Adventure Planning | Scout It and They Will Come!

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; all you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.—Isaiah 55:1


Searching through the Beta | Insights on Adventure Planning

I whisper in her petite ear, “Do you want to go on an adventure with mom and dad today?” Without hesitation my almost 4-year-old daughter embraces the prospect of a thrilling quest with eyes wide open and an enthusiastic squeal, “yes!” She asks me, “Where are we going?” I tell her it’s a scouting mission. Adventure planning is so foundational to outdoor ministry. And scouting trips are especially fun for leaders of adventures, because we get to explore and discover routes that others will one day bless those we lead on our route.

I’ve been reading through Arizona climbing books and paper pamphlets (beta) found at my local REI store. I have specific criteria I’m looking for. In scouting the ideal location to lead others rock climbing I turn to Ashley Denton’s resource – Five Smooth Stones of Wilderness Theology – for guidance. In one succinctly crafted handout I can throw in my pack, I have the instruments of spiritual transformation combined with the outcomes of Christian outdoor leadership.

This definitive visual aid refers me to the chapters in his book, Christian Outdoor Leadership, to read if I need more information on how to best go about executing a desired outcome.

RELATED POST: Adventure Theology Archive

Planning an Outdoor Adventure

My husband and I serve as leaders in a college ministry at our church in Arizona. Born out of my personal discipleship story, I have developed a passion to create real experiences to attach Biblical principles to using outdoor adventure.

When I was a fledgling believer; not yet a disciple of Jesus, I hungered for opportunities to learn more about God’s character and His promises within the setting of small community. I’m thankful for the loads of occasions I had to get outside on the rock climbing wall, ski hill and mountain bike trail with great friends who could tell me about Jesus. I especially appreciate how they helped me to connect scripture to my everyday life.

As a leader, I aim to recreate the tangible kingdom environments I once benefited from. It’s Jesus’ model for discipleship.

The climbing wall in an outdoor setting has a way of magically exposing struggles someone is having emotionally and intellectually to the doctrine of grace. As a spiritual leader and belayer, I’m able to personally connect with the climber to unpack issues with trust, work through fears, and expose the trappings of worldly pleasure and personal striving.

RELATED POSTS: Stairway to Heaven: How Faith is Like Climbing with Your Legs   |   Carrying our Cross: An Austrian Mountaineer Story for Good Friday

Invitation to Come

I extend an invitation to climb within the groups I have established even the slightest depth of relationship with. I recognize, and hope you will too, that it takes many invitations to get people to say yes. Busy schedules, apprehension of the unknown, fear of not measuring up form the basis for many to pass on the initial offer.

I’m finding it only takes a few participants to create momentum through word of mouth – scout, plan, and they will come.


Leadership Application

1. Read Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice.

2. Use the Five Smooth Stones of Wilderness Theology to scout your local climbing routes to find the place to execute a plan.

3. Invite a small group of young adults to join you on the wall.

4. Use the lessons in chapter 3 of The WHEE Factor titled “On Belay” to help others grow in their knowledge of grace.

5. Watch how their enthusiasm spreads creating a momentum of opportunity to take young people outside.


Edy Sutherland uses outdoor adventure to help others see Biblical truth through another vantage point. Check out her ministry at

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

One thought on “Adventure Planning | Scout It and They Will Come!

Comments are closed.