The Personality of Jesus as Outdoor Curriculum

by | Debreifing, Experiential Learning, Intentional Week, Wilderness Counseling

In spring of 2015, I overhauled The Personality of Jesus, originally authored by Francis Clark a hundred years ago. Denver Seminary student Kelvin Haidle wrote an example of a way to use this book as wilderness ministry curriculum. Enjoy and I hope it inspires some ideas to use on your next wilderness experience or outdoor camp!

the personality of Jesus

Photo by Mathias Herheim on Unsplash

SETTING UP THE EXPERIENCE

Imagine taking a group of high school students on a week-long canoeing trip. Before setting off on the river, give each member of the group a list of personality types. The list is from Francis Clark’s book, The Personality of Jesus, but they will not know. Tell the group to observe one another over the course of the next several days. Using the list provided, have group identify different moments when they observe one the positive personality traits being displayed by someone else. At the end of each day, make time for the group to journal their observations of one another. Ask them to also reflect upon the leaders of the group and write down the personality traits that most help them feel connected with them.

DEBRIEFING THE PERSONALITIES OF THE GROUP

During an evening campfire gathering, play a game. Write each of the personality types on an individual piece of paper and throw them all into a hat. Each person will select one of the pieces of paper out of the hat and come up with someone in their life who most demonstrates the personality type listed on the piece of paper. After each person has a chance to share, the members will put their piece of paper back into the hat and then redraw. This time around, play charades. The goal is to try and act out each personality without using words. The group will have to guess what the personality is from the list they were given at the beginning of the trip.

RELATED POST: Hundreds of Things Experiential Learning Teachers Can Learn from the Way Jesus Taught

Take the next few minutes to debrief the games as well as observations collected throughout the trip. Asks the following questions:

  1. What one personality type would most describe you?
  2. What personality type are you most drawn to? Who demonstrates it and why are you drawn to it?
  3. Consider the personality of your best friend. What is it about him or her that makes it easy to connect with them as a friend?
  4. Do you think Jesus ever displayed the personality type of your friend or of someone in the group? Why or why not?
  5. When you think about the personality of Jesus, what comes to mind?

THE PERSONALITY OF JESUS

After the debrief, spend some time talking about the personalities of Jesus. Jesus is the perfect example of each of the personality characteristics that they had listed on their sheets. Jesus has a unique personality that naturally draws people to him.

Highlight one of the traits, such as the authenticity of Jesus. Share how there is something about Jesus’ authenticity that causes people to follow him, even when it does not make sense. The twelve disciples are examples. Jesus asked each of them to leave everything they had known behind and follow him. They would certainly have not done so if they felt like Jesus was a fake in any way. There are also numerous stories in the gospels of how thousands of people would gather to listen to Jesus. He always spoke the truth and never tried to be someone he was not. Jesus is 100% authentic and it showed.

RELATED POST: The Spiritual Compass Points to True North | Being Drawn to the Personality of Jesus Christ

Challenge the students to explore the personality of Jesus on their own. Have them think about the characteristics of people they are most drawn to and then ask the question, “is Jesus like this as well?”. Wrap up with one final thought: Jesus was and is a very relational person. He is not like the President, who is someone that is impossible to see and talk with. Rather, he desires to connect with you like a friend. He wants relationship with you and will meet you wherever you are.

APPLICATION

Read The Personality of Jesus and think about how his character traits can be used as teachable moments on the trail. If you have stories or experiences from the trail reflecting the Personality of Jesus, please share!

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