Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sandboarding Lessons (Outdoor Leadership)

"My friend, Ben in Peru is thinking like a leader. He and some of his pals have started a ministry called Inca Thaki which uses snowboards on sand dunes… a.k.a. “sandboarding.” I heard today that Ben and his leadership team took a group of underprivileged youngsters from a dump in Trujillo out sandboarding last weekend for the first time in their life! And, Joca, one of their leaders has written and designed a Devotional Book that he’s ready to publish for the sandboarding ministry.

Check out this short video...

From observing these young leaders in action, here are 4 lessons we can learn from sandboarding with Inca Thakhi in Peru:


Ben and his team care about kids so they have found a way to reach them. The Prophet Joel holds out a strong and hopeful vision for how God will draw young people to himself in every generation:

"And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions." (Joel 2:28)

The implication here is that the church must value and respect young people. And we must pursue them with the Gospel. Any community or city that will seriously commit to coming alongside young people in a meaningful way will see the fruits of that commitment. And any community or city that abandons kids will pay dearly for it.


Imagine the conversation: “What are we going to do to get kid’s attention here? What would be a fun way to build relationships with them to build a platform for sharing the Gospel with them? Hmmm… I know! We’ve got sand dunes… what if we bought some snowboards and used them for sandboarding? Great idea, let’s do it!”

I wonder, “Are you and I having the same conversations in our churches?” What terrain do you have available to you? What could you do to attract the attention of young people to build bridges of friendship with them as a platform to proclaim the Gospel? Just brainstorm that a bit with some friends in your church and I guarantee God will give you some great ideas.

True leaders, like these guys adapt to new conditions and fill vacuums of leaderlessness in their communities.


Inca Thaki is a ministry that recognizes kids are lost in their community. They feel lost, abandoned, and unloved. So these young leaders are doing something to address those felt needs. They are building relationships with kids, and they are using adventure as a bridge to deepen those relationships so they can embody and proclaim the Gospel in word and deed.

RELATED POST: Carving New Tracks | What Snowboarding and Missions Have in Common

Why I love outdoor ministry is because it is a cheap but powerful way to do ministry. Just set up a coffee with some of your friends who love Jesus, the outdoors, and adventure, and brainstorm the terrain you have available to you near your town. It could be mountains, plains, rivers, lakes, sand dunes, seas, cliffs, canyons, desert, whatever. Now think about how God has used terrains such as these throughout biblical history and you’ll come up with a cornucopia of ideas for outdoor ministry. If you want some ideas how to use Creation to connect kids to Christ, you can always refer to my book, Christian Outdoor Leadership, which dives into the deep well of that concept.

What is your church or community doing to meet the felt needs of young people in your community? How are you actively building relationships with young people in your community and insuring that every kid gets a chance to hear the Gospel through a caring adult leader? What terrain do you have to work with near your community that you could creatively harness for God’s glory? Inca Thakhi has done this by creating a sandboarding ministry that uses the sand dunes in their backyard!"

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