LeaderTrek is a ministry of building men as leaders that centers on 3 things: Jesus Christ, a man’s life, & the challenges & beauty of God’s wilderness creation.Brent Hoover
Each of us is a man created by God — a body-soul-mind-emotions enveloped in relationships, and pursuing a life calling. We go into the mountains together in pursuit of Him! We come with all of our past history and seek to bond together as brothers of one Father who know that we need one another!
Holistic preparation is important. Remember how the LORD told Abram to go up on the mountain to worship Him? It took preparation, thought, and effort. Our first leadership lesson is this: a man must prepare his heart well for the journey. Heart preparation, or the lack of it, will often determine the outcome.
I serve full-time in a Christian ministry whose reason for existence is this: Healthy Leaders: Be One. Build Many. We believe in intentional life transformation using the things Jesus used to change lives. He uses spiritual, relational, experiential and instructional dynamics.
We know that God is the one who builds us and so we must truly look to Him, rely on Him, and pray and build a strong spiritual environment for our LeaderTrek. We also see God using our relational context to shape us. He will use all that we do now and on the trek to experientially challenge us. And He will use His word, the Scriptures, to shape us.
So to prepare holistically please do the following:
Have an Intercessors Team.
Personally ask at least 3 or more people to be your LeaderTrek Intercessors Team and have them pray with you several times before and during your trek. Think and pray for a few days and then ask them. This is not optional! The reason is what I wrote above. We must LIVE in dependence on Him. When you ask them to be your prayer team let them know how important it is. God will use their prayers to give you strength! One of them could be your wife but we want you to have people outside your family, preferably some men in your life who know and love you. (This will challenge them too!). Try to find people who have a special desire for praying for people.
Don’t just use a group email or Facebook approach. You can let many people know and ask for prayer, but I’m asking that you actually ask someone personally to specifically pray for you. They could do with you on the phone or in person but the goal is to have the pray with you and for you. As men we learn to be humble and receive prayer and depend more on God than on ourselves. It will be a blessing!
Share about your LeaderTrek with your church leaders.
Let your pastors or elders know that you are going on LeaderTrek and that this is a ministry seeking to build men holistically into better men and that our goal is to build better leaders for His church. Your pastor might faint, but he certainly will be thankful because so few men have ever told him that was their personal goal — to seek to serve the church of Jesus Christ.
We live in an individualized society and unfortunately our spiritual growth is far too dependent on our own efforts. We are part of the body and each member of His body must grow and serve. If your pastor doesn’t know you introduce yourself to him 🙂
Climb flights of stairs every week for 6 weeks. We want this to teach us a new lifestyle discipline to love our body before, during, and after LeaderTrek.
Here is the physical training plan:
- first 2 weeks — 20 flights 3 times a week;
- second 2 weeks — 40 flights 3 times a week;
- last two weeks — 50 flights 3 times a week with a backpack of 20 lbs.
If you do this you will enjoy your backpacking days. If not, you may slow everyone else down — we will love you still, but it will be tough love.
That is 18 workouts of challenging your heart and legs! That is minimum.
Of course if you are a marathon runner, an MMA fighter, an NFL football player, then you probably do not have to do this. You may substitute other forms of exercise 1 time per week. But you need to do stairs because it will train your cardio and legs quickly for hiking in the wilderness. A stair climbing machine at a fitness center, or climbing real hills is also adequate.
Remember, we are hiking up 2,000 feet and 7 miles with a 40 lbs backpack on day one! Most people say it is more challenging than it sounds due to hiking in the desert sand with lots of ups and downs.
Read or listen to the book “Wild At Heart.” Underline or take notes. You can get a free subscription to Audible with a free audio book to try it while you drive or walk. Spend time reading Scripture each week — the Gospel of John or Colossians or I John.
Workout and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night to boost immune system and eat right. Especially with Covid I’m asking you last 3 weeks as much as possible to stay away from crowds. As with all backpack trips it would be a real bummer if anyone got sick or injured. We take precautions and respond as needed. In most situations that are serious we evacuate the sick person.
Begin thinking about your life story. That means how God shaped you since you were a young boy. There were people, experiences, suffering, turning points, Scripture, books, the Holy Spirit, and many lessons along the way. During our trek will will share our stories. Part of being a man of God is understanding our stories and sharing them and listening to other men do the same. A coherent life story is a powerful step in your growth and service to others.
Most men go right to this one first! They think too much about what to bring and what kind of gear. That’s just men! We go for practical stuff. But if you do the preparation above 1-6, almost any gear will do fine because your purpose is to know God and yourself better.
The second leadership lesson of LeaderTrek is actually knowing what NOT to bring. This is like life. We often carry too many things and if you do that you will pay a price! My goal is to help you bring only what you need.
I will send a full list but these are the big things to have:
- 65 liter capacity backpack with a very comfortable fit and waste belt. The capacity matters — it must be 65L or larger.
- Down sleeping bag with a 0 to 20 degree rating.
Two reasons for this — down is light and easy to carry and stuff. I buy zero degree rating because I don’t like to get cold.
Those ratings only mean you can “survive” at the lowest rating. It does not mean it will keep you comfortable. So, for example, if you get a 28 degree bag and it is 32 out that night, you will be very cold and won’t be able to sleep.
We will be in the desert on this LeaderTrek. It is possible that we will have warm or even hot weather. But you always have to be prepared. We could have a freezing night.
My theory is that I buy a sleeping bag for the worst conditions. Next trek might be in the high mountains, so I buy the warmest. Yes, we might get hot weather and you would not need it at all. In that case you just unzip and use it. But you went prepared. And I hope you could go on many mountain adventures in the future and if you get a nice pack and gear you won’t have to buy it again for many years.
As with all these things — it is up to you!!
- Sleeping pad — you can go very simple with a foam fold up pad. That is fine for many.
It offers minimal but decent protection against small rocks. Or you can spend $100 for nice backpacker’s air sleeping pad.
- Tent — we will share tents, so you probably don’t need one. We use the REI Half-Dome or Quarter Dome tent.
- Hiking boots — at night your bag is the most important thing. But during the day it is your foot gear. NOTHING is more important than solid, light, comfortable hiking shoes. I recommend the Solomon light hiking shoe. Its great. Ed recommends another brand. Both are great. Biggest mistake is to buy big heavy boots that give blisters. One blister can ruin your trek! I buy waterproof for mountain treks.
- Layers of clothing — I will send an article but the most important thing is that you don’t bring big bulky things. We will take off and put on layers many times a day. So study the list we will send and ask questions before buying.
Check out this gear list if you plan to buy anything.