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he went up on the mountain…

Jesus lead men up a mountain and into the wilderness. There he revealed his relationship with the father, loved them, and helped them love one another.

Are you seeking the brotherhood as mentioned in Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another? Come do a LeaderTrek in the wilderness with a group of men, share life stories with each other, open your hearts to each other, and embrace each other in God’s love. A real man not only needs God but also needs other real men surround him in his life.

What is LeaderTrek?

LeaderTrek is a Christ-centered process of building believers into healthy leaders. Taking a group of brothers into the wilderness — mountains or deserts — creates the environment in which it takes place. It is a week of theologically based teachings and challenges of soul, body, relationships and emotions. Our character is shaped by doing hard things with others in Jesus’ name. Quite often men on LeaderTrek experience a breakthrough or significant growth in their Christian life — they get closer to Jesus, confess their past mistakes, experience authentic love and affirmation, deeply meditate on the Word of God, and have a renewed sense of the calling of God on their lives. As one brother put it, they get put back into the furnace!

After many years cross-cultural missionary work and helping shape disciples into leaders, in 2009, the Lord Jesus put on my heart the idea of combining the things I am passionate about into a unique ministry for building leaders. 

I had already seen for years what the teaching on leadership could do, and it was obvious that the men I was training needed more. They were struggling with internal leadership issues — things of the heart, their spiritual lives, their life at home, and even with their calling and character. But where do Christian leaders go to open up about those things, and how could they experience real breakthroughs? These are the questions I reflected on.

So, after 20 years of personal growth in discipling Chinese Christians and developing my personal spiritual life through solitude and Scripture mediation, and growing in the experience of how to develop healthy leaders, I decided to combine it all with my love of wilderness challenges. I love God, His Word, and I love His Creation, and I love building leaders. And it seemed to me the men I lead into the mountains would love these also and be deeply shaped by Jesus if we truly looked to Him. And that is just what happened. Every year since we have led several groups of Chinese Christian men to experience LeaderTrek. And these brothers have experienced Jesus being with them as a group and individually. And each man has taken an unforgettable experience that will speak to them personal lessons for years to come.

How is “LeaderTrek” different from traditional training?

Many Christians have intellectual knowledge of the Bible but they often lack a deeper kind of spiritual growth. Superficiality has become normal for Christians and even for Christian leaders. 

One of the reasons is that we were made not only for hearing the truth of God, but also for experiencing deeper communion with our Lord. God also made us with a need to be challenged in ways train our character. Finally, he made us for relationships — and when we are deeply connected at the heart level those relationships shape our lives.

We are also superficial due to our fast-paced lives — busyness, phone calls and social media — and we lose our spiritual lives in pursuit of material goals.  We desperately need to get out of this, go into the wilderness, get face to face with the Holy Spirit, take on physical challenges, rest at a deep level, meditate on the Word of God, and do it with a group of people who are also vulnerable and passionate about following God.

What will we do on a LeaderTrek?

We will go to a high altitude mountain or desert full of God’s beautiful creation and we will spend a lot of time trekking — the most ancient and slowest form of transportation. Abraham walked. Moses Walked. Jesus walked. And so will we.

We hike 7-10 miles with 35-40 pound backpacks for 6-8 hours on our trekking days. Usually we will spend 5 days in the wilderness, 3 days on big treks, 2 days rest, solitude and exploration. It’s physically challenging, so you need to be in good health to make the trip worthwhile.  Four weeks before each LeaderTrek our team starts exercising regularly.  We ask participants to climb 30 floors 3 times in the first week; climb 40 floors 3 times in the second week; climb 50 floors 3 times in the third week; climb 50 floors 3 times in the fourth week. Our goal is not to just prepare for this trek but to change the way we think about healthy leadership. It need to be holistic – body and soul, relationships and emotions.

Personal Challenges, Scripture meditation, Life Stories, and Reflection

We spend a lot of time each day reflecting and doing individual or group activities including: reflecting on our spiritual lessons, talking about application to real life, meditation of a section of Scripture, a half a day in solitude and silence before God, team bonding and challenges in serving one another.

Our highest goal is to bring a man before God, to deeply know Him and to be known by Him. Through a spiritual leader’s life and biblical teaching, group and personal prayer, solitude, and sharing of life stories this happens in a unique way.

Sometimes a teaching of Jesus will be given during the trek by the leader at a resting point. Sometimes deep learning happens as two guys talk in their tent about their real needs, hurts, and questions about life. They pray together and bond as brothers.

Cell phone and other Distractions

As soon as we arrive at our destination, we turn off all our phones for the week. We avoid all electronics for the week in a digital fast. We learn to listen to the music of nature, to one another and to the sound of our own breath and heartbeat. On LeaderTrek we seek to become fully human again in body, soul, relationships and emotions.

OVERALL

This is a great time for brothers to be together. You will get a lot out of this week if you put a lot into it — physical and spiritual preparation; openness to other people, working hard, laughing, crying, and giving hugs. It is a whole-person adventure. And there is a lot of joy.

So if you think this sounds like something you truly want, and you like something hard, and you want to do it with others and grow in Jesus, then welcome to LeaderTrek!

You can contact Coach Brent (brent@leadersource.org) for details. Look forward to seeing you in our next LeaderTrek!

LeaderTrek has been a very unique and rewarding experience. It’s been an absolute blessing to me as I get to develop meaningful and authentic relationship with fellow brothers before, during and after the multi-day hike. It has added a new dimension to my life and how I fellowship with the others, starting with the bear hugs on Sundays. 🙂

Ming Zhou

It is always a desire in my heart to find a group of brothers who I can share my heart and life with. In 2020, I joined LeaderTrek Montana, and met with a group of brothers. Many of them I never met before. During that week, after hearing other brothers’ life stories, I finally opened up myself and shared my story that I never did before. The burden in my heart was lifted and I was touched by God’s love through brothers’ prayers and encouragement.

Bin Shen

I want to thank you again for taking me to another LeaderTrek. This one is even more memorable than the first one. TBH, I wasn’t 100% enthused at the beginning, especially after knowing Ed wasn’t going. That said, there is magic in saying YES to God. His work and presence blew me away, again. I have received so much this past week. God is really wonderful.

Jia Jiang

I have been searching for Christian Brother/sports fellowship for a while. When I found LeaderTrek on AFC conference forum, I knew that it was time for me to reach out and join them. Besides a blast we had in Big Bend, we also learned “don’t keep thinking we are not ready”. Instead, we should take initiative to build ourselves up along with other like-minded Brothers, and step up with God just like Moses to learn & grow during the process. God will show us the Way and provide us anything we need.

Lei Wang