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Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice: How to use Time in the Wilderness and Backcountry Adventure Camping for Leadership ... Learning and Bible Study Resources Paperback – January 5, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

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.  This book will show you how to find more peace and productivity by imitating Jesus Christ's rhythm of 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.

From the Back Cover

It is critical in our increasingly urban world for people to have opportunities to encounter Jesus through wilderness experiences. This book 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: SMOOTH STONE PUBLISHING (January 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615413250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615413259
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Christian Outdoor Leadership was inspirational! This book made my top ten list after only a few minutes into it. If you've ever been on a hike that involved heart-to-heart talks between hikers as they traversed along a day's trail, then reading this book is a lot like walking behind Dr. Ashley Denton and listening to him integrate the beauty and power of the backcountry with the joy and challenge of following Christ in today's world. I loved the way he keeps pointing the reader to Jesus and how Jesus used outdoor experiences to speak truths to hungry souls. Whether you're in ministry as a Christian leader or just drawn to outdoor experiences that bring you closer to God, this book is foundational. You can read it from cover to cover, or browse the table of contents and pick your way through to your heart's content. I will always have a copy of this book in my library and recommend it without hesitation.
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Anyone interested in wilderness ministry and youth culture today must read this book! Anyone interested in creative avenues that lead the church outside of it's 4 walls to know Christ more deeply and share Him more impactfully must read this book too! Denton provides youth today with not another "to do list" for a religion but a compelling way to see, taste, hear, smell, touch, and experience Christ. It is encouraging that there are people out there like Denton looking for innovative ways to teach the Word of God that not only are understandable but leave a lasting impact on those who hear and experience. If you are leaning towards reading this book, buy one and read it! God used the wilderness to powerfully transform people into His likeness, knowing more deeply about Him and themselves. And this book will show you why and how the wilderenss impacts those who are daring enough to step into an adventure! Learning does not need to be boring!
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Because of my vocational background of leading groups in outdoor adventures--backpacking, river running, rock and mountain climbing, and organized youth camping--I was eager to read Christian Outdoor Leadership by Ashley Denton. Here is a book I wish I had when I began my career many years ago. Denton's lifelong love of the outdoors, his years of experience in wilderness ministry (much of it in the Colorado Rockies), his vast knowledge of the Bible's use of the outdoors, and his ability to articulate in writing the theology, theory, and practice of outdoor leadership, make this a valuable tool.

This book does not teach outdoor living skills such as fire building, packing a backpack, or food preparation. It is about how leaders use the wilderness experience to impact the lives of campers. Denton writes from a Christian perspective for biblically sensitive outdoor educators. However, I believe that even those who are nonreligious, such as those I observed during my experience at the Colorado Outward Bound leadership school, could greatly benefit from the many valid educational principles Denton sets forth.

In his preface, Denton builds a strong case for the importance of getting urban youth into the outdoor setting and, much as Jesus did with his disciples, using nature to teach them valuable life lessons. He shares solid theological, psychological, and educational grounds for why adventure-based learning helps young people.

Denton probably does not intend for this book to be carried in one's backpack. He has skillfully organized many outdoor leadership principles into acronyms for easy transference by the reader to a trail pocket journal. For instance to make your outdoor teaching "stick" use the S+T+IC=K model.
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Format: Paperback
"Ashley Denton exposes something that we have clearly lost sight of today. Human beings have known since the beginning that God made his creation as an invaluable gift to help us encounter him personally and learn the secrets of his Kingdom from his handiwork. In Christian Outdoor Leadership, Ashley takes us into the reason why we need outdoor adventure and wilderness ministry. He provides a thorough theology of recreational ministry, and then brings us into a well-developed and comprehensive practical application of what it all means. Christian Outdoor Leadership is more than a book--it is an outstanding resource for every follower of Christ in that it calls us back to a simple and timeless lifestyle of ministry that patterns the life of Jesus. This is a foundational book that I highly recommend!"

-CHAP CLARK, Ph.D., Author, Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers, Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture, Fuller Theological SeminaryHurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers (Youth, Family, and Culture)
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Ashley Denton carefully builds a prominent cairn for practitioners in the field of Christian outdoor leadership and wilderness ministry by expertly pointing new and experienced adventure ministers to the ancient model of how Jesus used the wilderness for outreach and discipleship. This book is refreshing and impressive.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book if you are thinking about starting an outdoor ministry in your church. I found it to have really good thoughts and points. I will say that I would have appreciated a little more personal experience from the author along with additional practical thoughts and advice. It is quite heavy on theory and biblical application, maybe a little too heavy. Still, an excellent resource.
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