One of the most central aspects of Ekklesia is that it happens in the wilderness. At EMH, we believe that God works through wilderness in order to teach people about Himself, refine their character, and challenge their perception of the world by removing them from their everyday settings and placing them in a world away from distractions. A wilderness setting...
...provides a quiet without distractions that clears your vision and allows you to hear the voice of God.
...offers real challenges with real consequences that demand your humility and cooperation, fostering servant leadership and character formation.
This is why EMH has created a program that will allow students to experience rigorous academic learning combined with holistic, integrative, and applied aspects that will deepen knowledge, strengthen retention, and develop critical thinking skills as learners explore connections to the real world.
The five courses that particularly target wilderness learning will allow you to experience God’s creation, have the opportunity to practice leadership skills, grow together with fellow students in community, apply what you are learning in the classroom setting, be challenged mentally (as well as spiritually and physically), gain wilderness skills (such as rock climbing, backpacking, orienteering, winter travel, telemark skiing, basic avalanche awareness, etc.), get more connected to God, and be away from distractions. Through the holistic approach, you will have some amazing adventures.
Just a few more things you ought to know:
...strips away your comfort and leaves you aware of your need for God.
...creates a setting in which learning is done by acting rather than sitting idly around; you will learn because you have to do it for yourself.
...builds community by requiring you to depend on others in order to succeed.
...targets the whole person, engaging the mind, body, and spirit.
5 Wilderness Courses
This ten day course will set the stage for the rest of the year as you explore the Great Sand Dune National Park. You will learn to cook gourmet on a backpacking stove, read a map, seek out safe and beautiful routes, learn how to lead and manage a group, construct shelters under a night sky spattered with stars, and more. You will start high in the alpine as you visit lakes, climb a peak, and learn skills. Then you will drop down onto the striking dunes and spend a night alone as you discover the power of being on a solo. You will discover worshiping God through stewardship as you apply the Leave No Trace principles.
After ten days in the Colorado National Monument and Moab, Utah, you will have gained comprehensive rock-climbing skills, including knots, belaying, rope management, top-rope climbing, and rappelling. You will build leadership as you practice climbing ethics and complete a multi-pitch climb on some of the most striking and drastic landscapes in the Rocky Mountains and Utah desert. And you will build community and trust as you rappel over an 184 foot cliff. You will also visit the amazing Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.
On this course, you will travel on skis to a hut in the Rocky Mountains. You will practice snow route finding, receive avalanche training, and learn safe winter travel techniques. This five-day course includes our leadership seminar. Up to this point you have practiced being a leader, but now we take time to examine in detail what leadership is all about and what it takes to be a true leader. What makes a Christian leader? What are good leadership skills? What does it mean to be a servant leader? You will explore all these questions and more.
On this 5 day course you will build on skills learned from course 3. This time you will learn more about winter camping as you actually sleep outside in a snow cave your group will build. You will also learn winter survival skills, such as how your body loses heat, how to recognize and treat injuries due to cold, and strategies for keeping warm. You will also learn mountaineering skills such as rope travel, self arrest, and self belay and will have the opportunity to practice basic ice climbing. Community will deepen not only because of continued devotionals and prayer time, but also because of the intense environment that requires cooperation for success.
The fifth course is an exciting ten-day desert and canyon course in the magnificent Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and the surrounding area. You will hike below the rim of the Grand Canyon, discovering the majesty and variety of God in the many geologic layers and habitats of the canyon. You will practice leadership and application of knowledge as you plan and lead the course. Adult staff will provide support, but you the students will apply what you have learned throughout the year by making the majority of the decisions.
Labs on Fridays and some Saturdays will prepare you for each of the adventure courses so that you can develop the unique skills necessary to give you a head start before each course. Students will also have opportunity to increase their leadership skills as they help teach each other and students from DPCA.
Welcome Weekend and Preparation for the Course 1:
Spend the weekend preparing for the first course and the year that you will spend with your classmates. Learn the techniques of cooking gourmet in the backcountry, how and what has God taught people in the wilderness, and develop goals for the community are just a few of things you will experience during that first weekend.
Course 2 Preparation:
Learn knots, anchors, belaying skills, and other basic rock climbing skills.
Course 4 Preparation:
Build a quinzee snow shelter and spend a night in it in order to experience winter camping.
Spend a couple of Fridays and Saturdays on the slopes of Ski Cooper for an afternoon of telemark ski lessons. Learn about back country travel in avalanche zones, and how to stay warm in extreme cold temperatures.
Course 5 Preparation:
Learn about desert travel and how to navigate in a serious of canyons. Students will also help plan the logistics of course 4, so they will need this time to make the trip happen.
Mission Adventure Preparation:
Spend lab time praying and preparing spiritually, logistically, and culturally for the over-seas mission trip. Learn about the country you will be traveling to and have a plan for when you are there. Make sure your heart is focused on Christ and the people in your destination country. Get ready to serve and spread the Gospel message to the lost world.
Missions and Service
Outreach and missions are the foundation of Ekklesia as we create a community where students live out of their love for Christ and one another. Living in community and learning to be disciples of Christ are aimed at one thing: equipping us to go out into the world and serve. Why are missions so important?
Ekklesia aims to produce students who gain their strength and identity through Christ, who experience joy and freedom in that relationship, and who are so overwhelmed by Christ himself that they want to share Him with other people.
Missions is an overflow of a true community of Christian believers who share the burdens of this world together and meet the needs of people around them (just read Acts 2 and 4). The lack of true community is a large obstacle that believers have to overcome. Society promotes individualism, institutionalizing, and self-gratification. People are isolated, alone and afraid. You will live in Christian community, and the goal of it is that you live outside of yourself and meet the needs of the lonely and isolated people around you.
Knowledge and academics are important, but they are meaningless without active love (see 1 Cor. 13). Jesus says the world will know we are his disciples by our love. This can’t just be somethingwe talk about in the classroom. It must be something we live out.
...at least once a month
...by living out what you are learning
...through a wide variety of service opportunities
...by planning and leading the service projects
...through sharing your mountain adventure with others
Service projects will include
and much more.
God has a Plan that reaches to every nation. All peoples will be represented around His Throne. He is bigger than what we see, and He wants us to have a vision that is bigger as well. Go. Be His witnesses. To the end of the world.
The most important part of your experience at Ekklesia is the 14-20 day overseas mission experience. Although the destination has not been determined, DPCA has connections all over the world, from Kenya to Nepal to Romania to Scotland. You will be a part of the process of praying and deciding where God is leading you to go. You will prepare in a variety of ways during the year as you follow God’s calling. For more information on the preparation process, click here.
Our goal is to have a mission experience that will not only allow you to work with and serve people, but also to practice the outdoor and leadership skills you have learned.
(Note: Tuition does not include the cost of the mission trip. You will be doing fundraisers and writing support letters throughout the year as preparation. The act of relying on God for provision will stretch your faith as much as any other experience you will have at Ekklesia. We estimate the cost will be between $2000 and $4000, depending on the destination.)