Hiking and ministry may seem like an odd couple but they work perfectly.
Shortly after moving to Taiwan my wife and I went hiking. We realized while we were out in nature that it would be a great way to build relationships and minister to our friends. Hiking may not seem like common ministry in a city with over 6 million people, but that is why it is perfect. So many people in Taipei have never left the city and been in nature. My wife and I work in college ministry and love taking students out of the city for several hours on a fun hike. There are a few things to think about when using hiking as a ministry.
What is your purpose for the hike
Who are the people you’re hiking with
Where you are going and how to get there
What to bring
1. The Purpose
The first thing to think about is the purpose. Why do you want to take people hiking and what goal do you have in mind? We think about this question all the time before we get a group together to go hiking. Hiking can be used for all different types of ministries, activities, and people. Whether you’re taking new friends or old friends there are many different places and ways to go hiking.
2. Whose Going?
The second thing we always take into consideration is the people we will be hiking with. Have they been hiking many times before, have they never left the city, or somewhere in-between. Thankfully Taiwan is full of hiking options for all levels. Many times we would take new friends on an easy hike to gauge their hiking level and to help us develop a relationship with them. Beginner hikes tend to be shorter and have more walking paths that allow people to carry on conversations better. They are a great way to get to know new friends or people you are trying to share the gospel with. More advanced or complicated hikes can be a great way to exercise and just be out in nature with friends.
3. Where are you going and how to get there?
The third thing to think about may seem obvious but many times it is something that people overlook. Most hiking trails in Taipei are easy to get to either by bus or MRT. Some of the advanced hikes require a train or car to get to. Many times busses only stop at the trailheads a few times a day so it can sometimes be hard to time when to go back.
4. What to Bring?
The fourth and final thing on the list would be “what to bring.” Anytime we go hiking we always remind people to bring at least one bottle of water and a snack to eat while hiking. We also bring bug spray and sunscreen for everyone to use and a first aid kit if anyone needs it. Many of the hikes in Taiwan have rope sections and most of our friends will use gloves to protect their hands. We will also plan a short Bible study that we can talk about when eating our snacks on the hike.
- Bottle of Water
- Bug Spray
- Phone and Charger (for pictures and in case of emergency)
- Gloves (optional)
These are just a few of the things we think about every time we go hiking. Just remember to do your research, think about the friends that will be joining you, and talk about the glory of God’s creation. We serve a wonderful God and should be so thankful every time we get to explore His creation.