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7 Reasons Pastors Should Consider Outdoor Ministry in Their Church

November 12, 2020 | Ashley Denton

In [another] post Which Wilderness Ministry Should I Start? Business, Non-profit, or Church-Based? I talked about some pros and cons of each of these approaches. Here are 7 reasons to support why you definitely SHOULD start an outdoor ministry. My most recommended route is a church-based model because it is simple, transformative, low cost, and will help your church grow future leaders.

7 Reasons to Start Outdoor Ministry in Your Church

As a fellow pastor, mission leader, and dad, I want to share 7 reasons why youth or college pastors and men’s and women’s ministry leaders who want to be on the cutting edge of reaching the culture should prioritize wilderness ministry in their church:

1. In our “over-connected” world, there is a great need to escape to the wilderness – to places where God’s creation is clearly evident and unscathed, and He can get our attention.

2. God’s creation of the wilderness offers unprecedented beauty and perspective.

3. Combating busyness with more programs is not going to transform the souls of people. Developing Jesus’ rhythm of retreat will.

4. Experiential learning offers natural decision-making scenarios that teach young people how to avoid trivial emotional distractions that can consume them. Wilderness journeys draw out the best in people by confronting their fears and exposing the traps of entitlement. The wilderness helps sever the entanglements that strangle away God’s epoch vision for our lives.

5. When the stakes were high, the wilderness was one of God’s favorite instruments to make sure that permanent community transformation took place.

6. Jesus chose a group of young people to turn the world upside down, he used the wilderness as his primary classroom, and he employed adventure to produce radical commitment toward his mission.

7. If Jesus chose the wilderness as a favorite setting to shape his disciples into dynamic leaders, then is it not equally critical in our increasingly urban world for people to encounter Him through wilderness adventure?

Ashley Denton

Professor of Outdoor Leadership & World Mission

Author of Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice, Dr. Ashley Denton serves as a professor of Outdoor Leadership & World Mission at […]

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