Shine is a ‘self-development’ program run as an extra-curricular activity in schools throughout the country. It’s promoted to parents as being secular, but it isn’t. The program was developed by Hillsong Church and is highly gendered. Shine operates very much like a trojan-horse within schools. Girls are encouraged into the program and the aim is for facilitators to ‘form relationships’ with the girls and to peak their interest in another program, not connected with the school. Facilitators are advised:
“When you go into a high school as a Shine facilitator you are strategically positioned to place value on each girl and her LIFE. It may take a few months from the first meeting until you get a green light to take the program into the school. Be encouraged to develop a good relationship with the school through being patient, gracious and committed… Maintain a servant heart and a desire to be a blessing, remembering that you are in their school environment! If the school is not open to the full course, offer to do a single unit as a sample. We have found consistently that this opens the door for the full program. You will need to contact us if you are in this situation…. If a question arises about the ‘faith-based nature of the program advise the school that the program is based on fundamental life principles. It is not a religious program in any way, shape or form. The values and principles are solely to do with the truth that girls have worth, can develop strength and have purpose. Stay with the basics.” – Source
When the girls have completed the 9 session program they are encouraged to participate in the next phase – outside the school. There, the restrictions of religious evangelising do not apply. It’s about identifying kids who might be vulnerable to a religious message and encouraging them to form a relationship with the facilitators outside the school environment. It is, in my opinion, predatory. Have a listen to one facilitator, Sunshine, describing how she sees this ‘non religious’ program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W-CnTcdFzQ
The Australian Secular Lobby, in collaboration with the Humanist Society of Queensland, has decided to shine a spotlight on Shine and their equally-gendered program for boys, Strength.
They are seeking input from parents of state school children on their experiences with the program.
If you have had any dealings with Shine or Strength at your school presently or in the past, say, five years, please consider sharing your experience
The ASL and the HSQ promise they will respect contributors’ privacy and will not post the stories submitted anywhere, ever. However, they will be asking some parents, maybe all depending on what comes to light, to consider speaking to a journalist who is interested in a Queensland story on the topic.
Please send details of your experience to one of the following: