Welcome To Grow
Welcome to Grow!
If you’re considering using Grow, chances are you are already invested in supporting teen girls in practical ways as they navigate the often tumultuous journey from childhood to adulthood. Thank you for your heart’s desire to walk alongside girls as they mature into the women God has called them to be.
While all teens struggle with things such as purpose, confidence, and identity, girls’ struggles are often magnified in light of the considerable cultural pressures placed upon the female gender in general. According to Ellen Duffield, author of The Brave Way, by age six girls in the West have already been socialized to believe that boys have the potential to be smarter than girls, and by age seven many girls believe they are valued more for their looks than their character. Similarly, Claire Shipman, Katty Kay, and Jill Ellyn Riley, authors of The Confidence Code for Girls, found that girls’ confidence falls 30 percent from age 8 to 14 and often does not recover as they transition into adulthood. Writing for The Atlantic, they share:
The girls we talked with and polled detailed . . . a worrisome shift. From girls 12 and under, we heard things such as “I make friends really easily—I can go up to anyone and start a conversation” and “I love writing poetry and I don’t care if anyone else thinks it’s good or bad.” A year or more into their teens, it was “I feel like everybody is so smart and pretty and I’m just this ugly girl without friends,” and “I feel that if I acted like my true self that no one would like me.
The vision of Grow is that, through intentionally investing in teen girls, some of these trends might be reversed or even stopped before they take root. We long to see girls grow in their identity a beloved child of God and to understand their worth and potential to make a positive impact in the world around them as their “roots grow deep into Jesus.” (Colossians 2:7 NLT)
We recognize that ages 12 to 17 feels like a wide age range – that’s because it is! If you have the resources, we would suggest breaking your girls into two groups: ages 12 to 14 and ages 15 to 17. If this is not possible, be mindful of the different maturity levels and life experiences present in your group. That said, not all girls of the same age will be of the same maturity, nor will they have similar life experiences. Avoid making assumptions or stereotyping the girls based on age, and be sure to listen well to the parts of their story they are willing to share.
Captain Laura Van Shaick
Women’s Ministries Program and Resource Officer
Canada & Bermuda Territory
How Grow Works
The Grow curriculum is divided into 12 modules:
Modules 1 to 5 are about self-leadership
1. Grow Your Story
- You have a story. Your story matters.
2. Grow Your Individuality
- You are unique. Your personality matters.
3. Grow Your Identity
- You are loved. Knowing who you are matters.
4. Grow Your Purpose
- You have a purpose. Knowing why you are here matters.
5. Grow Your Ambition
- You can dream big. Your goals matter.
Modules 6 to 10 are about spiritual formation
6. Grow Your Faith
- You can trust God. Your faith matters.
7. Grow In Grace
- You are forgiven. You matter to God.
8. Grow In Discipleship
- The choices you make are important. Who you choose to follow matters.
9. Grow Together
- You exist in community. Your relationships matter.
Modules 10 to 12 are about social justice
10. Grow Your Gratitude
- You can choose to be thankful. Your attitude matters.
11. Grow Your Voice
- You can choose to speak up. Your voice matters.
- You can be brave. Your actions matter.
Each module can be done in a single session of approximately three to four hours (an evening youth group, for example), though we acknowledge this would be a lot of material to cover. We recommend modules be divided into several shorter sessions. Elements from several of the modules can also be used to create a weekend retreat for girls in your ministry unit. This has been designed intentionally to be flexible in nature so it can fit the format that works for you.
Each module contains the following elements:
Create Energy – Build excitement through activities and games that introduce the theme of the module.
Get Hands-On – Interactive learning opportunities to help girls understand themselves and the world around them.
God’s Word – Dive into the Bible to discover what God says about growing.
Application – Help girls see how they can apply God’s truth to their lives.
Talk About It – Explore difficult topics such as media, sex, and race in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental setting.
Life Skills – Cooking, resume writing, and other skills that will help girls launch into independence.
While some elements may flow thematically into another element, the Talk About It discussion guide and the Life Skills topic will always work as stand-alone pieces that could be used in a variety of ways as you build community and trust between you and the girls. A suggested four-week flow will be provided for each module.
The Fourfold Method
In keeping with the Fourfold Method of Women’s Ministries International, each module will include some aspect of the Fourfold elements:
- Worship (enrich)
- Fellowship (encourage)
- Education (equip)
- Service (empower)
There are many English Bible translations available today, and each has unique strengths. Some are a more literal translation of the original Hebrew and Greek words but become awkward in English. Others are meant to convey the themes in the original text while evoking emotion or choosing common English words and phrases that make the Bible more “readable” for the 21st Century.
While various translations will be used throughout Grow, the main translation used is the New Living Translation (NLT), which tends towards translating Biblical themes rather than individual words, making it highly readable and easily understandable for teens. Another good translation for young people is the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV).
Girls may come with their own Bibles as well, and these translations may vary. That’s ok! There can be a great benefit to using multiple translations at a time, as each draws on the scholarship and prayer of many seeking to make God’s word attainable to an English audience.
Talk About It
Teens are wrestling with a lot of complex issues, and they need a safe space to talk about these. Talk About It, one component of Grow provides a framework for girls to discuss topics such as sexuality, media, and race in a non-judgmental, faith-based setting.
Talk About It will make use of the Faith-Based Facilitation (FBF) model of communication, which is a
FBF is a five-step cycle that groups work through with the support of a facilitator:
- Name the event or issue – Identify an issue that needs to be reviewed.
- Describe and Analyze – Elaborate on the issue, inviting individuals to speak into this issue. What is their experience with the issue?
- Reflect and Evaluate – Describe this issue in distinctly Christian terms. You could suggest the group read a passage of scripture or discuss themes from theology.
- Decide and Plan – How can we respond as a corps/youth group/Sunday school etc.? What is something you might do, or do differently, considering the discussion?
- Act – Action occurs after the discussion takes place. While this step is not included in any of the discussion guides, you can encourage participants to report back on the way the conversation has influenced their actions.
Faith-Based Facilitation conversations require several unique roles:
- A facilitator’s role is not to give their opinion or to say what is “right” or “wrong.” Rather, they are responsible for explaining the activity, introducing the topic, and asking exploring questions, ensuring that no one dominates the conversation. At the end of each step in the conversation, the facilitator sums up the exercise (“So, we’ve discussed. . . and we’ve agreed that. . . and now we can move on to. . . “) and thanks to the group for its participation. The facilitator role will be filled with an adult leader. We recommend that this individual be trained in FBF through the Ethics Centre, be spiritually mature, and be familiar with The Salvation Army’s theology. You can contact the Ethics Centre at email@example.com to find out when training is happening in your area.
- An observer observes the conversation and can give honest and respectful feedback on what they see in the conversation (for example, is one person dominating.) They assist the facilitator. Ideally, this person will also be trained in FBF and will talk with the facilitator about expectations prior to the conversation.
- Due to the unique nature of talking about sensitive issues with teen girls, the observer may also look for cues as to when and where it would be appropriate to offer immediate pastoral care.
- A scribe’s role is to collect words, capture ideas and create a picture of the conversation on a whiteboard, chart paper, or another clearly visible writing area. This will give shape to the conversation and allow participants to look back on what has been discussed. (Note – a scribe is not a note or minute taker.) One of your girls could act as a scribe, or another adult leader could fill this role.
- If the scribe is also a participant, they are to be fully engaged in the conversation. It is important for the facilitator to have a brief conversation with the scribe ahead of time to outline expectations.
- This is the most important role in FBF. Keep in mind that some people participate more by listening than by speaking. Allow space for everyone who wants to speak to do so.
Expectations of Participants – As participants in this conversation, girls are encouraged to think critically about the topic. Encourage girls to question ideas and put them to the test. Also, don’t expect easy answers. Allow for some uncertainty and gray areas in the conversation.
Keep in mind that when we talk about sexuality, relationships, and substance abuse, we are talking about very sensitive matters. To have a good conversation, it is important that we maintain a safe space. Here are some guidelines that can help the girls as they think, speak and act.
- Maintain confidentiality. All personal remarks are to be kept confidential within the discussion group. Everyone should trust that what they have shared will not be repeated to people outside the group.
- Be respectful. Respect is shown in the words you choose, the tone of your voice, and your body language. Avoid speaking negatively about people outside the room.
- Listen attentively. Everyone should have time to talk. Don’t interrupt a person who is speaking.
- Put yourself in their shoes. If someone has a different opinion from yours, don’t dismiss them. Instead, try to see things from their perspective. This may mean asking questions like, “Tell me more about…” You might learn something new!
- Don’t debate. We are not here to win an argument. We are here to grow together in a relationship with each other and with God. Remember, faithful Christians can come to different conclusions.
- This is the most important role in FBF. Keep in mind that some people participate more by listening than by speaking. Allow space for everyone who wants to speak to do so.
More information on Faith-Based Facilitation can be found at https://www.salvationarmy.org/fbf
Each module will include one “life skill” that the girls can develop – things that will serve them well in daily living for years to come. These include things such as cooking skills, car care, and women’s health.
The life skills portion of the program is an excellent opportunity to engage individuals from your Corps or community who may not otherwise be involved with Grow. Have a mechanic who attends the Corps? Invite them to help with the car care session. Not educated on women’s health matters yourself? Invite a public health nurse to speak on women’s health. Think outside the box, and get creative about ways you can resource the girls as they transition into independence.
Chances are good that your girls are active on social media. As with many things, social media can be both beneficial and harmful to your girls’ growth. To assist you with using social media as a tool and asset, each module comes with downloadable social posts: simple quotes, Bible verses, prayers, and challenges that can be posted on a social media platform such as Instagram, shared in a closed social group or texted to girls to encourage them between meetings.
Social posts can be downloaded at www.sawomensministries.org/resources-grow
*Registration & Letters to Parents/Guardians
We encourage leaders to send an informative introductory letter to parents/guardians of girls prior to starting Grow, outlining some of the themes that girls will be exploring through the program.
Click here to download the forms: www.sawomensministries.org/grow-forms
Ministry Worker Screening
The protection of children and youth within the care of The Salvation Army is a top priority. Every person working with children and youth within the Canada and Bermuda Territory must be thoroughly screened before any position can be held. This screening procedure is designed to provide a safe and secure environment for the children and youth we reach. The following steps and criteria should be kept in mind when considering someone for ministry to/with children and youth:
- Read the Territorial Abuse Prevention Policy Manual and the Territorial Abuse Prevention Resource Manual. Sign and submit to your ministry unit the ‘Acknowledgement of Abuse Prevention Policy Manual’ found in the Territorial Abuse Prevention Resource Manual.
- A Statement of Applicant to Work with Children and Vulnerable Adults must be completed and submitted to the corps officer or immediate supervisor at the commencement of each new position taken.
- Statement of Applicant to Work with Children and Vulnerable Adults forms will be submitted to DHQ who will forward same to the THQ Personnel Dept. to be checked against The Salvation Army’s Child Abuse Registry.
- A Police Record Check is required for anyone working with children or youth or having direct access to children and youth.
- Police Record Checks must be done every three years by all youth workers. If a worker transfers to another division, a new Police Record Check will be required.
- Those transferring into the Canada and Bermuda Territory must also complete a Statement of Applicant to Work with Children and Youth, a Police Record Check, and have a letter of reference from their home territory/church.
- If the Police Record Check shows a past record, the individual must reveal to The Salvation Army the nature of the record to determine the appropriateness of involvement in children and youth ministry.
- View and complete the quiz of each of the four courses on The Salvation Army page of the Armatus Online Abuse Prevention Training. The courses are entitled “I Am Sam”, “It Happened to Me”, “Keeping Your Church Safe” (or “Keeping Your Camp Safe”, “A Day At Day Camp”), “Duty To Report” and the yearly “Abuse Prevention Refresher”.
- Reference checks for those seeking employment must be completed. A record of contact with references must be made.
- Volunteers should only be permitted to work with children or youth after they have been involved in the church for a period of time (minimum of six months recommended). A letter of reference may be sought. This provides the church an opportunity to evaluate applicants and volunteers and will repel persons seeking immediate access to children.
Failure to follow this procedure will jeopardize the ministry of The Salvation Army, lead to cancellation of our liability insurance and place young people at risk of devastating abuse.
To access copies of any forms listed here, visit https://salvationist.ca/corps-ministries/corps- administration/leadership/ministry-worker-screening/
Have Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Digital Discipleship
Our world is becoming increasingly digital, and this is especially true for younger generations. There may be times when offering pastoral care or conducting a modified version of Grow online will be appropriate. In these situations, we must be diligent to keep the online space safe for all involved.
When conducting online discipleship groups and/or engaging in pastoral care via digital platforms (e.g. Zoom, FaceTime, Skype etc.) we need to be diligent to ensure the safety of minors and vulnerable persons. Please remember that we should treat the digital arena the same as the physical – the same expectations and guidance outlined in The Salvation Army’s Abuse Prevention Policy apply.
The following recommendations may protect both the girls you are discipling and the leaders as they engage in digital interactions:
- Do not meet with a young person online by themselves. Plan to have a second adult online with you for all conversations and/or plan to meet with more than one young person on each call. If the conversation needs to be private, arrange a mutually agreed-upon third party to be involved in the conversation. Explain to the young person why this is necessary.
- Plan and hold digital meetings during normal hours for ministry interactions. Do not conduct meetings or conversations with minors at a time of day that you wouldn’t normally hold an in-person meeting or visit at your church or home.
- When using video communication, consider where you are in your home before you turn on your camera. Ask yourself: Is this a space I would invite someone into if they were physically in my home?
- Copy a parent/guardian in on all messaging. If you are emailing or texting social posts to the girls, send these to their parents/guardians as well.
Digital discipleship is evolving as we learn and experience new things. If you have questions email email@example.com
Evangelism to Teens
One of our main goals in Grow is for girls to have a relationship with Jesus. As leaders, we must be evangelists to them. Qualification for evangelism is not based on natural ability, talent or position of influence. It doesn’t even hinge on how well we know the Bible. What is required is a love of Jesus, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit and a willingness to share the story of how he has changed our lives. Some might call this story a testimony, and leaders should be prepared to share their own testimony with the girls.
Carey Nieuwhof, Christian blogger, podcast host, and pastor at Connexus Church in Barrie, Ont., suggests that a sense of urgency is important when it comes to evangelism can determine whether your church (or Grow program!) is positioned to succeed or fail.
While stressing a sense of urgency in the church, Nieuwhof reminds his readers that the way evangelism was done in past generations doesn’t necessarily work in our present context. Christian apologetics that carries a tone of arrogance, smugness or superiority will repel anyone under the age of 40, he suggests, and the timeline for someone to make a decision about Jesus is longer than it once was. With this in mind, we need to be prepared to go on a long journey with the people we are evangelizing, to love them, to embrace their questions, and to share from our heart. At some point, it might be helpful to invite them to take the next step in trusting Jesus but pushing for a conclusion too soon may result in a rejection of the gospel message.
P-L-A-N TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL
The following evangelism framework may be of use to you. This resource has been prepared by Major Mark Wagner for The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory Corps Ministries:
Pray: We start our plan to spread the gospel with prayer. There is no need for hesitation. We can begin right away by making a short list of people and bringing them to God each day. If we do this every day for several months, we will develop a deeper love for our lost friends, and God will know that we are serious about kingdom business. Prayer may be easy to start, but it takes discipline to continue.
Love: This graphic seeks to show two hands coming together in a mutual relationship. This is important because we seek to honor our friends and not to use them as our evangelism “project.” As Paul writes, “Let love be genuine.” Romans 12:9 (NLT) We can show our love for others by spending time with them and by offering acts of service, as Jesus modeled when he washed his disciples’ feet. Make a list of possible ways that you can serve those you are praying for (sharing coffee, babysitting, bringing a meal, cutting grass, knitting a hat….) Tailor your list to the needs of your friends and family. Then follow up by serving them in genuine love. This also might take weeks or months of discipline.
Ask: Here is a twist on a common saying: “Preach the gospel at all times; use words when necessary – and words are always necessary!” You have not shared the gospel until you have explained to someone what it all means. This implies that we need to be able to describe to others what Christ has done for us (that’s our testimony) and what Christ can do for them (the good news of salvation). This could mean memorizing some scriptures (or marking them in your Bible); practicing sharing this good news with a faithful friend; using an app that walks a friend through the good news. This will take some time and practice, but it is worth it. God will answer our prayers by opening the hearts of those we pray for and by providing an opportunity, at just the right time, to talk about Jesus.
Nurture: Once our friend has committed his or her life to Christ, we have an ongoing responsibility that belongs to us. Jesus commanded that we go and “make disciples.” And now we have an opportunity to obey. We help our friends in their journey of discipleship by spending time with them – after morning worship, at a mid-week small group, on an evening for dinner; and by modeling for them what it means to follow Jesus – like living a holy life, giving our tithes and offerings, and serving others.
EVANGELISM FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
James Emery White, in his book Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post- Christian World, writes,
“We have become cultural missionaries and act according to that identity. I think we all know what a good missionary would do if dropped into the darkest recesses of the Amazon basin to reach an unreached group of people. They would learn the language, try to understand the customs and rituals and work to translate the Scriptures, particularly the message of the gospel, into the indigenous language. When it comes to worship, they would incorporate the musical styles and instruments of the people. They might even attempt to dress more like them. In short, they would try to build every cultural bridge they could into the world of that unreached people group in order to bring Christ to bear.” (146)
While the girls should never doubt who the leader is, they will appreciate when you can communicate the gospel message in a way that they will understand based on their life experiences and worldview, which may be much different than those of the leader.
As you seek to evangelize to teens, it will be important to keep the following in mind:
- Young people born and raised in the West after the events of September 11, 2001, have been raised in a socio-economic environment marked by chaos, uncertainty, volatility, and complexity. This has caused them to be deeply worried about the present. While a gospel focus on life after death or Everlasting Life may have resonated strongly with past generations, young people are craving a gospel that affects their lives in the here and now. The good news is that Everlasting Life starts the moment someone says “yes” to following Jesus.
- Young people are constantly connected to the Internet and can find answers to almost any question almost instantly thanks to Google (whether the answers are right or wrong.) The implications of this constant connection to the Internet and the information it holds allow teens to find whatever answers they are after without the help of an intermediary. Be aware that if they have questions, teens may not automatically go to a leader for answers. As such, it will be important to go to them with questions, with information, and to equip them with helpful resources that they can read and source on their own.
- While past generations may have had at least some knowledge of who Jesus is, the younger generation is now being raised by parents who may have had no exposure to the church, and thus no frame of reference for the gospel of Jesus. These so-called “nones” are becoming more prevalent. As you evangelize to teens, don’t assume that they have any basic knowledge of the Bible or the person of Jesus – you may need to start from the very beginning. While this may be a challenge, it may also be a gift in that they may not come in with any negative association with the church or the gospel.
- Keep things personal. In a world that is now considered post-truth, the one thing that cannot be questioned is one’s personal experience. Where Biblical apologetics was once widely accepted, a personal narrative is now the more trusted resource. Personal accounts of how Jesus has affected a life are something that does not need to be proven scientifically, and yet cannot be questioned because it is experiential. As an evangelist, be prepared to share your own personal story of truth as you have experienced it.
Pastoral Care & Consideration
Throughout Grow, you should be prepared to offer girls pastoral care. Pastoral care is faith-based emotional, social, and spiritual support, and can be offered by a Salvation Army Officer, ministry unit leader, local Officer, or spiritual leader. It can be offered by the Grow leader, or someone else can be identified as additional pastoral support for Grow.
The term pastoral ministry relates to shepherds and their role in caring for sheep. Pastoral care should be offered to girls on an ongoing basis as a means of nurturing them and guiding them through the Grow material.
From time to time, teens may experience crises. The crisis may be brought on by a life experience which a teen has difficulty coping with or that creates overwhelming feelings of anxiety, trauma, or related struggles of conflict, such as peer or social problems, a major change in environments such as moving to a new school or home, a car accident, family conflict, mental health disorder, or another type of similarly critical situation. Be aware that some aspects of Grow may bring to mind these crisis experiences.
RED FLAGS OF TEEN CRISIS
The following are possible red flags and may be indicative of crisis:
- Increased aggression or anger
- Loss of appetite
- Being withdrawn or isolated, or a sudden desire to be alone.
- Frequent crying
- Dramatic drop or decline in attendance
- Reckless or self-destructive behaviour
- Signs of self-harm
- Dramatic disregard for personal hygiene or self-care
HOW TO RESPOND TO TEEN CRISIS
- Provide a safe and secure place
- Offer, in the context of that safe and secure space, an opportunity for teens to articulate any fears, frustrations, grief, sadness, anxiety, or other feelings.
- Give teens in crisis empathetic, compassionate care in the form of time and attention.
- Listen well.
- Offer a non-judgmental validation regarding the crisis. For example, you may say, “It seems like you are upset about this right now and it is causing you a lot of anxiety.”
- Offer prayer for the teens.
- Offer further support or referral to other professionals, such as counselors or medical doctors, as required.
- Remember to be guided by The Salvation Army’s abuse prevention training.
It would be highly beneficial to pair Grow participants with a trusted mentor throughout their involvement in this program. The mentor should be at least 10 years older than their mentee, be spiritually mature, and be willing to meet with a teen girl at least once/month. They will also need to complete The Salvation Army’s Ministry Worker Screening.
Women may be hesitant to get involved in mentoring for Grow. It may be helpful to remind prospective mentors of the following:
- You do not have to have your life together before you can be a mentor
- You do not have to tell the younger woman what to do with her life, and her job is not to listen to every ounce of your advice
- You do not need a ton of time
- Relationships like this do not just spring up naturally – it takes intentionality
Gospel Mentoring states, “The point of a mentoring relationship is to breathe the truth of the Law and the Gospel to a war-tattered younger woman getting flooded with the lies of the world on who she is, and all of the unattainable expectations it has on her.”
Mentors will offer the girls the following:
- Lived example
As mentors meet with girls, they will develop life-giving relationships and build safe spaces where girls can talk about what they are learning and experiencing in Grow, and in life.
While mentoring is usually a one-on-one relationship, mentors should meet with girls in a public place, such as a coffee shop or the Corps, rather than private space.
A marketing package is available at www.salvationist.ca/women-s-ministries/grow/. This includes posters, social posts, and bulletin inserts for you to use to promote Grow to girls in your ministry unit and community.
We ask that the aspect ratio of all graphics and logos remain unaltered.
The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory
Women’s Ministries Department
Commissioner Tracey Tidd
Territorial President of Women’s Ministries
Colonel Shelley Hill
Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries
Grow is written by
Captain Laura Van Schaick
Women’s Ministries Program and Resource Officer
Designed and Adapted by
The USA Southern Territory
Ministry to Women Department
In Collaboration with
The USA Southern Territory