The outdoors has always been a place of reverence for many of us who fish and hunt and rightly so. God created it for us. It shows His handiwork, His character, His glory. Even people who don't believe in God look at this world as a special place.
Genesis 2:15 says "God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." That was his very first assignment. He was told to name every creature, "and that would be their name." Man has had a relationship with God's creation ever since.
In Romans, God makes it plain that His creation has made His presence plain, "for since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, bring understood from what has been make, so that men are without excuse," Romans 1:19-20.
Outdoors men and women experience this every time we're out in the woods, climbing mountains, wading or floating rivers and streams. For some, it is their "church", where they talk to God. But in many cases, vital aspects of Christian life are missing. Fellowship, scripture, accountability, growth, ministry; a real, live relationship with a living God and the support of loving, mature men and women in the faith.
But there are a lot of outdoors men and women who will never don the steps of a traditional church building, especially on Sunday morning. Men at least don't want to participate in a touchy-feely service where they may be called out to read, sing or come forward. Yikes! And those long sermons put any hunter to sleep and with cell phone cameras and facebook, who wants their image circulating on the internet sitting in the pew, mouth open, eyes closed and drool dripping from our lower lip!
BTW, I love this video of Mr. Bean.
With this concept, there is a group of people here in the Branson area who feel lead to start a new church plant, patterned off a ministry in the Kansas City area called Paradise Outfitter Ministries. They call the new church True North, referring to a "direction along the earth's surface towards the geographic North Pole," (Wikipedia). True North differs from magnetic north because magnetic north does not draw you to the true North Pole. Like so many forces in our life, most things draw or pull us away from the truth of God, absolute truth.
This church plant is still in its planning stages but ideas include a main service on a weeknight instead of Sunday morning, a meal will be part of the gathering (most of the time), lots of fishing and hunting stories, archery shoots, scripture reading and short sermons (very short according to leaders) and "manly" singing (not sure how that will look but sounds interesting).
The ideas is to attract people who would otherwise never involved themselves in a traditional church and expose them to godly fellowship, scripture and God's presence, developing true relationship with a living God, in His elements, His creation through planned activities outdoors and not in a stuffy building, although we'll need to meet sometimes inside.
I'm excited to see what God will do with this work. Jesus said He will build His church. That's my hope in this, that this won't be just another split off of a church group pulling in Christians from other churches but a work that will draw people who God has drawn to Him over the years but have never found that nitch until True North was started. I pray that this will be the case.