When things get tough, we are tempted to abandon. But Jesus gives us his Word, Prayer, and Community to help us endure through trials. In the same way that a group encourages its members to make it through a tough climb, or a sleepless night of wind and rain, connecting to a church and plugging into community will give you the ability to avoid the temptation to abandon the path of discipleship and persevere through life’s storms.
All wilderness leaders need to have some training in in first aid. Knowing how to assess and treat minor injuries and keep serious casualties stable can make a difference. Similarly wilderness ministry leaders can assess the spiritual wellness of their participants and begin to treat the cause of each symptom.
The wilderness is teeming with colorful stained-glass windows of sky colors that settle our souls into God’s presence and make boring doctrines relevant again. We need more leaders in the church who understand this and will step up and lead others into wilderness experiences to help them grow in worship and awe of their Creator.
Think about it: scuba diving takes me to the bowels of the earth into vast open spaces void of life. You can descend over spectacular ecosystems of coral reefs teeming with animal life from all parts of the food chain. I’ve come to learn that being able to attain neutral buoyancy is the key to easy diving.
Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17th) commemorates the day of a legendary leader and missionary to Ireland named Patricius. He poured out his heart for the Irish people from 438AD onward until the day he died. And Celtic Spirituality (which is highly Creation-oriented) today owes its origins to the Biblical teaching and spirituality of Patrick and the first Irish Christian converts.
The writers of the Psalms learned so much of their wisdom from going outside and looking at the cycles of nature. Psalm 103:15-17 is about how to not spread yourself thin so you will pass on a legacy.
I am convinced that if I can just simply believe that I don’t have to prove myself to God, that he just loves me, that I too can be sent off on my way, as an ambassador to bring salvation to the world through the proclamation of the Gospel.
A wilderness experiences sometimes feels like a trip to the dentist. No one likes going to the dentist for fear of having to get a filling, or even worse a root canal! But at the end of the day, if your tooth is wrecked, it would be better, sooner rather than later, to dig out the decay and move on to greener pastures.
Here is an entry from Lewis and Clark’s Journal. It is a reminder of how wilderness is a soul-mirror: it reflects the truth about our selves and shows us what legacy we are really leaving… not the one we hope for or imagine, but the real truth about how we are spending our lives…
Outdoor leadership has some unique variables that highlight how imperative it is to have a mentor.