OAXACA, Mexico-February 11, 2011
I recently received some very encouraging words from a leader in Mexico who is developing Christian camping ministries to reach out to Mexican youth. Cliff’s insight brilliantly highlights the cross cultural relevance of outdoor adventure ministries.
In Cliff’s words:
Ashley Dentons’ book Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory and Practice was just the right book at the right time. As I begin to help our teams of Christian leaders develop a plan to start promoting our programs within the local churches we need a good biblical basis for doing what we do. This book really excites me to see how we are really doing God’s ministry like Jesus himself. We are working in small groups, using stories, and questions. We are travelling on a journey and using experience and props that are at hand not out of context. This is relational, experiential and theologically correct.
This book gives easy to use and remember tools that will be tremendous to train others but will also be useful to the experienced guide to be more deliberative about setting and reaching objectives. The idea of creating a teaching moment journal is wonderful. I will use this myself and will encourage my group of friends to do the same.
As I think back through this book the image that I get is of duct tape. On any wilderness adventure you want to pack light and carry good multipurpose tool that can handle any job thrown at it. Duct tape is sticky and will adhere to almost anything making it very useful in many situations. You can repair a tent, a pack, a shoe. You can write on it and even use it to play a game. Duct tape will do it all. This book is theological and can be used to propositionally defend and promote wilderness journey. It also points to the Bible as an experiential book. God did not lay down a bunch of laws. God interacted with us and even sent his Son as the example to follow. Relationship is more important than knowledge alone. This book is also practical and can be used by the novice and professional to become better skilled at creating an environment that will stick to participant’s minds and hearts in a way that is relational and experiential.
I am excited to have something that I can use as a resource to defend what I do and as a tool to give to others to create sustainable adventure ministries here in Mexico.
Thanks Cliff for seeking to find new ways to reach young people in Mexico with Gospel through creative outdoor adventure experiences!
For more free resources designed to aid your ability to teach for transformation in the outdoors, feel free to check out the outdoor leadership online resources which are a free companion to the book.