In my philosophy of ministry, outdoor ministry is not a separate ministry that some churches ought to try out as a fun option. Rather I believe Jesus modeled a rhythm of retreat and adventure in his life that produced sustainability in his young disciples, and we ought to follow his model. Adventure-based learning theology is well-established now, but still many churches are missing out on the benefits of outdoor ministry. In my experience, outdoor ministry can bless people of all ages in a church, but the best “fit” for outdoor ministries is to align first with the student ministry programs. Student ministry in a church is very dynamic and tends to grow more than other ministries just because of the enthusiasm and availability of young people as well as their desire to gather with friends. So 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.
OUTDOOR MINISTRY AND STUDENT MINISTRY ARE INEXTRICABLY LINKED
Yet this raises the question, is the student ministry in our church vibrant and sustainable? If the answer is no, then the first place to start is to bolster the vision and health of your student ministry program. The blog post below explains how some of the most healthy and growing youth ministries (both church-based and parachurch) have organized their student ministry programs to reach students year after year. If you want to understand how Linking Outdoor Ministry + Student Ministry = Sustainability, then click the link below.
— Ashley Denton (@OUTDOORLEADERS) October 13, 2014