Outdoor Ministry

Our Outdoor Ministry program prepares students to utilize the outdoor environment for a career in leadership, evangelism, and discipleship.

Our program of study combines outdoor education and outdoor ministry with Christian education courses. Through class discussions and field experience, we’ll help you design, implement, and administer outdoor education programs that are safe, challenging, and enjoyable.

A perfect fit if you’ve had a life-changing experience at summer camps, Young Life camps, or church retreats—and you want to provide similar experiences for others.

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Our professors are passionate about challenging students to be reflective and well-rounded.

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We prioritize the integration of faith and learning; it’s the core of every classroom and field experience.

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Our incredible location in the Blue Ridge Mountains is excellent for outdoor ministry.

Sample Courses

OM 200 Introduction to Christian Camping & Outdoor Ministry

This course will survey the history of organized camping and identify key educational and ministry principles that are foundational to outdoor ministry. It will also explore the application of these principles to different types of camp programs and to a variety of philosophic approaches.

OM 300 Outdoor & Camp Programming

This course will focus on the development and implementation of outdoor education and ministry programs. Students will create and propose a new outdoor program for two different organizations. One of the programs will be conducted for a local community agency.

OM 441 Internship

This experience is designed to serve as a culminating field experience for students majoring in outdoor ministry. It provides for full-time involvement an outdoor ministry program with opportunities for the application of classroom theories, leadership development, and career exploration.

Career Opportunities

  • Cross-cultural outdoor ministry leader (missionary)
  • Youth camp director or program director
  • Group retreat center director or program director
  • Outdoor trip leader or short-term mission trip leader
  • Church youth pastor or recreation director
  • High school ministry club director (e.g. Young Life, Campus Life)
  • Wilderness-based or adventure-based program director
  • Environmental center director or program director
  • Environmental center teacher
  • National/state park interpreter
  • Youth at-risk program teacher or counselor
  • Private school outdoor program coordinator
  • Challenge course facilitator or administrator


Paul Owen

Dr. Paul Owen
Professor of Bible and Ministry

Photo of Alex Sosler

Dr. Alex Sosler
Assistant Professor of Bible and Ministry

Dottie Shuman

Dr. Dottie Shuman
Professor of Environmental Education and Outdoor Recreation Studies

Mark Wells

Dr. Mark Wells
Professor of Bible and Ministry​

Ryan Zwart

Dr. Ryan Zwart
Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Studies

2019 Best Outdoor Programs Badge

Wetzel-Hagaman Awards

Description: The Wetzel-Hagaman Awards were established at Montreat College to prepare the next generation of Christian outdoor leaders and educators. Penny Hagaman and Jake Wetzel invested their lives in many Montreat students over the years. The Outdoor Education Department established this award in their honor (see below).

Amount: Awards are for $2000 each ($1000 each semester) for incoming majors in Outdoor Education and Outdoor Ministry. Awards are only for the freshman/first year of study at Montreat College. Number of awards: Up to ten awards will be given.

Application criteria: For details about the application process contact Dottie Shuman, Professor of Outdoor Education (dottie.shuman@montreat.edu). An application form and essay are required for each applicant.

Due date: The deadline for all applications and essays is March 1, 2019.

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