S+T+IC=K Model | Wilderness Experience Application

by | Experiential Teaching & Facilitation, Outdoor Leadership Training Tips (Blog Series)

My post S+T+IC=K Teaching and Facilitation Model | Outdoor Ministry Curriculum, explores how Jesus made his teaching stick and have tranformational impact. Here is a reflection from Kelvin Haidle, a student in the Outdoor Leadership Concentration at Denver Seminary, on how his wilderness experience was an application of the STICK model.

STICK model wilderness experience application

Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash

I found myself in Roxborough State Park for a time of personal retreat with God. It was a warm, sunny Sunday morning in early November and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hike around the beautiful rock formations and catch a glimpse of the view overlooking the Denver valley. The experience was incredibly life-giving and exactly what I needed in that time. I came into the morning without an agenda and prayed that God would lead me where he saw best fit. He did just that!


Setting – It was breathtakingly beautiful and the rock formations were stunning. The vivid color of the rock walls against the clear blue sky attracted me to its grandeur. The wind whistling through the hills brought a peace to my soul that is hard to explain. I had visions of walking with Jesus from one village to the next and my feet followed the narrow dirt trials. When first setting out on the hike, there was a crisp coolness to the air. As the morning went on, I found myself having removed all extra layers of clothing and was just sitting in the sun, enjoying its warmth. There was a moment, as I was hiking up to Carpenter Peak, that I caught a glimpse of the downtown Denver skyline, glistening from the reflection of the sun. It was a moment in time that was so overwhelming it brought a rush of tears to my eyes.

Timing – Several weeks before this retreat, I was having a discussion with some friends. We were sharing our journeys with the Lord and somehow a question came about whether or not I enjoyed spending time with Jesus. As I thought about that question, I wasn’t sure that I could say yes. The idea of “enjoying” time with Jesus was not something which resonated. It was also a time of anticipating the craziness of the happenings in life. Seminary work was ramping up as the semester turned into its final weeks. The basketball season was about to begin, which as a head coach adds a ton to the schedule. On top of all this, my wife and I were preparing for and anticipating the birth of our first child. Needless to say, I felt burdened by the demands of life. I longed for rest and to be filled with a sense of peace.

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Intentional Content – God knew exactly what was going on inside of me and he spoke to me through this word. As I was taking in the beauty of the landscape and feeling overwhelmed by it majesty, the Spirit brought to mind Psalm 34:7.

“Delight in the Lord and he will give the desires of your heart.” It was a word which touched me so deeply.

I read it over and over again. I felt compelled to stop at bench and journal about what God was telling me. With the setting and timing the way it was that morning, there was no greater words that my longing heart wanted to hear more than these.

Knot – There came a point in the morning when it all seemed to come together. A big smile came across my face when I realized that this was a moment when I truly enjoyed being with the Lord! It was the answer to the question I had been asking for weeks. God brought me into the beauty of his creation to help me see how I can enjoy time in his presence. My heart began to burst with gratitude and I began just praising and thanking him. I was almost dancing as I continued walking along the trail. It was a moment when I understood what it meant to delight in the Lord. In return he filled my heart with the peace I so desperately desired.

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This was an experience where I was brought into new awareness of God. He enjoys spending time with me and I realized that I enjoy it with him as well. I became so aware of his loving kindness for me, that I could do nothing but praise his name. It was a moment I will hold onto and remember forever.


  1. Think about a wilderness experience you have had when you were filled with praise. How did the setting, timing, and content of this experience affect the outcome?
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