The Wilderness Retreat is provided as a unique opportunity to grow deeper in relationship with Jesus Christ through the intentional practice of silence, solitude, simplicity, and participation in community. Our chosen means is to embark on a week-long trek into a wilderness setting using llamas as pack animals to assist in carrying our gear. We are very intentional to establish a daily rhythm that includes morning prayer together, work (e.g. washing dishes; filtering water; feeding, watering and caring for the llamas; setting up/breaking camp; other chores as needed), physical exercise as we hike, specified times for silence and/or solitude, meals together, and evening prayer. We chose to simplify our lifestyle by eliminating phones and other distractions, limiting our clothing and equipment to essential needs only, and eating a simple diet. Participation in community life through praying, working, sharing, and worshipping together helps us to better understand what it means to be active participants in the Body of Christ.
Our practice of these disciplines and experiences are guided and supported by engaging three books before and during our journey. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoffer is a challenging classic on what it means to live in genuine Christian community. Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton is a practical introduction to implementing these spiritual exercises into our daily lives in a way that will nurture our souls and spirits. In the Name of Jesus is full of wisdom regarding Christian leadership by Henri Nouwen. As a participant in the Wilderness Retreat, you will be expected to read these books (which we provide for you) and to engage in our conversations as to their content and application.
Because we choose to travel in the wilderness with pack animals, exposed to whatever the prevailing weather may be, each and every trip develops along its own unique path. We must adapt our specific schedule, routes, campsites, and plans based on the conditions that we experience. In general terms, typical hiking days cover 3-5 miles and would seldom exceed 6-7 miles. We do have some layover days in which we stay in one campsite and do not do any extended hiking. In most cases, our weekly mileage is 20-24 miles for the week. The nature of this experience is such that each year we are given the opportunity to see God’s care and provision for us as we trust and adjust throughout the journey. We invite and welcome you to join us as we walk with Jesus.
We limit out team to 12 persons, please begin praying and deciding whether you want to go. The event is open to high school and college students, young adults, and pastors and lay persons of any age! Check out a video from a previous Wilderness Retreat, below.