Dr. Robert E. Coleman (Author of Master Plan of Evangelism) wrote this Foreword to Ashley Denton’s book, Christian Outdoor Leadership:
Everyone knows that young men and women imbued with the Spirit of Christ embody the hope of the world. Yet the question remains: how do you reach them?
Ashley Denton in this landmark volume turns to Jesus for some answers. What soon arrests attention is the priority given to the training of a few chosen disciples. While Jesus does not ignore the multitudes—crowds sometimes numbering into the thousands—clearly he concentrates upon developing the potential of his closest companions. For the better part of those years he pours his life into them, then before returning to heaven, he tells them to go into the world and replicate in their lives what they had learned with him: “Make disciples,” make Christ followers who will disciple others, teaching them to do the same, until through multiplication the nations will hear the Gospel (Matthew 28:19).
One of the obvious ways to pursue this mission, especially appealing to youth, is working out-of-doors, a terrain where Jesus often ministered. Alert to this example, Dr. Denton has set out to capture that dynamic. Away from the confines of traditional centers of instruction, the wilderness becomes his sanctuary and classroom. He unpacks a comprehensive vision for Christian camping that builds relationships through trust and encourages strong commitment to Jesus. It is experiential learning all the way, full of adventure and challenge. The book is also replete with resources for life-style teaching and leadership development in the way of Christ.
Giving the presentation a ring of authenticity is the author’s own experience in this work. He speaks, not as a bystander, but as a practitioner. For more than twenty years, discipling young people in the world has been his ministry, and what he writes has been forged on that anvil. We can learn from such a teacher.
This is a refreshing study. It is relevant. It is spiritually motivating. One looking for some new ways to fulfill the Great Commission will find it here. With joy, I commend it to you.
Dr. Robert E. Coleman