Church-based outdoor ministries have shown to be effective and successful. True North is a Western Canadian based church that uses creation to point to the Creator. This church believes in the power of the outdoors so much that it has rearranged its entire format to leverage people to experience our creator in the outdoors.
WHY TRUE NORTH?
It’s called True North because in order to find your way in this world physically you need to find true north, to find your way spiritually however we believe you have to find Jesus, so Jesus is our true north.
Because this is actually a church, not just a ministry, they gather Wednesday evenings for a typical service and on the weekend participate in life groups of 10 to 15 people. Once a month each life group has the opportunity to go out with a certified True North guide and the life group leader on a one or two day backpacking excursion. Here, out of their element, people grow in their knowledge of God’s creation by learning bush craft, survival skills, orientation, botany, a love for Jesus, themselves and for each other. They teach what we call Spiritual parallels: for every physical skill taught, there is a Spiritual parallel skill. For example, if the teaching about the safety element of hiking with a buddy, they will also address the importance of accountability partners in the Christian faith. In this way they make sure to always be focusing on God the Creator.
True North also supplies high quality complete sets of backpacking gear in exchange for a donation of any size. They do this because they strongly feel that everyone should be able to experience a backpacking trip in their life and a lot of people either don’t have the funds or don’t want to spend $1500 on gear they might only use once or twice a year.