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,...read more
Carving New Tracks | What Snowboarding and Missions Have in Common
Shoveling Your Way Out of the Cabin is a Good Sign that It’s a Powder Day
I woke up early to go out and warm up the vans to take a group of 30 high school kids up to Monarch Ski area for a day of skiing and snow boarding. Having been so preoccupied with planning and organizing the trip I had forgotten to check the weather report. Much to my surprise, when I woke up the first morning of the ski retreat, I had to shovel my way out through 3 feet of fresh snow. This was one of those mornings I was especially grateful for the Colorado Department of Transportation, because no matter how much snow falls, the snow plows run through the night. I called the DOT and found out that the roads were clear to Monarch, although a bit snow packed. Green light! Let’s Go!
There were a bunch of tired students who wanted to stay back in the cozy cabin near the orange glow of the roasting fire… we could have canceled the trip up the mountain for fear of the roads being snow-packed, etc. But we didn’t. We took a risk, and wow did it pay off. We headed out early, drove slowly and eventually arrived at the parking lot of the ski area. We were the first group to arrive. Pouring out of the van were a bunch of giggling teenagers, just bursting with excitement to be the first to hit the slopes.
Carving New Tracks
At the top of the first run, I looked at a group of these high school friends with a big smile on my face, and said, “Lets Ride!”… we took off down the mountain, carving new tracks on every run! By the end of the day, there were less than 20 cars in the parking lot… we had the mountain to ourselves the whole day! There were a lot of people who didn’t bother to make the drive probably for fear of the weather conditions… but they missed out on probably the most epic day of snow boarding any of us had ever had.
How Missions is Like that Epic Day of Skiing & Snowboarding
Missions and that day at Monarch Ski Area have a couple of things in common. Missions is about making new tracks for the Gospel. It isn’t easy, there are risks, but the reward for going out into the storm is worth it. As we look at our world today, the truth is that God is clearing the roads for us like those snow plows were keeping the roads open for us to make it to the mountain. The question for us is whether we will make the journey out into the storm? Carving new tracks on that mountain that day was more fun than I can describe. Paul also talked about this kind of risk-taking missionary spirit when he said:
So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” (Romans 15:19-21)
The truth is that the road has been cleared for us. It is not that the road hasn’t been plowed, it has. God opens doors for the Gospel in every generation.. and it is the church’s mandate to go out and carve new tracks. The irony is that although mission is difficult, it is also full of joy! And here’s the understatement of the day: The fruits of obedience to the Great Commission are even better than a day of carving new tracks in Champagne powder…. That’s the truth.
Jesus’ Joy was to love sinners and those broken, hurting people who needed him… and He taught His Disciples that evangelism among people who have no hope was their mountain to carve. Jesus said it this way: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The mountain of the world missions field is covered in powder… first tracks are ready to be made to the ones who are willing to go… so lets pray that all of us would be willing to be those who are “sent out” into His harvest field!
- How does it feel to carve new tracks on a powder day? In your own words, how is missions like carving new tracks?
- What types of comforts or fears tend to keep you from braving the “storms” and “icy roads” that will lead you into a missional lifestyle? What joys do you think await those who are willing to take the risk to go where few have gone before? Does that excite you?
- Prayerfully surrender your will and desires to Christ and genuinely open up your heart today for Jesus to send you out somewhere locally or abroad to “carve new tracks” for the Gospel.
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