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The Vow
By Ali Kaun

Trish Teves and Fallon Palacios, leaders of the Junior High Ministry and founders of The Vow purity ceremony, believe in the power of words—God’s words. “The battle going on for young women's minds is more fierce than ever. It’s debilitating for many girls, the anxiety and depression they face. Their thoughts actually deposit harmful chemicals into their brain at an alarming rate, and they are suffering. We want to help repair that damage through God’s Word and the hope of the Gospel.”

Rock Church Youth Ministry leaders, for both boys and girls, believe that it’s through the affirming words of scripture, taught extensively and in creative ways by their leaders, that kids begin to see and believe that God loves them; it’s the negative ways of thinking that do not align with God's truth that should be challenged head on with God’s affirming words of love.

Stevi Moultrie, a Rock Church Youth leader since 2009, shares, “Teens begin to see their value and worth and who they are in Christ as we affirm them with our words…which really are His words."

A recent article posted on noted that after declining for fifteen years, teen pregnancy rates are now on the rise in the United States, which has the highest rates in the industrialized world, by far. [1] According to The Christian Courier, teenage sexual promiscuity is rampant. Encouraged by school programs that distribute birth-control devices, only about one in five teenagers will remain chaste in these early years. Some three million teens annually will contract a sexually transmitted disease. Teen pregnancies are at an all time high and many are terminated by abortions. [2]

And perhaps that is why eight-week programs like Hey Gurl and Hey Bro, hosted by the Rock’s Youth Ministry are so relevant and needed. Through life-changing moments each week, elements of surprise, and guests speakers, Youth Ministry leaders tackle the tough topics of sex, dating, self esteem, junior and senior high politics, and true love in a time when teens need to hear it most. Participants begin long-lasting relationships, get inspired, and discover Jesus in ways they never could have imagined.

Just ask Jessica Vito Cruz, a Hey Gurl volunteer leader. “It is an incredible thing to witness teens discovering themselves through the words of affirmation that their leaders pour over them. I have seen dozens and dozens of youth, who have believed that they have no value, discover the truth through this kind of encouragement. It’s a transformational moment when they hear of their worth because of Jesus Christ and actually start to believe He died for them.”

Relationships established in these programs last longer than the programs themselves, and exist far beyond the four walls of the church. Recalls Vito Cruz, “We had a particular high school student with super low self-esteem. She really believed she was destined to be on the streets. Her odds were not good. She was fourteen, already addicted to alcohol, in and out of juvenile hall, and her mother was a prostitute. One weekend she ran way and her mother called me to help find her. I found her broken and drunk. I prayed over her and asked Jesus to intervene in her life. The next day, she came to church. She asked me if I really believed that God loved her, and that He had a purpose and future for her. For hours, I shared how the Bible talks about God having good plans for her life, like graduating from high school, college and becoming a woman who serves the Lord. God touched her heart, and she’s changed. She just needed someone she trusted to open their mouth and communicate God had a future and hope for her.”

The Vow Purity Ceremony, now happening twice a year for both junior high and high school teens, is a culmination of the eight-week Hey Gurl and Hey Bro programs.

Hosted in the Rock Church sanctuary, friends and peers gather together to recognize and honor graduates that choose to publicly commit to stay pure till marriage. Ladies actually receive purity rings provided to them through the generosity of Rock Church Women’s ministry.

“This is the age group where so many kids fall away from church, “ says The Vow attendee, Tammy Waite. “They are suddenly faced with peer pressure and a culture that aims to turn them into sex objects the minute they hit puberty. They are tempted by drugs, alcohol, and pressured by their very first boyfriend or girlfriend to do things they have always were taught were wrong, but have the desperate need and desire to fit in… What a wonderful event and what a wonderful program. I only wish there had been a Hey Gurl and purity ceremony at my church when I was younger— it could have saved me a world of hurt along the way!”

At the end of the ceremony, teens, now stronger and affirmed in their self-worth and value, make a vow to stand for purity and to honor God, affirming Him as their Heavenly Father, and communicating, in their own words, their love for Him.

To find out more about the Rock Church Youth Ministry, go to Read more about Trish Teves, Fallon Palacios, and their heart to minister to young girls here.

[1] Kari Huus, “A Baby Changes Everything: The True Cost of Teen Pregnancy’s Uptick,” The Elkhart Project on NBC MSNBC, February, 10, 2010, (Accessed April 21, 2015)

[2] Wayne Jackson, “Sexual Promiscuity – A National Plague,” The Christian Courier, No original publish date, (Accessed April 21, 2015)