastoral practice, Martin illumines what it means to be human. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”

Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke University; named “America’s best theologian” by TIME magazine 

“Jonathan Martin brings a fresh, clear, honest, unbiased approach to ministry that propels you to a new dimension! He has the ability to take all that he has retained in his few years and give us Kingdom food for life. His teachings have encouraged me.”

John P. Kee, Pastor and gospel artist

“I loved this book! Jonathan Martin is an exceptional teacher who possesses a rare ability to communicate profound insights in profoundly simple ways. Through the use of masterful storytelling, drawn both from Scripture and his own life, Jonathan helps readers wake up to the ‘legion’ of false identities they have inevitably inherited from our world under the oppression of ‘the prince of the power of the air.’ This spiritually charged book helps readers begin to experience the fullness of life that is their true identity, patterned after our prototype, Jesus Christ. Whether you’re a person who has been a believer most of your life or one who is just beginning to wonder what Jesus is all about, you’re going to be enriched by the wealth of insights Prototype has to offer.”

Dr. Greg Boyd, Senior Pastor of Woodland Hills Church, president of Reknew Ministries, author of twenty books including The Myth of a Christian Nation and Benefit of the Doubt

“With a winsome blend of personal insight, pop culture references, and serious theological acumen, Jonathan Martin shares his story of growing up as a southern-fried Pentecostal and eventually finding his own voice as an artistic preacher and creative pastor. Most of all, this book is about Jesus, our prototype for a new way of being human. “We need more of this message!”

Brian Zahnd, Lead pastor of Word of Life Church, Author of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Farewell to Mars, Water to Wine, Beauty Will Save the World, and Unconditional