Sometimes changing direction is hard, other times it is a natural as breathing or waking up in a tent on a sunny day. We have changed a few things about trek lately and it has feels as natural as an old pair of hiking boots. Those of you who have been on a Trek with us in the past will remember that for the past 41 years we have primarily only allowed high school groups to come with us on Trek. While this age group will continue to be a large part of our programs, we have developed some new additions to our programs moving forward.
Starting this year, we will be offering more trips for college students, young adults, and families. Why may you ask? For the simple reason that we feel called to reach new generations for Christ and to build Gods Kingdom through faith-based outdoor experiences.
Did you know that some of the latest studies show that young adults ages 18-22 are disappearing from the church at an alarming rate? “Where are they going?” you may ask? Well according to a study done by the Outdoor industry, they are going outside.
According to the report, 51.1 million Americans below the ages of 24 participated in one or more “outdoor recreation activities” such as hiking, biking, backpacking, fishing or skiing, in 2016. That is 56% of all females and 54% of all males ages 18-24. That means MORE YOUNG ADULTS AGES 18-24 ARE OUTSIDE THAN AT CHURCH.
This has us thinking a lot about Acts 17. In acts 17 the apostle Paul is walking around in the city of Athens. While walking around he notices there are many idols of worship and alters all dedicated to an array of gods, known and unknown. Later while speaking to a group Paul says in verse 22 “I notice that you are very religious, for as I was walking along I saw your many alters. One of them had the inscription, ‘to an unknown God”. It is here that Paul says something that rings true to who we are at Wilderness Trek. Paul says, “that which you worship and do not know, I will now show you”. What does this verse have to do with outdoor ministry? Simple, we show people who God is. We believe that nature is one of the best teachers about who God is. From how seasons change or how a forest re-grows after a fire, to how individual each snowflake is and how water sustains life, nature holds many sermons and illustrations about Gods plan for our life.
This verse illustrates our desire to reach new generations and ages with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ through outdoor ministry. While they may not know it, generations of young men and women are trying to connect with the creator of the universe through outdoor activities. The woods are filled with people “looking to find themselves” we believe they are looking for God and as Paul would say we just want to show them, “that which they worship but do not know”
It may be easy to see this and think we are “leaving our past” or “getting away from what we have always been about” but if you have ever been on a Trek with us you may remember we taught you to stop and pause and listen to the call of God. (That is the core of every solo day) It was during this pause that we felt called by God to “go out and make disciples” of more age groups than we were currently serving.
We will continue to always offer leadership and discipleship programs to high school students and youth groups, we will just now also offer them to college students, young adults, families, and others as we seek to spread the word about how nature shows us God up close and personal. Our mission has always been to help teens see God clearly through an outdoor experience, we will now also show other age groups the power of coming to know God through His creation.
To engage with us on this journey, make sure and check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or snapchat.