The wilderness is a great leveler that will prepare people to open up. But you don’t wake up one day and automatically know how to facilitate discussions with a diverse group of people. If you want your group to discover the meaning of a biblical text and apply it to their lives without you spoon-feeding them, then the soft skill of writing well-crafted questions is a must.
This Fall some Colorado Christian University students went backpacking over the Four Pass Loop near Maroon Bells in the Snowmass Wilderness. This video is full of great wilderness quotes from the Bible that will inspire and encourage you. Jim Doenges, the director of CCU’s Outdoor Leadership Program is providing students with the skills to lead others outdoors as well as the experience to understand their need for solitude with Jesus in the outdoors.
The perspective you gain from a mountain top experience can help you when you walk through some of the more difficult ravines of my normal daily routine—in the valley below. Have you ever observed that hardly anything lives on the mountaintop? This is because the environment is too harsh for creatures to thrive. Life is lived in the valley 24/7 but God knows that we need mountain top experiences from time to time to carve landmarks of perspective into our memory, which can fuel new hope as we journey in the valleys below. Here’s how…
By aligning your outdoor ministry with the youth and college programs you build sustainability into your outdoor ministry. Without sustainability, outdoor ministry programs usually only last a couple of years and then wane.
Teenagers are so distracted these days and have so much information to process. Yet many of them lack having a loving adult (who has their best interest in mind) help them think through God’s design for relationships. Outdoor ministry provides opportunity for these conversations.
The 50th Celebration of the Wilderness Act of 64 is this year! A lesser known fact is that Howard Zahniser, who penned the Wilderness Act that set aside wilderness areas for every American, was profoundly inspired by his faith in Christ:
His sense of community was also rooted in his Christian upbringing. Though he had drifted away from Free Methodism by the 1950s and did not belong to any particular denomination, he did remain a Christian, devoted to Christian tenets of stewardship toward the earth. -Mark W. T Harvey, William Cronon
Many of the phrases Howard Zahniser used throughout the law give indication of his love for God, who created the earth. He talks frequently and eloquently about the biblical idea of stewardship. For example, he wrote:
A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
Here is the text of the Wilderness Act of 1964 written by Howard Zahniser
Well-researched trends in youth ministry are pointing to the need for more emphasis on small group outdoor adventure programs. Yet churches, seminaries, and non-profits are still way behind in prioritizing extended outdoor retreats in their student ministry programs. We can help!
Outdoor facilitation is key to making any kind of expedition successful. Communicating to people on matters of safety, fun, and spiritual content absolutely must happen in wilderness ministry. The goal of facilitation is not to just get people to sit still until you are finished talking. You want to impact them and help them grow. […]
There is a growing number of organizations and Christian colleges that offer outdoor education. Our Recommended Outdoor Programs List includes all of the colleges and organizations we recommend. Every year we award colleges and outdoor ministry programs with our Best Outdoor Programs Award if they meet our criteria.