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SROM’s mission, in the context of technical deep wilderness expeditions, is to birth and grow mature Christ followers; sons and daughters of light who become loving and loyal disciples who make disciples of all nations.
SROM’s core values are the foundation upon which we build our programming and culture. They are the ‘why’ of the mission of SROM. We believe the four core values of The Glory of God, King and Kingdom, Father and Family, and The Nations are the most prominent teachings of scripture, the ongoing conversation of the Trinity, and the culture of heaven.
Core Course Components
The core course components of SROM exist to define concrete examples of how the mission is accomplished through the ministry. These course components are rooted and grounded in the essence of the mission statement. SROM believes these course components express the fruit of the mission statement in the lives of the SROM Board of Directors, staff, and students.
Over 100 times in the Bible the text explicitly identifies lives being changed as a result of a wilderness journey. Noah, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus all spent 40 days in wilderness environments. SROM follows this biblical model. SROM offers a cutting edge approach to evangelism and catalytic growth that leads people into a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ. Throughout history, God has used the solitude and simplicity of wilderness settings to transform lives.
Students are provided with daily ‘TAG’ time – Time Alone with God – during which they are encouraged to journal or practice classical spiritual disciplines such as Bible study and prayer. Group Bible studies, devotionals, and facilitated discussions are typically held in the evenings. SROM also provides backpacking guitars for group worship.
Instructors can plan and guide solo experiences ranging from 2- to 48-hours. Solos can be a time of profound discernment, learning, or revelation. Instructors carefully prepare students before the solo and facilitate processing the experience immediately after it concludes. Each student is provided with food and shelter, a designated area to stay in and a method of contacting an instructor.
Wilderness environments provide an ideal setting to develop leadership skills through the progression of education, modeling, observation, evaluation, and application. On SROM courses, people learn to submit to leadership, establish leadership, and express leadership. Students learn the fundamentals of Biblical leadership while forming skills and abilities that help them lead others toward achieving common goals. SROM is unique in developing Biblical leadership skills of students within the context of wilderness expeditions. SROM teaches leadership techniques, attitudes, and behavior while emphasizing integrity and communication skills. Instructors help identify the gifts, talents, and potential weakness of each student and then mentor them, helping develop their ability as a leader and understanding of Biblical leadership principles.
During week-long courses, students are required to serve in teams of two as Leaders of the Day (LOD). LODs are taught how to read topographic maps and each morning prepare and present a wilderness travel plan to the rest of the group. Wilderness travel plans include distance to be traveled, elevation gain and loss, objective hazards, water sources, as well as estimated times of departure, rest breaks, and arrival time at the next location. LODs are also responsible for shepherding people, and utilizing gifts, knowledge, and wisdom within the group. Each LOD is debriefed by instructors and fellow students at the end of each day.
Cell phones, text messaging, email, and social media make people feel like they are connected. However, this communication is often shallow and banal, leaving most people feeling lonely and isolated. While American culture promotes individualism, God created people to live within authentic community. Most of the Apostle Paul’s commands are plural in the ancient Greek; we can only be fully obedient to God within the context of community. We grow most in spiritual maturity in the context of community, not as individuals. Healthy leaders too, are built within community and lead within the context of community. It is within community that people can minister to one another, receive from one another, and hold each other accountable. Iron sharpens iron. SROM courses provide profound opportunities to unplug from technology, let facades fall, and learn what authentic Christian community can look like. SROM instructors can incorporate specific community-building or team-building experiences into any custom course.
Character is not just how a person acts; it includes a person’s thoughts, motives, and attitudes. SROM courses foster integration of academic learning, spiritual formation, and leadership competencies. The course contexts require living outside of comfort zones, overcoming trials and challenges, self-discipline, and facing individual fears – each of which contribute to dependence upon God, and the interdependence of the students and their instructors. Encounters with God and facing challenges both individually and within community will foster growth in healthy relationships, trust, emotional maturity, and personal integrity. Accountability is also central to character formation and effective leadership. Christian character is not trying on our own to “do the right thing.” True character development consists of awareness and a growing formation of the image of Christ within the lives of people. People with character live as examples worthy of following. SROM courses build character.
SROM provides instruction covering a large amount of technical skills and techniques for living in the backcountry. Depending on course objectives and length, students may learn backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and practices, high altitude physiology, nutrition, cooking, hygiene, and other topics.
Hard skills that can be taught and practiced include backpacking, basic rock climbing craft and technique, belaying, lead and sport climbing technique, rappelling, rock anchors and hardware, crack climbing, friction climbing, multi-pitch climbing, self belay and self arrest with an ice axe, German and French snow climbing technique with crampons, snow descent techniques, snow anchors and hardware, roped snow travel, mountaineering, and backcountry fishing.
In addition to the skills mentioned above, students on any backpacking course will be taught:
- Packing their backpacks
- Food preparation and backcountry cooking using stoves and fires
- Reading maps and using a compass
- Route finding and campsite selection
- Leave No Trace principles and Biblical creation stewardship