The GROW System is a framework of essential #discipleship resources designed to develop the individual believer from the inside out.
Each level builds on the skills and tools of the previous level, creating a solid framework for personal spiritual formation, intentional investment in the body and, ultimately, disciple-making leadership skills.
The GROW System toolbox is based on decades of experience developing effective ministry leaders through the Wilderness Institute for Leadership Development. We continue to deploy and develop it as the backbone of that program. More recently, we began developing it as a curriculum. Each level contains components that stack a core discipleship philosophy and corresponding spiritual formation skills into progressive levels of learning and leadership.
In its current format, the GROW System can be deployed in any ministry organization or environment where spiritual growth and community are core objectives in the culture. Our graduate and undergraduate programs are built around the GROW System philosophy and skill sets.
Level 1: Grounding
Rooted in God’s Design for Spiritual Life
The fundamental concept of spiritual growth is that God designed, called and resourced each of His children for incredible impact for the Kingdom. He also lovingly uses people and experiences as opportunities to refine believers toward that end… to understand His purposes for them and to develop their capacity to invest God-given gifts and abilities in the Kingdom economy. The GROW Series Level 1 content is built around the Learning Cycle. Jesus connects with us first at the ground level. That’s why Pilgrimage brings every person – regardless of prior ministry experience – to this first step. Here you:
- Engage with God’s agenda for your life
- See what God is doing and prepare to change
- Respond in a way that produces growth.
Your outcome: Personal preparedness to follow God’s direction for you.
- Rooted in Truth (The Bible as a Foundation) Preview Above
- “Harrowing” Experiences (The Learning Cycle)
- Aerating Life Questions with Truth (CAST Bible Study Method)
- Transformation Cycle
- Principle-Driven Decision-Making
- Design-Driven Decision-Making
- My Spiritual Condition
- Building a Spiritual Growth Plan
Level 2: Reproducing
Relating for Spiritual Impact
One of the big disconnects in today’s church culture involves the failure to translate personal spiritual growth into building intentional relationships for the purpose of investing spiritually in others. Body life is suffering immensely from this critical breakdown. While many experts tag this issue as an outcome of self-focused culture, we believe it is due in large part to a gap in discipleship training. Building on the personal spiritual growth skills of Level 1, the GROW Series Level 2 content invests forward into building intentional spiritual relationships, helping people see what’s true and helping them do something about it. We do not exist for our own pleasure and pursuit. God created us for relationships and community. This critical level equips you with first steps toward strong influence. Here you:
- Understand how you are positioned intentionally for influence.
- Gain tactics for meaningful conversations and willing service for others.
- Discover how to recognize experiences as God’s leading in people’s lives.
Your outcome: Practical skills to have more meaningful conversations and deeper relationships to help others.
- Learning Cycle Review: How God Grows You
- Ministry Cycle Stage 1 & How to Get Started (Jn 10)
- Why Inspect Fruit? Preview Above
- Ministry Cycle Stage 2 & How to Inspect Fruit
- How to Initiate Meaningful Conversations (OIC)
- How to Develop Meaningful Conversations (FORMS)
- Ministry Cycle 3 & Spiritual Growth Plans
- Developing a Personal Ministry Strategy
Level 3: Outfitting
It is essential for leadership to cultivate an environment that grows and resources reproducers. Sadly, the result of the body life breakdown addressed by Level 2 is a generation of ministry leaders spread incredibly thin by the demands of filling the void themselves. It doesn’t work. It’s taxing. It breaks down quickly. Relationships are replaced with content. But shepherding is shackled. The answer? Flip the equation. Focus on developing and resourcing reproducers. Somehow the idea of multi-level multiplication has caught on in evangelism and in social justice, but not in discipleship. The GROW System Level 3 training focuses on the development of a ministry that “equips the saints.” It’s essential tools build on Level 2 training, adding the Shepherding Cycle, CAST (Integrative Bible Study), Disciple-Making Strategy and the Spiritual Life Cycle of Groups, among other things. God gives each of us a degree of authority and roles for the purpose of leading others toward Christlikeness. Pursuing our purpose requires us to gain group-level abilities. Here you:
- Become a model who inspires others to connect with biblical truth and follow it.
- Recognize what God is doing in groups and learn how to lead others from your role.
- Build approaches to produce discipleship-oriented growth.
Your outcome: Powerful strategies to foster communities of growers who continuously provoke others to love and good works.
Training for Level 3 is currently only available via the Wilderness Institute.
Level 4: Widening
Leaders of leaders own a role that is both a high calling and a humbling pursuit. Being an effective influencer at this level requires a complex mix of skills and knowledge. Here you:
- Learn ways to envision the potential of groups and the possibilities of their front-line leaders.
- Hone coaching methods, enabling you to nurture aggressive growth in groups and leaders.
- Develop your capacity to mentor leaders through wisdom, focus, and humility.
Your outcome: God-honoring abilities to build cultures of growth and excellence in organizations and movements.
Training for Level 4 is currently only available via the Wilderness Institute.