- Can I use this trip as an outreach event or is it more beneficial as a discipleship tool?
- We believe it is effective for both audiences in the same way that Jesus spent 3 years with a group of young disciples who were all in process. Some got it quickly (like Peter, James, and John), and others took a while to really settle their lives on Christ alone as the Saviour (i.e. Thomas).
- We train outdoor leaders in the art of group dynamics, and how to prayerfully lead and share Biblical content with groups of varying spiritual interest.
- Outdoor adventures are a great forum for dialogue among Christian and non-Christian young people. Wilderness is the great leveler!
- How would I as a church or ministry leader implement this program and keep it running?
- We provide excellent training on sustainability.
- We provide ongoing training each year to keep skills fresh, while empowering your church or organization to develop your own style.
- We believe it is important to collaborate with other like-minded churches or organizations in your area (if possible). Training together, sharing gear, etc., is a great way to maintain your ministry year after year. We have resources to aid you in this.
- I agree that wilderness camping & outdoor ministry, when done well, is one of the most effective tools for leadership development and modeling of authentic Christ-centered community among young people.
I agree that wilderness camping & outdoor ministry, when done well, is one of the most effective tools for leadership development and modeling of authentic Christ-centered community among young people.
I also agree that wilderness camping is a strategic tool in the evangelism and disciple-making process among young people. So, wilderness camping should be considered as a foundational aspect of Christian youth workers’ annual leadership development plan.
The question that I must work through then, is what’s stopping me from giving this a go with my youth group, college ministry, mission agency, or TESL class in a creative access country?
To ponder: Here is a list of a few common obstacles to prayerfully seek solutions for your local context:
1. Many people have never experienced a wilderness journey, so how do I promote this?
2. It requires trained people to lead quality wilderness camps, so who can we trust for training both the skills, and spiritual aspects of guiding young people in the outdoors?
3. It requires financial resources to provide necessary equipment for a quality experience… how much will this cost? Is it worth it?
4. I don’t have a network of key churches to sell this idea and work in collaboration. How do I get started so that other leaders in my cities can share this vision of reaching our city?
5. I need to build an infrastructure to handle the growth once people are interested. I am not prepared to handle large numbers of people getting turned on to this. It needs to be sustainable.
6. I don’t know my mission context well enough yet to be confident in using it as a training ground. Where do I start?
7. I need assessments in my mission context to understand the legalities regarding taking out young people on outdoor adventures. I need help on this.
8. I need a team of people who share this vision. How do I start bringing like-minded folks together around this vision?
9. I need to organize a strategy of how to prepare, build, and then initiate/implement the vision.
10. I need a tool to convince key leaders in my church or organization of the vital role of wilderness camping for their young people.
11. I need to figure out a way to get key leaders to experience wilderness camping for themselves and/or with a few of their key kids so that they see the growth that takes place and become convinced that it is worth it.
12. I need to know who the key leaders are who are doing quality relational youth ministry with kids and pursue them because they will be able to follow through and benefit from the spiritual growth that takes place.
13. How many healthy groups like this are there? Where are they? How do I find them?
- We have never done a wilderness trip with our group, and we have a great ministry already… so why would I want to bring in a new program with requirements of my time and resources?
- Jesus apprenticeship strategy was experiential in nature and involved large chunks of his time with His Disciples in the outdoors. He seemed to follow the same method in which Yahweh, in the Old Testament apprenticed Israel and raise up catalytic leaders through wilderness experiences. And the early missionaries of the church (Paul, Peter, Philip, etc.) also valued investing in small bands of loyal followers as traveling companions. We believe that adding this type of ministry to your annual calendar of activities with your youth group or college group, etc. will only enhance your capacity to multiply leaders to engage your local mission context and beyond.
- You’ll see future business and community leaders, pastors, church planters, etc. be raised up out of the groups of young people who you share in adventure and community together while they were young.
- Young leaders who have experienced shaping adventure/wilderness experiences tend to develop an internal capacity for perseverence, and they tend to have sticking power when the going gets rough in life or ministry… they will carry on the baton that you gave them, with vivid memories of adventure-laden experiences with you, their mentor. This is essentially what happened to the Disciples when Jesus left them to evangelize the world. This was how He changed them into His likeness–by being with them on the journey.
- What makes a wilderness trip so effective at changing lives?
- Communication: (to share your heart, be heard, to listen to others, and to be known more intimately)
- Community: a sense of team work, skill development, decision-making skills (which is crucial for early adolescent development), a sense of belonging, serving one another.
- Adventure: The greatest adventure for any child of God (whether they know it yet or not) is to know God through Jesus Christ; to take pleasure in Him, realizing that He delights in you, and to ultimately choose a life of loyalty to Jesus Christ. Adventure forces us to drop our masks, it sheds lights on the shadows where we are hiding, and exposes our true nature and design, which is to be close with our Loving Father and to desire what the Holy Spirit desires which is contrary to our sinful nature.
- Encouragement: Having leaders who know how to invest in you as a young person in such a way that your potential for serving God is increased.
- Vision Casting: Gaining perspective on where you have been spiritually, where you are at the moment with God, and where you are going in the future.
- Teaching: We make our best effort to teach experientially like Jesus did, taking advantage of timing and setting to teach the Gospel and other Kingdom principles which relate to their lives in the pristine beauty of God’s Creation.
- Prayer: (Talking to God honestly, humbly, bluntly, and expectantly. Realizing that He listens to me. Learning to hear Him speak to me, and focusing my energy on listening to what He is saying to me)
- What would a typical wilderness adventure look like?
- We provide training for day trips or multi-day treks, etc.
- Those guiding the trips do a lot of teaching of basic skills up front, then you are off on the adventure. We encourage a balanced approach to outdoor adventure including: learning new skills, sharing your life-story, having quiet time with God while pondering Scripture, free time, adventures that stretch the group (like peak climbs, river crossings, you name it), great food, good one on one conversations as well as group dialogue, etc.
- Shorter outings require expertise in trying to develop community, experience adventure, and share Scripture in a more condensed time frame.
- Why would a church or ministry want to develop a wilderness adventure program?
- There is a biblical precedent that the wilderness has always been a special place where God has formed and shaped catalytic mission leaders, young and old.
- People function best on teams, and outdoor adventures are uniquely effective in forming community and team.
- We learn best through experience
- Think of the stories you and your group will tell for weeks if not months and years after the experience. Remembrance is a common theme in the Old and New Testaments.