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Bart Blair: Well, hey, Greg, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today.
Greg Weisman: It is amazing to be here, Bart. Thanks for having me.
Bart Blair: All right. You have an absolutely beautiful background there, are we’re looking out your window at your house in California? What are we looking at there?
Greg Weisman: Yeah, that’s actually the Dolomites. I did a hike through the Dolomites on the Via Ferrata, which is the way of iron with my daughter, kind of a daddy-daughter adventure backpack trip this last August.
Bart Blair: Okay, well, based on the conversation that I know we are going to have today. Backpacking and doing outdoorsy things are probably part and parcel of who you are and what you do, we’re going to get to that in just a minute. Why don’t you start by just sharing with our audience a little bit of your background? How how did you end up where you are today doing what you do today?
Greg Weisman: Well, thanks, Bart. You know, I didn’t grow up in the church at all. I just started in Santa Barbara, son of a fireman, and my best friend invited me to church in junior high. So I always had a soft spot in my heart for junior high ministry. God called me into youth ministry, and my wife and I, Gloria, and I did youth ministry for about 20 years, 15 of those with Junior Highers. So it was my opportunity to give back to the church for bringing me into the church through junior high ministry. Through junior high, I actually was introduced to outdoor ministry through a trip we used to do from Minnesota, we would drive 27 hours by bus into the Canadian Rockies for this 15-day trip. We called it Project Canada, and we would take ninth-grade students and we would do service projects at a Christian camp, and then we would go rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, spelunking, and rock climbing. We’d do a Tyrolean Traverse, which was this rope suspended across the 75-foot canyon that was 150 feet deep over a raging river. And our kids would lie on top of the rope with a harness attached and crawl across the rope. It would teach them all kinds of things about trusting God and trusting me, it was awesome. It was known around Wooddale Church, a big church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Leith Anderson was our senior pastor, and I learned so much from him. But we learned that the Project Canada Trip was the most impacting Ministry of the Youth Ministry program, which was huge. But kids talked more about what happened, and their life change, during those 15 days on Project Canada than any other aspect of our ministry.
Greg Weisman: Fast forward, I get called to Northern California to become the junior high pastor and help launch a brand new church called Bayside. Ray Johnston is our founding senior pastor, an amazing guy of vision, and he allowed me to try launching Bayside Adventure Sports, which is our adventure ministry, using adventure sports to attract and attach people to Jesus and his church. We started doing this not on purpose, I was the junior high pastor, but one of my volunteers rode dirt bikes and invited me to go riding dirt bikes with him. I did, and he introduced me to a bunch of other dirt bikers from the church, which was only a church about a year and a half, two years old. We ran a dirt bike event, and they said, hey, would you help us start a club? Like riding dirt bikes? I said, sure, I can help you do that. Then we did that, and they said, wow, this is amazing. Hey, we ride mountain bikes too, can you help us do that? Sure, I’ll plan some mountain bike events. I had to buy a mountain bike, it’s always good when your ministry gives you a rationalization for spending money on stuff that you love. So we started doing these things…
Bart Blair: Do you see what I am sitting in front of?
Greg Weisman: Yeah, a guitar.
You know, if I hadn’t been a worship pastor, I would not have had any reason to go buy musical instruments. Hey, I digress. Sorry, I just got distracted here.
Greg Weisman: That’s awesome. We went from dirt bikes to mountain bikes, and then I was taking my family camping in Yosemite. We have four kids who are now all married, and we have ten grandkids. But we went camping in Yosemite and they said, can we come? So we, it was this strange thing that was going on, Bart. So we thought, what’s happening? So we decided to start the extreme sports ministry because back in the nineties everything was extreme. But because that was the junior high pastor.
Bart Blair: For those of you listening to this audio and not watching the video, Greg is putting air quotes around extreme, just to make sure you understand what the scene is like. Sorry, continue on sir.
Greg Weisman: So we changed it to Bayside Adventure Sports, and that was back in 1998 when we started. Then I kind of got slightly distracted by legal issues, the church insurance company interviewed me because we were building our first facility, and I shouldn’t have said anything. But I told him about the adventure ministry and they told us, you can’t do that, we’re going to exclude anything that has the word adventure from the church’s liability insurance. But because, adventure people, this is one of the cool things about adventure people, they tend to be people who are driven, goal-oriented, disciplined, they’re comfortable with risk, they tend to work hard and play hard, and they tend to be socioeconomically kind of in the top scales. So many of the board of elders or leadership team of Bayside Church were members of the Adventure Sports Ministry, and so was our attorney, he was a dirt bike rider. So he, of course, told the church leadership, we’ve got to keep this ministry, let’s just have Greg spin it off as a separate nonprofit corporation. So we started a long process and it took us almost three years, and fortunately, pro bono help from Carl Roberts, the best nonprofit attorney in the Sacramento region, who gave us nearly $300,000 worth of legal help to force the federal government to allow us to have our tax-exempt status.
Greg Weisman: Nobody had ever done recreational adventure ministry like we were doing. We were using 15 to 20 different outdoor sports, mountain biking, road cycling, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, hunting, we actually had our own duck club, four-wheel drives, trail running, camping, mountaineering, we were just doing everything, scuba diving. I would just find people who look like they were outdoorsy. I would tell him, Hey, you look like you should be in my ministry. They go, what do you mean? I said, well, you look rugged. You look kind of handsome, you look like you’re in great shape, which makes them feel good. I’d say we run an outdoor ministry. What do you like to do when you have spare time? And they start telling me about shooting guns or something like that. I’d go, we do that, we have a shooting ministry. Yeah, we just think it’s a good idea to come to church and shoot, shoot guns.
Greg Weisman: Anyway, so we started the ministry, we became a nonprofit, then we had to get insurance and nobody would cover us. We had our first policy with Lloyd’s of London, so it was Michael Jackson’s feet and Lady Diana’s the crown jewels and Bayside Adventure Sports, which was a foundling ministry for $20,000 a year. But the church, Ray Johnston, an amazing man, believed in us, believed in the concept, supported us, and we launched and we’ve been doing it now for 25 years. And we have seen thousands and thousands of people get involved through Bayside Adventure Sports, attracted to the church, and attached. It’s this amazing magnet, when people combine their love for Jesus and their passion for their outdoor sports, they just become great friends. And when people make friends that they play with and do things with, they stick together, and so it has caused our church to be way more sticky and brought people who are great leaders into the church because adventure people tend to be people who are white-collar leaders in the community. They work hard, they play hard, and they tend to be successful, and when those people come to church, they start getting involved in church and they want to support it. So we’ve seen this amazing, and it’s so much fun for me because I get to hang out with these people who are presidents of their corporations and managers and leaders and founders, and they all want to play hard, whether it was climbing Mount Shasta or places like that. In fact, we started doing so many things that other churches wanted to find out how to do this kind of ministry. So we had to start a separate nonprofit corporation, which we just got our tax-exempt status for. G1 Outdoors. The G1 stands for Genesis 1, , and our motto is God created the earth, ride it, climb it, catch it, explore it, and protect it. We believe that protecting the Earth is actually something that Christians should care about. Hey, what a novel idea, right? So it’s actually one of our best evangelistic kind of connections because so many of the non-Christians, they care about the earth, they’re out there playing in the Earth, so they’re surprised that the Christians don’t. And then we come in and say, hey, would you help us clean up Yosemite? We’re doing another cleanup at Arcade Creek. We’re doing another project in Tahoe. We adopted another mountain bike trail. So when we do the protected stuff, it really helps them. So G1 Outdoors is, g1outdoors.com is our ministry to help other churches launch adventure ministry.
Greg Weisman: So, Bart, there are five things that, in fact, there’s a free article at g1outdoors.com that people can download, on the five of the benefits of an adventure ministry are to reach more people, to keep more people, to attract more outsiders and vibrant leaders to your church, to bless and encourage more leaders and families, and connections. And also investing in the people that actually invest in your church and bring back financial gains and support it. But wait, there’s more. Bart, am I getting too excited? Sorry.
Bart Blair: No, no, and I’m sitting here enjoying hearing your enthusiasm. Tell us more, Greg, tell us more.
Greg Weisman: So, you know, a number of years ago, one of my leaders, he’s a retired major from the Air Force, and his father had climbed Kilimanjaro. He said, Greg, I really want to climb Kilimanjaro, do you think we can do that? So we started doing that and we realized, whoa, this doesn’t really work with the insurance that we found for Bayside Adventure Sports, because when we got away from paying through the nose for our big policy with Lloyd’s of London, we found a great insurance policy through our broker, Jeff Schultz, who is also a Bayside Adventure Sports participant who chose our church because he’s a dirt bike rider. And when he was visiting, he saw a dirt bike at our Bayside adventure sports table, and told his wife, Julie, hey, I think we found our church. I don’t think we need to look any further because this church rides dirt bikes. Anyway, Jeff is a broker, and he helped us work out a deal with our insurance company, so we give 10% of our gross revenue to our insurance company, and that covers our policy for liability, $10,000, or 10% of our gross revenue. Well, to do a trip to a place like Kilimanjaro where people are paying $5000 a person to go, a dozen people, that is $60,000, we would have to give $6000 to the insurance company just our liability insurance.
Greg Weisman: Well, let’s that’s more than our profit margin. So we had to start figuring out how we could do epic adventures around the world. So we, of course, started our own adventure tour company. So yes, we have another corporation, g1at.life that’s G1 Adventure Tours, the same G1 logo for Genesis 1 because it’s got the same motto. This last September I took 19 people, including our campus pastor Andrew McCourt, to Everest base camp. Awesome trip, climbing to Everest base camp. We’ve done two trips now to Kilimanjaro to the summit, 19,365 feet, and we’ve done whitewater rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. We have a trip coming up to Switzerland this July. We have this crazy, just a crazy trip, where we’re jet skiing in Alaska, 550 miles between Ketchikan and Juneau on jet skis with a company called Dangerous Waters, whose founder, Steven Maul, actually lives here in the Sacramento region, is a wild lover of Jesus and uses his for-profit tour company to spread the Gospel. So our people who went last year, said it was the best experience of their life, jet skiing next to whales, glaciers, and icebergs, and seeing the bears across Alaska, out in the open waters wearing dry suits. We do these big trips, and they’re available for any church who wants to become an adventure ministry church, or just participate with us, but we’ll teach them how to run their trips.
Greg Weisman: But the best trip, I can’t wait to do it, this year, we finally get to do our inaugural trip of Adventure Israel, where we’re combining going to all the historical and sacred spots in Israel with having two professional guides with us with only 22 people so we can get around. We’ll be going scuba diving, and snorkeling on Herod’s Harbor in Old Caesarea and [inaudible], hiking the runners trail around Masada, kayaking in the Sea of Galilee over to Capernaum so we can get out of a boat like Jesus would to get to his hometown, and down to Tabitha riding camels down in Petra. So every day there is something physical that we get to do, and we’ll get more teaching, training, and discipleship from Christian guides in Israel. That’s at G1 Adventure Tours.
Greg Weisman: All of this goes back to, though, the idea of having an adventure ministry based out of a local church. I don’t know why nobody else does this. It is the easiest thing to do. It’s easy to find volunteers because there’s a bunch of dormant leaders walking around in every church who love hiking, camping, shooting, fishing, four-wheel drives, motorcycles, mountain bikes, whatever they like to do, but they’ve never been told that they could be missionaries to natives in the jungle. That there are people in the adventure world who are a lost people group, they don’t show up at church on Sunday morning because who put Sunday morning right in the middle of the weekend? It’s like it ruins the whole weekend for those people. So they don’t want to show up and go indoors, so we need to send our missionaries out to meet them. And then we have people who have the skills, they need to just combine their love for Jesus with their passion for the outdoor sports, we just need to teach them a little bit about how to share their faith. And oh yeah, they call that the Great Commission, we’re supposed to all do this. So we have people, and I had my house full last night. Every Wednesday night we have volunteers who come here for a potluck dinner, Bible study, and training, and planning for Bayside Adventure Sports. And these are people who came into ministry by participating in a camping trip, a mountain bike ride, a hike, or whatever it was. They came to Bayside Church, they became a leader with me, and now they are on the front lines of doing the Great Commission by taking people out on mountain bike trips or fishing trips or kayaking trips or whatever they’re going to be. It’s just an honor, these men and women are finding fellowship and connection and a love for Jesus in God’s creation, the way that they are designed to live life. It’s this healthy alternative where people spend time and then they invite their friends to church and they build these communities and they build small groups.
Greg Weisman: As I’m watching, Bart, I’m watching what’s going on with the church from the pandemic. And, you know, everybody learned to watch church online. And now churches like ours are working really hard to get people to come back to church, but they’re kind of comfortable online, but they need connection. And one of the best ways they can find a connection is by getting outdoors with some people that they know and that they trust, going for a hike or a walk or taking some fishing lessons from one of our people, or going out on a stand-up paddleboard on Lake Tahoe. We do a camping trip in Yosemite, we’re famous down there, we do a national park permit so we can bring a 100 people at a time. And we have volunteers cooking breakfast and dinner in Yosemite National Park in the Valley, we have campsites for the people. We take them up to Half Dome, I’ve climbed Half Dome 47 times now, and we have people who just absolutely love that they have been introduced to Yosemite and they’ve lived in California all their life and had never been there. And so we’ve become their tour guides and take them on this amazing trip. And my family, we kind of started this whole thing and they keep coming back. In fact, we’re taking our kids and grandkids on a backpacking trip to Yosemite this summer and taking the oldest four grandkids eight, seven, six, and five years old Up Half Dome, if I can make it.
Bart Blair: Okay, Greg, you know, it’s really hard to have a conversation with someone about their ministry when they’re not enthusiastic about it at all. So I just start by saying I appreciate your enthusiasm and it’s exciting to see someone who’s excited about what God has equipped them and empowered them to do in the local church. I do have some questions, though, that I would ask, questions that I think maybe some people in other local churches around the country may be thinking about because you started talking about your transition from youth ministry or student ministry into this sports adventure sports, extreme sports ministry. You know, the first thing I thought of was some young men that I’ve known over the years who’ve gone to college or to university after high school and studied sports and recreation, because their dream job would ultimately have been to do what you are doing, but many of them end up in youth ministry doing something that looks very different than what you’re doing.
Bart Blair: So I’m just going to call it for what it is, Greg, you are living the dream of a lot of guys. So here’s what I want to do, I’m going to ask you some questions about some of the practical things in your ministry, because, unlike the leaders that you’ve served under, not all senior leaders in churches have as significant or have the ability to really envision things like this and to see them as part of their ministry. So that being said, you know, some of the things that I’m going through my head are, help me understand how a group of people, doing fun things together that they want to do, how is that ministry? Explain to us how if you take a group of people on a fishing trip or on a mountain biking trip, what transitions or takes that trip from simply being a group of people who are hanging around together, doing something fun, and actually turns it into ministry.
Greg Weisman: Great question. And yes, the transition from youth ministry to adventure ministry is very easy, this is basically youth ministry for adults and families. I think youth pastors, many of them age out at about 39 to 40, that was kind of where I was, and I was looking for what I was going to do next for the rest of my life, and this is a great alternative. It’s kind of a combination of doing outreach ministry, small groups ministry, and youth ministry, which is I spent time as a men’s pastor, the small group’s pastor, and the junior high pastor at Bayside Church.
Greg Weisman: When we do our adventure stuff, our leaders know that every event, if it’s just a day event, just for three or four hours, they’re probably not going to spend time in a Bible study on the trip. But what they do do is they introduce everybody who comes out in the event to who we are as a Christian outdoor ministry, we’re representatives of Bayside Church and we have Bayside Adventure Sports, that we’re a Christian ministry, we believe God made his creation for us to enjoy and to see his fingerprints in it. And that throughout our event, we’re going to just spend some time talking about who you are, who we are, and where God might fit in your life. So I try to teach my leaders how to have significant conversations with the people who are on trips.
Greg Weisman: One of the easiest questions that many of us use when we run events is to ask people, so when you were growing up, you either had some religious background or no religious background. If you had a religious background, was it good or bad? And why? If you didn’t have any religious background, have you ever thought about God in your life? So it’s an easy question that opens it up, and most people will say, I did have a religious background and it was bad, right? And so our leaders generally will follow the plan, well, that’s like most people, and most people who didn’t have a religious background got their religious background from the media who had a bad experience with their religion. Right? So our goal is to help them understand a little bit more about that. So it’s a conversational, it’s a relational way, it’s very much Jesus’s model of having a personal conversation with people in an atmosphere which is really comfortable for them. It’s while they’re walking, it’s when they’re stopping to rest, while they’re on their mountain bikes or on their motorcycles, or when they’re out fishing, or on a boat, if they’re water skiing or wakeboarding. So the conversations are key.
Greg Weisman: When we do longer events, like I just got back on Sunday from a men’s ski and snowboard trip to Utah, because sometimes. I feel like I have to suffer in ministry and go on trips and lead trips. This is actually started by Ted Ames, who’s actually the highest elected Republican in California, which isn’t very high in California. But he invited me to go on a ski trip with him to Utah in 2001, and because he was going with some high school buddies and a couple of them were going through divorces. And he said, hey, Greg, would you mind coming along on the trip? A couple of these guys are really having some hard times, and it’d be nice to have you along just to listen to them, and maybe help them. And I told Ted, I said, you’re asking if you can pay for my flights and my lodging and my ski lift tickets to go snowboarding in Utah with a bunch of guys, and all I have to do is listen to them complain about their wives, I do that every day. Yes, I’ll go. I went there, and it was the most pure men’s ministry I’ve ever experienced. We played together, and I’d never met most of these guys, we played together, we skied together, we ate together. And then in the evenings, we sat in the Jacuzzi, and they told me their stories. I got to share my story, my marriage, but mostly I listened and asked questions, and prayed for them.
Greg Weisman: And I just got back this last weekend, we had three nights and over dinnertime the first night, I asked the guys around the table. So between the ages 5 and age 13 or so, eighth grade, what were the most significant things that happened to you in your life? What were the big things that kind of directed your life that happened? Was God a part of that at all? And the next night we talked about what happened between 13 and early 20s, and what were the significant decisions they made, and what happened in their lives. That’s when parents were getting divorced, that’s when people found the Lord, and that’s when people determine where they were going to go in their careers. We did that, and for the next level, from their early 20s to mid-30s. And we had a young man, Ted Gaines, who was back again with his son. And I asked the guys to share, and I said, also, hey, would you give Teddy, Ted’s son, some advice because he’s got a girlfriend, and he’s thinking about getting married? Based on Andy Stanley’s question, you know, based on my past experiences, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?
Greg Weisman: So when we go out on events, I train our leaders to be sensitive, to listen to the Lord, to help people start having conversations and to weave Jesus in through natural pathways. We find that discipleship happens best when people are in a conversation about how Jesus has changed my life. When we do camping trips, we generally have messages around the campfire. Gee whiz, didn’t the church used to do that before? Remember that? Camping trips. So we still do that, we try to keep the groups small enough so we can sit around the campfire, I can share a devotional, and I can share some Scripture. Sometimes we’ll sing a little bit, not very well because that’s not my gift, but we’ll do some fun kid songs and we’ll have s’mores. But in a devotional time around the campfire, it’s designed to introduce them to a topic that ends with a question to get the whole group to share around the campfire about life. So the ministry happens in this very natural environment where people feel comfortable to actually talk about God and their life, and why they walked away from God, or what might bring them back. Even as the small group’s pastor at our church for five years, I set up all the systems. Most of our small groups were based on two things, they formed small groups based on two characteristics. What day of the week they were available, and what part of the city they lived in? They didn’t have anything in common besides that. When people are meeting with people, they don’t have anything in common with, you can only go so far in your conversations. When people form small groups and friendships based on their love for fishing, their love for shooting, or whatever it’s going to be, they have far more to talk about and they naturally want to spend more time together, so they’re going to go far deeper in their conversations.
Greg Weisman: We are publishing on our website, with our app, adventure devotionals that I’ve written over my life. And I have another former pastor who’s gotten involved as a volunteer with us, and he was helping me write adventure devotionals that basically kind of start with, this was this is an old one, The Hook Look Took Book. This is, what was his name? Howard Hendrix, I think first came this up came up with this at Dallas Theological Seminary some 50 years ago, where we start with an adventure illustration to hook people in and get them to look at the concepts or the parallels between those illustrations, Bible stories, and Bible preferences. We go look into the Scriptures and we talk about how to apply it to our lives. So if we’re out mountain biking or dirt bike riding, I might talk about target fixation. Target fixation is, if you’re riding a mountain bike, it’s where you look is where your tires are going to go. And it came from World War Two, I think pilots would get fixated on their target that they were shooting at and often crash their airplanes into destroyers, into boats, or into other objects that they were aiming at. So we get fixated on those targets in our lives, we need to get fixated on Jesus, the author, and perfector of our faith. If I keep looking at Jesus, I’m going to become more like him, I’m going to follow him. So we need to work on target fixation in our life. Just like in mountain biking, I need to look at the pathway between the rocks, don’t look at the rock, you’re going to hit it, and people get that. Mountain bikers get that, people get that if they’re riding road bikes, and they want to get in a peloton, that together we’re going to go farther, faster. It’s the picture of the local church shooting people, understand missing the mark.
Bart Blair: People who shoot people. People who shoot, people who shoot, not shooting people, no, people who shoot.
Greg Weisman: Yes, thank you. Yes, people who are shooting at targets understand the whole concept of missing the mark, which is the definition of sin. So it’s easy for us to talk about how do we, it’s really easy for people who have been in ministry, especially youth ministry, to combine the world around us with illustrations and weave the gospel into it. that’s what youth pastors do, that’s what good pastors always do. And part of our dream is that as we launch more and more ministries, we will set the whole system up online and let people all over the country who are starting adventure ministries, write adventure ministry devotionals and upload those and eventually publish those on online books and make them available to the general public.
Bart Blair: That’s cool. We have just a few minutes left, and I have three more questions that I have to ask you. So let’s see if we can cover three of these questions in about 5 minutes or so, so that we can land this plane. The first question is this. If I’m a young leader in a church and I want to do something like this, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, Greg, one of the first things that I’m hearing you say is, well, you’re doing all kinds of stuff that’s actually encouraging people to skip church on Sunday. And there are young leaders out there who would love to do what you’re doing, and their pastor is going to say that very thing. What’s your response to that?
Greg Weisman: Almost none of our events happen on a Sunday morning. The only time we’re gone from church on Sunday morning is if we’re gone for a whole weekend. And if we’re gone for a whole weekend, then the net amount of time that these people are with our Christian leaders it’s 48 to 56 hours with our Christian leaders. And I think even the senior pastors would agree that 50 hours with a Christian leader from their church pouring into their life is going to bring more life change than sitting and listening for one hour, even if it’s a great sermon. So our events generally happen on Saturdays, and on weekday evenings, and on sometimes Sunday afternoons, but very rarely are we gone on a Sunday morning for an outing. Most of the events, again, only if it’s a weekend camping trip. Now, our church is very large and we run a lot of camping trips in the Tahoe region and Yosemite region, Santa Cruz area like that, so we might have 12 or 15 weekend camping trips a year, but those are different people on different trips. So they might miss a Sunday, two or three times a year, for our ministry, but they’re really not missing it. I try to have our volunteers helping at our adventure sports booth, promoting our ministry on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights whenever we have our booth set up, so they have a place to congregate with their friends. So it really doesn’t compete with the church very much.
Greg Weisman: In the adventure minds of the people outside the church that we’re trying to reach. They think that church is going to mess them up because they’re wanting to go out for the weekend to go play their sports, they’re still doing that, we just want to get them to come with us on some of those outdoor events and then come with us to church and find out that actually, our church is a great church for people who don’t like church, that they’re actually going to find out that church is different than they expected.
Bart Blair: That was a great answer, I loved it. Fifty hours with leaders trumps a one-hour worship service and a 35-minute sermon. All right, second question. I’m a leader in a normal-sized church, which in our country, a normal sized church is probably 80 to 280 people. Right? And I want to start something like this in my church for my community, what’s one first step that I can take to get things going?
Greg Weisman: You can figure out what you love to do. This is what I do when I consult with other churches, and by the way, we have a bunch of free articles that we will send people to teach them how to launch it. But the first thing to do is to recognize, what do I like to do and what do people in my community like to do? And why don’t I go out riding bikes or go on a hike or go camping with those people? And let’s just start with what we already know we like to do together. It’s the easiest way to start, a church of 80 to 100 people, there are probably 8 to 10 people who want to go camping. And what’s really fun, Bart, is in that church you have 80 to 100 people, there’s probably 30 or 40 people in that church that have friends who would come on them on a camping trip, come with them to go on a four-wheel drive trip, come with them to go ride dirt bikes, come with them to go fishing, who don’t go to their church. But if they came with them to go fishing on a church fishing trip, they might get introduced to the pastor, and the pastor is probably from the community. And if the pastor loves the fish, all of a sudden the pastor is having a conversation with this friend of mine who I work with, who lives down the street, who’s never been to any church, and now he’s with me at my church with my pastor going fishing. So a church of 80 to 100 can grow their church by 20% a year through starting an adventure ministry, they don’t need to hire a professional staff, they don’t need to do a lot of high-end training, just find a couple of volunteers. And then, this is the pastor’s job is to teach those volunteers how to talk about their faith in a natural environment and to practice that. Can you share how Jesus has changed your life? Sometimes I’ll even use non-Christians to help me run a Christian event. And, you know, we had Red Bull, members of the Red Bull Air Force, these are the guys who ski with parachutes, come and give a presentation in our church. They weren’t Christians, but we had a whole bunch of people from the community come because they wanted to come to see the Red Bull movie and hear this guy talk about it. And then I stood up and said, by the way, we have an adventure ministry at our church and we go motorcycle riding. We don’t ski with parachutes, but we do go skiing, we do go snowboarding, we go cross-country skiing, and we go snowshoeing, so we do these other ministries. So people from the community who were not Christians came to hear a non-Christian talk about what they do, but then we introduce them to our ministry through the church. So even in a small church, people start by just starting with what they love to do. What’s interesting is most people who do one adventure sport do multiple sports, they have their winter sports and they have their summer sports. So you can begin a year-round ministry very inexpensively and very quickly.
Greg Weisman: One of the things the church has to think about is risk. Are we putting our church at risk? Well, your church’s insurance policy is going to state anything that is excluded. Now, hopefully, am not having the insurance people listen to your podcast. I would tell people from the church, to get a hold of the policy and read it clearly. Get somebody who’s an anal person to read it clearly and see if there’s anything good. If something is not excluded from the church’s liability insurance, most church insurance policies don’t say you can’t ride dirt bikes, or can’t ride mountain bikes, or you can’t go fishing, right? So it’s going to be covered through the church’s insurance, the pastor is safe to take them out. The most important thing then is to make sure the trip is done safely. Think about making sure that people know what they’re doing, are safe, and you’re taking care of any negligence issues going on. And you can do this, you can start it up, we aren’t interested in making money off of churches to start this. We’re interested in launching more churches to do the Great Commission and use outdoor ministry because it makes sense. And our goal eventually is to attract outside para-church organizations like Ends of the Earth Cycling. This is a Florida-based road cycling group, that runs 7 to 14-day road cycling events to raise money for third-world Country youth ministry. So we want to bring groups like them, and Solid Rock Outdoor Ministry in Laramie, Wyoming, who teaches people how to lead backpacking trips like that. Or our Alliance Redwood Church, who has their zip lines. We want to bring all those people together with the churches and become resources and launch an adventure ministry network that will impact the kingdom of God.
Bart Blair: Greg, last question. There are some people who are going to want to connect with you to find out more, to learn more. I’m assuming some of the things that you’ve shared with us today, you probably have articles and resources on a website somewhere. Tell our listeners how they can connect with you and how they can tap into your wealth of knowledge and information.
Greg Weisman: Well, here you’re not going to forget my phone number. It’s 916-VIP-Greg.
Bart Blair: VIP Greg.
Greg Weisman: Yeah, well, I was the junior high pastor, and when I walked into the AT&T store 27 years ago, I could actually pick out my phone number. So, yeah. (916)847-4734. My phone number is everywhere, I sound like Bob Goff, it’s in the back of my book. I don’t have a book, but you can text me and I’ll get back to you right away. Email GregW@G1outdoors.com can reach me. We do have three websites Baysideadventuresports.com, G1outdoors.com, and G1Adventuretours.life. And if you just text me or email me, I can send all of that to any of your listeners. And by the way, can I give a plug to Missional Marketing?
Bart Blair: Of course.
Greg Weisman: You know, I met Chuck Donnels. He’s one of the co-founders of your ministry, and it has impacted our ministry so much. I can’t understand why any Christian organization wouldn’t reach out to Missional Marketing for help in the confusing world of Google and nonprofit accounts and Google ads and understanding SEO and figuring out communication terms for the church. We are just so, so fortunate to be able to work with Missional Marketing in doing these things. So, Bart, thank you. I just appreciate the opportunity to talk with some of your people on your podcast, and to meet you, this is amazing.
Bart Blair: Greg, I’m so grateful that we got to hang out together today. I’m sure that my podcasting co-host, Jason Hamrock, who happened to be at a conference today, is going to be sorry that he wasn’t here with us once he has an opportunity to listen to this. But it’s been fascinating to hear about your ministry, really excited for what God is doing with you and your team there at Bayside. And we consider it a real privilege that we have the opportunity to be able to serve you and your team in helping more people find you online. So thanks again, Greg, for hanging out with me today.
Greg Weisman: God bless you.