I remember someone telling me they didn’t understand why anyone would want to hike because you can see just about anything you wanted from your car. Yeah, seeing it is cool, but how about seeing it, smelling it, hearing it, feeling it, and tasting it? God gave us five senses for a reason.
My recent trip to the San Juan Islands north of Seattle causes me to consider how to resist the rising tide of excuses in my life. How do we apply the adage “just do it” to our journey as a follower of Jesus? Outdoor recreation helps us break the habit of making excuses.
Do we love adventure for what we get out of it, or do we love it because it bends us more toward dependency on God? Leading others in the wilderness with attention to risk management requires hard skills to protect your group, but even more importantly, it demands having a shepherd-like heart.
Here are 100 of Ashley Denton’s top blogposts on wilderness leadership and outdoor leadership for 2012.
Imagine working on the International Space Station, having to live in such close proximity with a team of other people for weeks at a time. That requires a unique team. The wilderness helps groups quickly work through interpersonal and problem-solving issues to efficiently establish cohesiveness.
Do you ever struggle with making decisions? Do you tend to be indecisive in making a choice? This happens when we over-analyze, and become paralyzed by details and choices to the point where we either avoid making a decision or put it off, way to long! The wilderness is a prime training ground for making you and I a good decision maker.
I want to introduce you a section of a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon that gives me pause during this time of harvest. He was a pastor in London in the late 1800′s, but he had a real affinity for the countryside and the outdoors. In his book, Farm Sermons, you can read some of his messages to country congregations. They are very insighful, especially to urban dwellers who, in his words, live in a world surrounded by “dungy bricks.”
Great leaders, don’t necessarily long for those hills to run, but they know hills can’t be avoided for growth to occur. Hills we climb in ministry are like mile markers in a leader’s journey.
Like the night I survived a terrifying lightning storm with my two other 12 year old friends at the base of Hawk Peak one summer, we often witness God’s goodness and power through being exposed to the wildness of his Creation. And if God chooses, he will usher us into an encounter with him through those wilderness experiences. The book of Job is overflowing with powerful outdoor ministry curriculum. It is about how one man encountered God face to face through the wildness of Creation.
Like a trade-show of ideas, a recent three-day event highlighted ways to connect with young people and probe their need for Christ. Social Media was a hot topic, and it reminded me of why so many of us believe wilderness leadership is the healthy sandwich that our Cheetos youth culture is starving for.