by Ashley Denton
People today are yearning to be freed from the chaotic pace of modern life. Busyness has only deepened our starvation for experiences that cause true transformation. Wilderness ministry aims at helping people find more peace and productivity by imitating Jesus’ rhythm of work and retreat.
As hectic as our world seems, first century Palestine had distractions and burdens that were equally concerning. There were distractions of prosperity, poverty, and false religions. There were weighty burdens of Pharisaical laws and bitter Roman occupation. As Jesus looked into the culture of His day He settled on a surprising strategy to change the world: He chose a group of young Disciples, He used the wilderness as His primary classroom, and He employed adventure to produce radical commitment toward His mission. He knew that people needed time in the outdoors for soul rest and mind renewal. God has always used wilderness experiences to draw out the best in people by confronting their fears and exposing traps of entitlement. Jesus used the wilderness with His Disciples to sever worldly entanglements that choked their faith.
It is critical in our increasingly urban world for people to have opportunities to encounter Jesus through wilderness experiences. Wilderness ministry is about connecting people to Jesus Christ through outdoor adventure. Dr. Ashley Denton’s book, Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice will help you re-discover the ancient discipleship method, which produced leaders such as Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Jacob, David, Peter, James, John, and Paul. Each of them were profoundly called and shaped by God in the wilderness.