Personality of Jesus Book | Excellent Source of Content for Wilderness Ministry Trips

by | Debreifing, Facilitation, Intentional Week

I recently gave my Denver Seminary students an assignment to explore ways the Personality of Jesus book can be used for wilderness ministry content. Below is a summary of the assignment and some excellent debriefing questions from one of the students, Dean Reynolds. Feel free to use this resource and the questions below for some great content for your next wilderness experience or camp.

personality of jesus is excellent wilderness ministry content


This paper seeks to explore how incarnational evangelism can be expressed and carried out through wilderness expeditions. Taking into consideration the lecture material for the course as well as the content of Francis Clark’s book, The Personality of Jesus, write a 2 page paper sharing some ways that you could plan to incorporate the personality qualities of Jesus (mentioned in the book) into your expedition programming. Create a list of 5 or more questions that you could use to debrief the expedition that would help people process how they have experienced the character qualities of Jesus through their involvement in community on this expedition. Take care to write questions that will help your participants connect how what they experienced on the trip reflects some of the qualities of Jesus identified in this book.


The heart of a guide and intentional teachable moments are important in backcountry wilderness discipleship. Good debriefing is also important.  A good debrief takes advantage of the natural emotions and experiences that show up throughout an expedition.  Because a facilitator can not fully be able to predict the way that the Holy Spirit might move, both planned and unexpected experiences should be anticipated when leading backcountry trips. A good shepherd leader will remain constantly in prayer to ask Jesus what aspects of the heart He wants to sharpen and highlight.  Below is a list of debriefing questions that might be used to teach some of the personalities of Jesus that Clark writes about in his book.

1.) When did you notice that people were available to you?  When did you notice they felt unavailable? Why do you think they were unavailable or not? (Tease out that people were focused on themselves when they were not available.)  Do you think God is available or not to us here on earth?

2.) What do you like about your friends?  List their characteristics.  As a facilitator, erase the title, and rewrite, “This is what YOU need to do to gain friends.”  Compare with 1 Cor. 13 to learn the love of Jesus.

3.) What aspects of your guides/leadership did you notice that were done intentionally?  What does this teach us about the heart of God?

4.) We had people who were weak and those who were strong in different aspects and tasks during this trip.  We got the job done only because everyone worked together.  Study community from 1 Cor 12. God designed it this way, for us to need each other. None of us can actually do it all on our own and it’s actually pride to think we should be able to.

5.) When did you see your guides being bold or fearless.  What did this do for you?  Where at home do you need to be bold or fearless?  Are there any scriptures that might help with this?  When do you see Jesus as bold?

6.) What are some aspects of humility that were seen this week?  How did this make you feel?  What is the opposite of humility?  Read Phil 2:8.  What does this mean that Jesus, “humbled himself” and how should we respond now?

7.) Hebrews 13:17 speaks about godly leadership among men. How did your leader represent Christ to you/not represent Christ to you? How do you know those are Christ-like characteristics?

8.) When was relationship or group cohesion damaged this trip?  What does this teach us about selfishness or sin?  Jesus came to remove sin and teach forgiveness.  What needs to be forgiven in order to seek restoration here?  Why does Jesus ask us to forgive?

9.) Do you think Jesus laughed and smiled?  Give an example.  When did you see this godly attribute this week?

10.) Journal about when you saw authentic or fake people this week?  Which was easier to relate to?  Journal through how people would see you at home?  How do you think Jesus was perceived by his disciples? The pharisees? The crowds?

RELATED POST: The Personality of Jesus as Outdoor CurriculumWriting Stellar Application Questions that Spark Radical Change


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