Into the Wilderness is a fantastic wilderness ministry program in the heart of the Italian Alps. Anthony, who founded this ministry, shares how he was greatly “refreshed” by reading the book, Christian Outdoor Leadership.… It is great to hear feedback from folks who are doing youth work and wilderness ministry in other parts of the world. He writes:
One of the blessings of having studied at Denver Seminary is that they allow their alums to audit classes for the price of dinner for family of five, at McDonald’s. Ashley Denton, author of Christian Outdoor Leadership, offered a course for fours days on Adventure Ministry in Cross Cultural Contexts. As I read that title, the Spirit whispered, “This is for YOU!” As we studied other world religions, poured over the Scriptures to see what they teach the wilderness and applied our learning to specific cross cultural scenarios, I was refreshed.
I was particularly gripped by five elements of wilderness theology and how to apply them to reach young people. The five elements are TEMPO, TIMING/TERRAIN, TRIALS, TRUST AND TRAINING. In TEMPO, Jesus used a rhythm of retreat into the wilderness and engagement in ministry. He used TIMING/TERRAIN to frame his teaching. For example, he called His disciples to a life of fishing for men at the seaside just after they had been fishing. Through TRIALS, like the storm the disciples faced on the Sea of Galilee without Jesus, God exposes one’s heart condition and opens a door to transformation. In the Wilderness, God shows us His TRUSTworthiness and calls us to embrace it if we want our identity to be renewed. Finally, Jesus TRAINED his disciples in the Wilderness. He gave them the Great Commission, not in a classroom, nor a synagogue, but on top of a mountain so that they could see the nations to which they would be sent (Matthew 28.16).
Question: how can you use one of the five elements of wilderness theology in your area of ministry?