(From my friend, Amanda. See her passion for ministry to girls in the bio at the end. Read the first two parts, too: Part One & Part Two)

Part III - A Little Bit of Help for My Friends: Resources for Girls Ministry

Are you ready to give a girls’ group a try?  Getting started can be the toughest part and I don’t want to overwhelm you.  You probably already have more book suggestions and websites to keep up with than you can possibly fit into your schedule, so here’s my short list:

For your own knowledge, read Girls on the Edge by Leonard Sax. Ripe with information about struggles that girls face today, it is a great guide to getting inside the heads of young women.  Also, read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  This book has so much relevance to leadership and ministry—it will change your world.

To start a middle school girls group, begin by using The Christian Girl’s Guide to Being Your Best by Katrina Cassel.  This book includes craft ideas, devotions, and discussion questions.  It’s a ready-made girls’ group all there for you.

Want to start with a high school group?  I’d recommend working through The Lost Art of True Beauty by Leslie Ludy.  Although with this one you’d have to determine your own activities, the topics are great and Biblically focused.   My senior high girls loved this book.

Finally, add these three websites to your favorites and visit them regularly:

About Amanda

Amanda Berger is a middle school youth minister at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church and founded her girls’ ministry, The Soul Sisterhood Retreat, in 2011.  As a 10 year veteran of youth ministry, she has found her particular passion in nurturing young women of faith.  Amanda lives in Plymouth, Minnesota with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Charlotte.  For more information about The Soul Sisterhood Retreat, check out thesoulsisterhood.com

(From my friend, Amanda Berger. Read part 1 first. – Stephanie)

Part II – Where to Start:  Getting a Girls Group Going

Doing things together helps a group to bond in a very special way.  My favorite way to engage young women is through cooking, baking, crafts, and other creative arts, mainly because that is an extension of who I am. The best ministry happens as an overflow of what we are passionate about and I think it is valuable for girls to see women using their gifts.  So, as you think about who may lead your girls group, look for unique gifts and people using them to pursue their passion.

Why creative arts?

It is my belief that we bear the imprint of our Creator, and therefore, everyone has the ability to get creative.  Creative arts offer girls an opportunity to participate in an activity where there is no right or wrong answer.  There’s only trying.  Creative arts offer you the chance to engage young women in an activity, to offer affirmation of what they have created, and the chance to see a girl lit from within with possibility. You will see the girls shine accomplishment and be proud to go home with something they made.

At The Soul Sisterhood Retreat (my girls’ camp) we use sewing, scrapbooking, jewelry-making, baking, photography, knitting, writing and cooking as ways for girls to try something new and see if they can find something about which to be passionate.  Having a passion outside of school or friends helps girls to get away from the drama and judgment that can get in the way of them trying out new things.  Not every project goes right the first time—but the stakes are low and when something doesn’t turn out quite right, it makes for a funny story and we can grow from trying again.

You don’t need to be an expert in arts/crafts to make this work.  There are millions of great, easy ideas on the internet, but even better, use this as a chance to engage other adults in your youth ministry.  I guarantee that there are people in your congregation who would be willing to lead a beginner’s knitting night, show a group of girls how to create a beautiful scrapbook page, or do a little painting.  It’s a perfect way to celebrate the talents and hobbies of your faith community.



Small Church Girls Ministry

Stephanie Caro —  September 26, 2013 — 1 Comment

(My friend, Amanda Berger, is Founder of The Soul Sisterhood Retreat and also serves on the youth ministry staff of St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in MN. She has put together a terrific 3-part series on the “how-to’s” of girls’ ministry. Enjoy! – Stephanie)

Part I - The Why:  A Case for Girls Ministry

My challenge to you is that if you aren’t already doing special gender-specific ministry, that you add it. I have seen girls thrive from having a consistent, same-gender group that they can participate in on a regular basis.  In fact, research shows that young women who are connected to a faith community are less likely to become depressed.  This is reason enough in my mind to focus on building relationships with young women!

Five Things to Consider

  • A girls group should be led by a female. So, if you are a male youth worker, I would encourage you to find a volunteer who is willing to make girls’ ministry their ministry.  Guys, I hate to break it to you, but you will NEVER EVER get what it is like to be female.  It’s better to just recognize this up front and find a good woman to help you out. This is a great way to engage high school women in leadership roles as well!
  • Girls use words as ammunition and knowing one another’s secrets can be dangerous. We want to create a small group that allows for accountability and vulnerability, but we want to protect our girls, too. I always caution my girls to be careful with what they share, because I cannot guarantee confidentiality.  I think this is especially important if your girls live in a small town or all go to the same school.
  • Girls often use perfection as a mask to vulnerability.  Just because everything looks good on the outside, she’s getting good grades, and is making good choices doesn’t mean that a girl is doing well on the inside.
  • Deep down, every woman and girl wants to know that she is beautiful, that she has value and has something to give back to the world.  Celebrate and encourage those things!
  • DO something with your young women. Doing things together (rather than just talking and having discussion) helps to bond a group in a special way—they will have shared memories, stories, and the joy of discovering new things together.

A girl needs a place to be encouraged, challenged, told that she is beautiful and important, and reminded that God created her to do great things in this world.  Girls need someone to value their gifts and to help them shine.

 

 

 

Growing Up A Girl: True Story

Leneita Fix —  September 18, 2013 — 2 Comments

girls

 

I hear weekly from preteen and teen girls what they believe is “wrong” with them.  Their teeth are too yellow.  Their hair is too straight or curly.  They are too short or tall, chubby or skinny, busty or flat chested.  They are in a constant state of trying to look “right” so they can be accepted.

Sure we walk around saying that it is what is on the “inside that matters.”  Of course those of us who follow Christ are saying  we see the Lord’s reflection when we look in the mirror.

Yet, the horrible and very real truth is that as women we can rarely look past the outside long enough to focus on the soul.

 The problem according to several statistics is that they are consuming about 10 hours and 45 minutes of media DAILY.  This generation is consuming more television, internet,  print media, video games, and movies than ever before in history.

Even if  we hide our girls away-  turned off the computer and never watched a movie, the moment we walk into a store it is in our face. Article after article is about how to be skinny, have perfect skin or perfect hair.  If not it is about picking someone apart because of their lack of such attributes.

How do we convey how to live in this world and look like Christ when we are constantly bombarded with WHAT WE ARE NOT.

The problem of course lies in the moment that we believed that serpent’s lies;  when we took the bite from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil we lost our innocence.  Women lost the memory that we truly are created in the image of our living God.

So the diets started.  The comparing.  Sizing up.  You are looking at me and wishing you had my eyes, while I want your hair.  So we make ourselves look “pretty.” In the meantime our girls are crumbling under the pressure of, “If I could be a little more this and a little less than that.”
We wonder why they are starving themselves or marring their bodies. They can’t get past the fact that they are “all wrong.”

Those that are smart or leaders are seen as “too much.”  We can say it isn’t true over and again.  We can keep saying we shouldn’t care about our looks. An hour out the door of church and my own teen is asking if her jeans, “make her look fat.”  Yes, we joke about that line, but I have stood in my bedroom on more than one occasion sweating that question to my own husband. Perhaps it’s about control? If I can at least look the part then I just might be able to get by. So I am wondering:

How do we really teach our girls that they are gorgeous to God and that is what matters?

How do we help them engage culture and take it back for Christ, in real ways?

How do we really help them to put their identity in the right place and person without pretending- but really make it a truth in their hearts?

First

We need to stop ignoring it. The facts are that while women OUGHT to believe that our souls are beautiful we are striving for beautiful bodies. It begins with every woman working on seeing themselves as created in the image of God. Every woman needs to get before God and honestly assess their insecurities as they compare themselves to other.

Second

Godly women need to be mentoring girls.  We need to show them in the word what the Lord meant for them. It is important for us to teach others how to take the words of Proverbs 31:30  inside: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;  but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

Third,

We must teach this generationally.  Each generation of girls needs to be sharing with the next that they are “perfectly and wonderfully made.” Adults, teen, pre-teen, and children: one to another.

Finally

We must teach girls that they were created to do mighty things for God.  Teach them about our Biblical examples: A queen that saves a nation (Esther.)  One redeemed that helps those take over the promised land (Rahab).  Mary was a teen chosen to bear the Messiah. What about Deborah, Abigail, Mary & Martha, Sarah or Rebecca? Ever thought about how there was a void until Eve was created?    We simply don’t know what amazing things our girls might do.

Let’s get them unstuck from this place. THEY ARE CREATED AS A REFLECTION OF THE LIVING GOD.  Let’s celebrate, and teach them to celebrate as well.

These are just starting points what are you doing to affect the girls in your life?



Hilarious video by Parker and Travis we played at both Life Group leader training this weekend and our youth services. Loved it – a typical girl’s Life Group night in a nutshell!

JG

My wife and I were talking this week about the number of girls in our ministry – we are probably at 60:40 girls to guys right now. Brought up an interesting question for this week’s poll (vote above): what is the gender breakdown of your student ministry?

Maybe an even better question to get you thinking beyond that is this: How do you attract the lagging gender? Any great ideas?

JG



I just read my friend Neely’s first book – 99 Things Every Girl Should Know.

It’s $5.99 from Group Publishing and would make a perfect gift for the girls in your youth ministry. Neely isn’t afraid to give practical advice about identity, boys, relationships, culture and faith. I’m proud of her, and excited to finally get a chance to read her work. Neely is a champion for identity in Christ for young woman, and I think that message comes across strong in the short read. If you’re looking for a nice book to be able to hand female students who are struggling with their identity/girl issues or just want to give them some encouragement in the journey of becoming a Godly woman, this book would be a great choice.

JG

The latest episode of the Simply Youth Ministry Podcast is here! I was gone doing some high school ministry stuff, but the team got together with special guest NEely McQueen. The show must go on!

Doug Fields, Katie Edwards, and Matt McGill are happy to joined by Neely McQueen to talk about girls ministry. Shes the author of the new book, 99 Things Every Girl Should Know. Topics covered are: German pronunciations, spiritual lessons that are important for girls, how guys can help be role models for girls, girls ministry programs, Jesus punching people, girls and drama, and talking to girls about inappropriate dress.

JG