Grow Down



Our society pushes young people to grow up, to stand on their own two feet, to chase after self-serving pursuits. But what if there was a better way to grow, a better path to follow, a richer life to lead? Grow Down is built around the idea that there is a better direction to grow: by rooting yourself through a life centered in Jesus. Using Colossians 2:6-7 as a backdrop and a tree as a visual, this book envisions a generation that chooses to be un-adulterated. That’s the priority for author Ken Castor, who has worked with teenagers and young adults for more than 20 years. Like a tree, a follower of Christ must root deeply into Jesus, find all nourishment to stand strongly through life in him, and then naturally impact others with fruit and shade, protection, and life-breathing air. As you grow down into Jesus, you’ll draw up the resources you need to stand through any pressures, and then you’ll overflow with an abundance of life that this grownup world so desperately needs.

Some Reviews:

  • LOVED THIS BOOK” – “I’ve read this book personally, led it with my youth group girls, and have also walked through it with a new Christ follower. Each time, I’m personally challenged deeper and also loving seeing how real and relevant it puts the challenge to be rooted into Jesus. It’s refreshing, short, and an easy read that has a deep, lifelong impact.”
  • THIS IS A MUST FOR YOU AND THE NEXT GENERATION” – I have used this for our student ministry as both a graduation gift for our seniors and also adapted it into a teaching series. The Biblical concept to grow down is unfortunately foreign to so many. I know Ken and have heard him speak many times passionately about building a Jesus-centered life – he doesn’t just teach it, he lives it out! Easy read with great depth.
  • A MUST READ FOR STUDENTS AND THOSE WHO LOVE STUDENTS” – “I purchased this book for each of my graduating seniors in our student ministry. What better reminder for our graduates than to “grow down” not up. In a world that looks to grow our young people up as fast as possible, it is refreshing to hear a voice saying NO. By the way – this book is not just for students.”
  • GENUINE” – “The message of the book is meaningful and powerful. It’s an easy read, but not ‘fluffy’ stuff; it is more of a thought-provoker than you might anticipate. Though tailored to a young adult audience, anyone who reads this *will* get something out of it. Read it slowly and let it change your heart.”
  • A GREAT READ FOR YOUTH AND THEIR MENTORS!” – “An excellent read for parents, youth ministers, students, and everyone else in between. This book will challenge you to have a relationship “rooted” in Christ while discussing literal and spiritual growth. As a Young Life Staff member I love this read and have been applying it with some of my high school friends! If you work with kids in youth ministry I totally recommend this read to both you and/or your students.”
  • LOVED THIS BOOK” – “Loved this book. Was able to go through it with my leaders in an easy way and start applying it to ministry in our context. Love that the picture and concept is easy to grasp – learn and teach.”
  • GREAT BOOK” – “I used this book as the meat of my message to our graduating students this year. Great book about how to set yourself up spiritually to succeed in the years following High School.”
  • A PRIMER FOR YOUTH MINISTRY” – “Ken Castor has brought together a life transforming concept in “Grow Down” that weaves its way through scripture but is isolated in this book to lead the reader to a deeper faith-roots system. I was never a student of Dr. Castor’s but I was on campus when this idea was taught and exploded as a powerful symbol of spiritual development. As a a youth director, there was great insight as to the kingdom that Jesus shared that helps me in my ministry. This book is great tool for both students and leaders to ask questions that establish them in the word and teach them to “draw up” from Christ in their daily lives.”
  • PHENOMENAL AUTHOR” – “This concept has stuck with me ever since I first heard Ken Castor speak about it. His book lives up to the message.”
  • GREAT BOOK” – “Great book for students and those who invest their time helping students follow Jesus. this book is one of my favorite gifts to give … and receive for my own soul.
  • LOVED IT!” – “Loved it! A refreshingly easy read that helps believers, both young and old, dig down to the One true center of their faith with clarity and encouragement.”
  • AMAZING BOOK FOR PARENTS!” – “Amazing book for youth and their parents! It’s relational and life applicable. I need to buy more to share.”
  • FUN & EFFECTIVE!” – “A fun, effective, and interactive resource on how to nurture your relationship with Jesus and others.

Available for purchase at the following stores:

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Simply Youth Ministry

Barnes & Noble





Making Your Life Count Radio Interview (with Steve Douglas)

Grow Down Book Review (Youth Leaders Academy with Rachel Blom)


  1. Hi Ken, loving the book so far. I’m taking my youth group through the book starting this week. I have a question for you:
    The first simile you use in the book is about Twinkies, and I intend to actually serve Twinkies while introducing the book. When I thought harder about the idea, however, I had a hard time elaborating on this metaphor… would you mind explaining a little more what it means to you? How were you inspired to equate Twinkies with Adults?

    1. Thanks for the note, Thor! The metaphor goes something like this: Twinkies are filled with all kinds of additives and foreign substances that aren’t ultimately good… but they can be attractive… Adults can be just like that. To “adulterate” something is to “add” “alt”, or “add another”, — to add another substance to what should be a pure thing. Adults want to add all kinds of ingredients to their lives (possessions, busyness, status, stress, etc) in order to try to be filled up and feel good about themselves. But really, life should be much more pure and simple than that.

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