Choose to be a Life-Long Learner

To lead others in the outdoors safely and effectively you have to give equal attention outdoor ministry soft skills and hard skills. Whether you are new to the field of outdoor ministry or a 30 year guru, learning never stops.  The most influential Christian outdoor leaders I know are life-long learners who never stop asking questions and improving their outdoor leadership skills. This section is a guide for understanding outdoor ministry soft skills vs. hard skills, and will address some of the most common questions around these types of skills.

Essential Outdoor Leadership Skills & Tools for Assessment

A big question that might be swirling around your head is , “What skills must I have to lead a group safely and effectively in the outdoors?”  Or you might be wondering, “How will I know if I have those skills at a level that is adequate for leadership?”  This section looks specifically at answering those questions by weaving throughout the tutorial an identification of the critical skills needed as well as ways to assess one’s competence specifically in the area of wilderness leadership (tutorials on other outdoor ministries including water sports will be coming in the future).

There are several good resources on the subject of “outdoor leadership hard skills”, so initially my approach will be to give some guidance on the bare essentials.  What will be unique about the outdoor ministry knowledge you find in my blog is that I’m going to be asking a lot of questions, sometimes more questions than answers.  I’ll be presenting leadership scenarios, interesting cases to consider, and problems to solve.

An Overview of the 15 Essentials of Wilderness Leadership


1.  Knowledge of the Biblical Rationale for Outdoor Ministry
2.  Leadership
3.  Communication Skills
4.  Environmental Ethics & Stewardship
5.  Expedition Behavior & Group Dynamics
6.  Trip planning
7.  Decision Making & Problem Solving
8.  Teaching, Processing, & Transferring


9.  Clothing & Equipment
10.  Basic Backcountry Travel, Camping, & Nutrition
11.   Navigation, Orienteering & Climate
12.  Safety & Risk Management
13.  First Aid & Backcountry Safety/Wilderness Emergency Procedures and Treatment
14.  Rock Climbing & Abseiling/Rappelling Equipment
15.  Rock Climbing Skills

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