Wilderness ReBoot: Solitude, Community & Mission
By Benjamin Reed
on Monday, January 16, 2023
What is Wilderness Reboot?
Wilderness ReBoot is built on Luke 6:12-19 where Jesus shows us the pattern of “solitude, community, and mission".
Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote a tiny book on Luke 6:12-19 called A Spirituality of Living, a Bible study on three themes: solitude, community, and ministry. Every participant at Wilderness Reboot is given a copy of this tiny book. These three themes (solitude, community, and ministry) are addressed in the retreat.
Who is Wilderness Reboot for?
Young people ages twenty-one to early thirties, who grew up cross culturally with parents who were missionaries or serving God overseas are invited to:
- get away from screens and the internet
- learn and practice how to be in solitude with their Creator
- share some of their story with others who have had similar experiences
- receive encouragement in pursuing their future
My Wilderness Journey beginnings…
My first love for the wilderness started on a wilderness backpacking trip with my dad. Later it grew on a canoe trip on the Missouri River and helping lead one-hundred-mile horse trips.
In the fall of 1988, I spent a semester in the wilderness with a small group of leaders-in-training. We had “hands on” training for many different applications of outdoor life in summer, fall and winter settings. It changed my life!
One of the best assignments was a solo trip where I built a campsite by myself in the bush. I spent 3 nights and 4 days fasting and took only water, my bible and journal, and survival gear. It was a chance for me, as a young man, to be alone with God, to push in by faith, and to process what had happened to me during the course.
Through my outdoor course, I faced a lot of fear, had so much fun, encountered awe and wonder of God in amazing beauty, and saw how small I was. I sang my heart out to God, I cried some tears, and I kept the fire going for 4 days. I prayed a lot about my future. This was my introduction to practice what Jesus did in Luke 6, spending all night in solitude with God. I often think back to this solo in the mountains and how it helped me to move forward as a young man. This continued into Central Asia where we served.
At Wilderness ReBoot, we give short daily, interactive 15 to 20-minute practical Bible training times about being alone with God and then release people to find space around the camp and be in solitude. Some draw or sketch, some write poetry or prose, others pray or sing, read or even take a nap. We teach that the foundational principle is that of honesty in our thoughts and writing.
Jesus showed us in Luke 6 how highly he held relationships by choosing twelve men to walk with and invest in. Jesus showed us that we need to know others and to be known. Being known by others produces fear, anxiety and lots of doubt.
Considering this, we spend our evenings at Wilderness ReBoot around the fire, sharing our stories in a more formalized way. Staff and participants each pick a time period in their life and tell their story for twenty minutes. Every night we have two to three people share. No one forces anyone to go into anything they don’t want to.
This is a group listening exercise where we desire to honor and respect the story that is being written in the life of the person who speaks. We reflect what we have heard to make sure that we heard correctly, we share from the heart about what moved our emotions as the person shared, and then we pause in absolute quiet to pray. It is an honor to be let into the story of another and is a holy place.
Surrendering our Gifts & Abilities
After Jesus had been alone in solitude, and then gathered his disciples into community, he invited them into ministry. I submit that all skills and abilities given to God help advance the kingdom of God. Work is blessed by God, and I regret the so called “secular/sacred” labels. We all need encouragement in pursing our future.
I understand that I am to hunger and thirst for God and to see the wilderness as a special place to show up and be still. I do not chase the biggest trip, or thrill, or selfie or adrenaline rush that the adventure tourism industry tries to market. Earlier, I surrendered my desires to God in the wilderness as sinful and of the “flesh”. When I did that, Jesus later gave this desire back with a transformed motivation.
We won’t solve everyone’s problem in a week in the mountains. But we hope to communicate:
- You are not alone.
- We can have a lot of fun as we do amazing things together, safely, in the mountains.
- God wants to meet with you.
- Encouragement to you in your future pursuits!
You can find out all the details about the next Wilderness ReBoot, as well as registration links here: Wilderness ReBoot . Or contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out the Wilderness ReBoot Facebook page here: Wilderness ReBoot on Facebook
Ben and his wife Marlene have been in missionary life for 30+ years, serving in Kyrgyzstan and Canada. Currently, Ben serves as a care worker with the MORE Network, in the areas of spiritual direction and pastoral care within the overseas worker community, prayer ministry, and re-entry debriefing. Ben speaks two languages of Central Asia, plays the Komuz, and loves cultural music and learning about world culture. Ben also loves hiking in the great outdoors, running, swimming and biking. Ben and Marlene have been married for 30+ years, have three adult children, and are enjoying being first time grandparents.