LIFELINES: Using Outdoors to Bring Grace and Truth to Relationships With Self, Others, and God

Lifelines method is experiential learning and many of their concepts can be adapted for any venue indoors or out. Yet typically with Lifelines the outdoors is their passion and their classroom.   In short, they take people on adventures like rock climbing, snowshoeing or whitewater rafting—not just for adventure sake, but also to help challenge how they think about themselves, others and God. Their programs encourage participants to take physical, emotional and relational risks, placing them in a position to grow.

lifelines

LIFELINES’ VISION

Our mission is to use the outdoor environment to develop people in leadership and character and to bring them into grace and truth relationships with themselves, others and God.

BRIEF HISTORY OF HOW LIFELINES GOT STARTED AND WHY IT EXISTS

Lifelines began when a college student and two Campus Crusade for Christ staff members at the University of Maine wanted to take their non-Christian friends on whitewater rafting trips. But the venture soon turned into more than just outdoor trips. Through an idea by former staff member Doug Palmeter, the rafting trips became a way to use experiential learning to help people grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally as they played on the river. The three who first lead the rafting trips were Joe Cousins and Dan and Heather Litchfield. Along with Doug, these three soon found that students from whatever spiritual background were eager to participate in free rafting trips. They soon earned trust with these students and were able to share about their relationship with God in a relational and non-confrontational way. In the summer of 1999, Lifelines hosted The “Leadership Adventure Project” —a few trips combined with the School of Leadership at the Campus Crusade U.S. Staff Conference in Colorado. A member of the Campus Crusade leadership, Dave Sander, was critical in helping make this venture a reality. In 2000, Lifelines hosted its first summer project in Acadia, Maine. More than 30 staff members from the Northeast and were trained in Lifelines ministry. Following that summer, our projects became dual purposed: developing both staff members and students. In 2005, Lifelines expanded to the University of Virginia through John and Kelly Kidd. A year later, Dan and Heather Litchfield started a ministry at The University of Vermont. Soon Lifelines also expanded to Northern Arizona University, multiple campuses in Utah and eventually Cornell University in New York. In 2008, Lifelines started its second summer project, Rocky Mountain Lifelines in Estes Park, Colorado. In 2009, the Campus Crusade Board of Directors adopted Lifelines as one of the first emerging national strategies under Dave Sander’s direction, and officially became “the Outdoor and Experiential Learning Ministry of Cru” (formerly,Campus Crusade for Christ). In 2012 Lifelines became a resourcing ministry within Cru. Most of our staff moved to 3 key locations in New Hampshire, Colorado and Oregon. Our full-time staff are focused on coming along side existing Cru staff and accelerating their ministries, launching movement of Grace and truth. Beyond these teams we have Lifelines staff that work with us to reach out to students in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Kansas and Alaska. Lifelines has continued to grow rapidly in the past few years with 33 full-time Lifelines staff and six interns. We believe that God will double those numbers in the next five years, and we are trusting God for the resources to continue to expand—even internationally. We envision a day where Lifelines can play a vital role on all of the campuses where Cru has a ministry presence. To God be the glory for what He has accomplished through the Lifelines ministry!

WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL WILDERNESS ADVENTURE TRIP?

We believe that all people have the same needs: physical, emotional and spiritual. This provides common ground for us to reach out to all types of students and faculty.  It is our goal for people to experience the grace and truth of the Gospel as they connect with each other and God.

DURATION OF TRIPS OFFERED

Trips range from 8 days to 3 1/2 weeks.

EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING ELEMENTS TYPICALLY INCLUDED IN THEIR TRIPS

  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking/Backpacking
  • Canoeing
  • Sea Kayaking
  • White Water Rafting
  • Ice Climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Paintball
  • Mountain Biking
  • Sailing
  • Rappelling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Indoor Programing

LIFELINES VISION VIDEO

COSTS

Trips cost $500+.

WEBSITE

Lifelines

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