Carl Christenson met Pete Bondy in Men’s Bible Study at Church at Charlotte nearly 20 years ago. Pete had just completed his master’s in counseling. “Several years later he started a backpacking ministry with men called Quest—through the Barnabas Center. He invited Dave Reinken and I to be a part and we are in our twelfth year of ministry to men just finishing our thirtieth Quest trip.”
Quest is a three-day adventure that invites men to challenge, fun, and growth. Carl explains, “It’s comprised of a group process designed to help us slow down, create space to listen to our hearts and stir them toward growing friendships and deepening our awareness of our need for God. We hike in and pitch tents for our camp together. The challenge activities for the weekend are designed in consideration of the participants’ goals and the inevitable limitations that are presented by terrain, weather and personal capabilities.”
Quest supports the overall mission of The Barnabas Center, a non-profit, nondenominational Christ-centered counseling, training, and teaching ministry. The Barnabas Center has a desire to encourage people by coming alongside them, entering into their daily struggles, and walking with them toward freedom.
“Quest ministers to Charlotte men as we take them backpacking in the wilderness for three days where through experiential learning, Bible study, and counseling Jesus works in our lives transforming our hearts and minds and setting us free to love and serve others as we enter back into our daily lives,” says Carl.
Having received Christ through the ministry of the Navigators, Carl developed a love for Bible study and a heart for men. He sees Quest as a place where he is privileged to pursue men’s hearts, study the Word with them, and deepen relationships as he watches the Holy Spirit work.
On the thirtieth Quest weekend recently, Carl and the other leaders saw God once again impact the lives of the men on the trip as well as their own. “We never know how God is going to show up,” Carl says, “but this past weekend we were truly amazed as men poured out their hearts and struggles and Jesus met us in our pain and forgave, and healed, and freed us. I did not escape God’s grace—sitting on a rock in the middle of Linville Gorge I acknowledged my fears once again believing the Lord is in control and He turned my heart from fear to rejoicing!”