How do we Find Jesus in the Outdoors?

We’ve all been a part of some kind of team building exercise, low ropes course/initiative game or high ropes course. Some of us have been on multi-day or multi-week expeditions where we’re intentionally pushed to live in the “growth” (or groan!) zone. We’re encouraged to embrace the physical challenge, marvel in the majesty and beauty of the surroundings and engage with nature by simplifying our lives, tuning out distractions and meditating while on the journey. Inevitably, there is a time of briefing and debriefing and connections are made between the physical activity and how it relates to growing as an individual, building teamwork and how the lessons learned in the outdoors relate to life back home in the “real-world”. These are good experiential learning activities and a good facilitator will go deep and find ways to help participants make significant and lasting connections.

In Christian outdoor ministry circles, we add the dimension of using the experience to highlight, or deepen, our understanding of God, faith, trust in him, overcoming fear, worshiping freely and connecting with our Creator. Unfortunately, I’ve observed that drawing connections and helping “outdoor people” receive revelation about God by engaging with the created order can sometimes fall short, leaving people thinking, “That’s it? I want solid food, not milk.” We want deep, meaningful revelation about God through our adventures and experiences in the wilderness, but all too often we settle for a shallow reminder, the low hanging fruit, the “right answer”.

So what would it look like to go deep with God in nature or while engaging in outdoor pursuits?

So what would it look like to go deep with God in nature or while engaging in outdoor pursuits? Something at a deep level… something that brings life-transforming revelation and action? Does it depend on the person? Does is rely on sound facilitation? Is it done individually or does it come in the context of community (the church)? Can you do it only in silence and solitude? Does it only happen if you’re dirt-bagging it and don’t have any creature comforts around you?

We don’t have all the answers in Endurance DTS or at YWAM Montana – Lakeside, but we have learned a few things through the years. Here’s some food for thought… First, we’ve observed that incorporating the Word of God into outdoor programming is integral to fostering an environment of growth that creates sustained change. Meditating on Psalm 36:5-6 for weeks on end while pushing yourself physically in Montana’s Big Sky Country doesn’t leave you hanging! Second, we see Jesus when we serve others. Others – both outdoor enthusiasts and those who have needs and happen to live in the most beautiful parts of the world (remote locations off the beaten path!), that is where Jesus is found! He is on the field, fulfilling his mission to merge heaven and earth together. It is when we use our God-given passion for adventure and partner with him in his ministry that he gives us revelation about his father, his kingdom and who he has made us to be.

We desire the deep things of God in the Endurance DTS. We desire lasting transformation. Want to join us? Be part of it!

 

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At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!

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