In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus encourages us to take the talents and resources that He’s given us and give them back to Him, for His use. In the ministry here at Calvary Chapel Concord, God has blessed several men and women who have a talent, ability, and knowledge in whitewater rafting.
Since 1988, God has opened the doors for us to pursue ministry, outreach and evangelism through this medium. Just as in other ministries, these men and women have given freely of their time and resources in order that the name of Christ might be proclaimed. It is our fervent desire that these trips would be merely one of many platforms from which we might demonstrate the love that He has shed abroad in our hearts and that, as Jesus said, would be a witness to the world that we are His and that He dwells within us.
Based on this statement we offer the following information concerning the Whitewater Rafting Ministry:
Who Can Go?
Our desire is to first open this ministry up to the body of Believers at Calvary Chapel. We recognize that in this setting there is great opportunity for fellowship, edification and building up of the body of Christ. We also realize that we are able to see each other in a different light, and learn that we are not perfect, but we are forgiven.
Secondly, we strongly encourage the body to reach out to those around them who are unchurched and nonbelievers, who may never step foot inside an organized church setting. Whether they be relatives, co-workers, or friends, please pray and ask God who He might have you reach out to through this ministry.
God has also given us the opportunity to reach out and make this ministry available on a limited basis to some of the other Calvary Chapels in the California area. He has greatly used us in building up and edifying these groups and has used them to build up, edify and teach us many things.
Because our trips are non commercial, and we are not in the business of running a whitewater rafting outfit, we want to discourage you from telling of, or in any way advertising this ministry as being available to other groups, church affiliated, or otherwise. The reasons for this are as follows:
•With each trip we take, our guides are totally volunteering their time and in many cases taking time off from their jobs without pay to do this ministry. Consequently, we are stretched just doing the 5 to 8 trips that we do.
•Again, the whole intent is that this would be a ministry to Calvary Chapel Fellowships. We are not really equipped to do outside trips.
One exception to the above, is the door that the Lord has sought to open up for us through the Youth Crisis Hotline (1-800-HIT-HOME) and the Bay Area Rescue Mission. This is an opportunity to take disadvantage youth and runaways on a rafting trip as a wilderness experience.
Devotions: Each day of each trip starts with a time of devotions. This is a time of singing, praying, and a short time in the word that we spend together just prior to getting on the river so that the Lord might prepare our hearts for what He has for us on the river.
Bible Study: On the first night of the two-day trips, again we have a time of worship, prayer, and Bible study. This time is given to a simple evangelistic message with singing, prayer and fellowship.
Living Testimony: Peter says, “You are living epistles”. That means, when people look at you, in a way, they’re seeing what God is like. He has chosen us to reveal Himself to a dying world. Because of this, the only glimpse of God that those unchurched, non-believing friends that you bring may get, is you!
Witness to others on the River: While it is our main desire for us to be a witness to, and minister to those in our own group, we also want to be a witness to others on the river. This is accomplished by the following:
•Through our devotions and Bible studies, we often have people come and ask us what in the world we are doing when we have our devotions on the river or Bible studies in camp. This has opened up doors for us to share with others we come in contact with.
•Through the marking and naming of our rafts... on the side you’ll notice the painted “Calvary Chapel” and on the rear a name like “El Shaddai, Prince of Peace, or Maranatha”. God has given us the opportunity to share just because someone has come up and asked “What is Calvary Chapel?” or “What does Koinonia, Hodegos, and Alpha and Omega have to do with whitewater rafting”?
•Your personal witness: The world often times looks at the Christian and wonders, “How in the world do they have fun? They don’t drink, don’t smoke’ don’t do drugs’ don’t swear, etc...” Being on the river is a great opportunity to show that Christians can have fun without those things, and yet still respect the privacy of others. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine as to give glory unto your father which is in heaven.” So let your light shine!
In His Service, Pastor Joe