Thank you for your interest in GTD. My hope is that God will use this ministry to powerfully impact your life for His glory.
GTD blends the great outdoors, adventurous activities, fun-loving zeal, heart-stopping challenges, and a passion for Christ into one God-awesome ministry that will leave you both breathless and craving more.
My spiritual adventure started when I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 8 years old. It continues to be the best decision I've ever made. From that day I have had a natural passion to study the Bible, talk to God in prayer, submit to His authority, help others grow in the faith, avoid destructive decisions (sin), and live life to the fullest.
At times I've fallen short in all of these pursuits, but as a wise man once said, "The sign of a righteous man is not that he never falls, but rather that when he does fall, he gets right back up again." We have an enemy bent on tripping us up. In a real way, the Christian journey is a series of falls as we strive to run further distances between stumbles. So, whether you are knocking the dust off your legs or on a "runner's high" this ministry is here to help you get to the finish line ... to finish the race ... to go the distance with Jesus! Let the adventures begin!
Thrive On! (Jn 10.10),
DUG (Doug Garner)
GTD Video Documentary - How It All Began
SUMMARY OF GTD
It is with this balanced philosophy that GTD approaches ministry. We will live for the eternal while enjoying the present. We will take responsibility serious and make the rest of life a God-awesome celebration!
GTD is geared towards adventurers of all ages with an emphasis on youths and young adults. GTD works hard to accomplish eight main objectives:
- To glorify God
- To actively share the good news of salvation found only through Jesus Christ
- To emphasize a close personal relationship with God
- To disciple and educate others to spiritual maturity
- To mentor attitudes and decisions that lead to a fulfilling, adventurous and spiritually fruitful lifestyle
- To enable physical fitness through adventurous outdoor programs
- To emphasize and be good stewards of the preservation of God's creation
- To supply adventurous events in a Christ-centered atmosphere
MISSION & VISION STATEMENTS
GTD's Mission Statement:
GLORIFY GOD. LOVE MAN. HAVE FUN!
GTD's mission is to use outdoor adventures, recreation, and education to introduce people of all ages to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We strive to help Christians become victorious, joyful, mature disciples of God as we work hard to enrich the lives of everyone we encounter with a God-awesome program that inspires an unconquerable attitude and a fun-loving adventurous spirit.
GTD's Vision Statement:
GTD's vision is to turn our mission into reality by impacting the lives of our participants in our location and in our generation as we rely on God, who has no limits and does not have the word "impossible" in His vocabulary.
THE 5 F's OF GTD
GTD's Unique Approach To Ministry
The one thing that distinguishes GTD from most other adventure outfitters is our Focus. We are first and foremost a God-focused ministry. Our whole reason for providing outdoor activities is to give people an opportunity to know God through faith in Jesus Christ and to give people an opportunity to grow in their faith. In every event we do, God is preeminent. The thing that you will appreciate the most while participating in a GTD event is that we honor God. The reality is that God has designed man to function most effectively only when we allow Jesus to be complete Lord of our lives.
- "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Hebrews 12:2
- "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well." Matthew 6:33
The next distinctive thing that you will notice about GTD is our level of freedom. Any of our events that you participate in is saturated with a sense of freedom and liveliness. We believe that the result of having the right Focus on God is Freedom. We believe that God has created people to thrive and be free. As we focus on God we enjoy the freedom He has designed mankind to walk in. The paradox about freedom is that in order for it to be most enjoyed it must include limitations. Freedom without limitations is recklessness & chaos, and limitations without freedom is bondage. As a Christian ministry we adhere to the Bible as our source of instructions on how to maintain this great endowment of liberty. We believe that we are freed from sin, not freed to sin, therefore we establish our limitations of freedom as those things the Bible refers to as either sin or foolishness. In every GTD event the spice that brings out the best taste of our programs is the spice of freedom found only in Jesus Christ.
- "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1,2
- "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1
- "If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31,32
Once the Focus is set then Freedom results and then Freedom gives birth to Fun! Fun is another huge quality that distiguishes GTD from so many other organizations. Fun is God's gift to those who are Focused on Him and embrace the Freedom found in Him. If anyone should be considered lively and fun it should be the Christian person who has experienced complete forgiveness and received the gift of eternal life. We have so much to celebrate! Life is a precious gift from God and no matter our circumstance we can find fun in the toil. GTD has a PhD in Fun. It's not just the adventurous activities we provide; it's the fun tone we set. In fact, it has been in the most difficult situations such as getting stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm while canoeing or having a transmission blow in 2 degree temperatures or getting lost on a tough hiking trail in which GTD's participants have had the most fun. It isn't the circumstance that dictates the fun in a person's life, it is the attitude toward the circumstance. GTD sets the tone with an unconqueable attitude that is bursting with fun.
- "I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10
- "...put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" I Timothy 6:17
By now I'm sure you see the trend: Focus gives birth to Freedom, Freedom gives birth to Fun, and Fun gives birth to Fellowship. GTD's approach to ministry is that Fellowship thrives in the right environment. The events that GTD puts together creates an environment that works as a wrecking ball to tear down the walls that keep people apart. In a short amount of time GTD's programs, which are built around God's principles, create a setting that enlivens fellowship. People connect on a personal level and new close friendships are begun as the participants experience fun activities together. True fellowship is close and personal. United together is how we were create to function best. GTD turns the principle of fellowship into reality as we experience adventures together.
- "It is not good for man to be alone." Genesis 2:18
- "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:23
Now that we have established the right Focus, embraced the endowment of Freedom, entertained the value of Fun, and enjoyed the blessing of Fellowship, we are now ready to embark on the journey of Faith. We are now ready to put actions to our God-awesome empowerment. GTD's activities are designed to require faith from its participants. Faith is more than just belief; it is action. It is an outward expression of an inward belief. Faith is the final ingredient to turn an adventure into a life transformation. Whether its rappelling down a hundred foot cliff, climbing a 5.11 rock, or rafting a class 5 rapid, it all requires a step of faith from the participant. In that moment, God turns an exciting rappel into a modern day parable. In that moment the participant gets it: this is what faith is... trusting and risking. And in that moment life makes more sense. Life, real life, raw life is not about just surviving or just getting by or just existing, it's about trusting and risking, trusting in God and risking based upon His promises, promises that I can not fully experience until I first trust the anchor and risk the fall. That's Faith and its thrilling and will forever change your life. It is what pleases God most. It is the most precious thing we can do to display our confidence in an all powerful God. GTD makes it possible for you to exercise your faith muscles with all types of exciting adventures.
- "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1
- "But without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6
- "We live by faith, not by sight." II Corinthians 5:7
Going The Distance's Goal: An Unconquerable Attitude!
More than aptitude, GTD teaches attitude! The difference many times between those who quit and those who go the distance is not so much their knowledge as much as it is their attitude. As a ministry we want to teach and exemplify a type of attitude that never gives up at following Jesus. Christianity is not a one day sprint, but rather a lifelong marathon. In this marathon there will come periods of obstacles, trials, and attacks that will wrap their hands around the neck of each Christian in an attempt to choke out our life, smother our zeal, and conquer our spirit. These hands can never separate Christians from the love of God, but will aim to suffocate our usefulness, our potential, our liberty, and our calling. With such great obstacles, we must teach to never quit. We must instill to persevere. We must mentor inextinguishable joy in the face of harsh trials. We must display undiminished hope in the midst of hopeless times. We must champion an UNCONQUERABLE ATTITUDE that laughingly persists, that joyfully endures, that seizes the day while completing the call. Our attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5) for we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Rom. 8:37). Our unconquerable attitude is our testimony to the masses. GTD is all about attitude, attitude, attitude.
THE GTD WAY
This is "The GTD Way"! Anyone can set up tents, chairs and a bunch of random activities, but GTD is not just building a temporary experience, we are constructing a lifelong memory. We're not just erecting a makeshift game, we are directing an outdoor symphony of God-awesome excitement. This isn't splattered paint on a piece of canvas; it's a work of art. This isn't a hodgepodge recipe of leftover ingredients thrown into a bowl to make goulash. We are outdoor, fun-loving, Jesus-focused culinary chefs creating a savory, eternal, deliberate dessert that no one will ever forget. And it will cause our participants to leave both satisfied and craving more. This is not just another activity, it's an event where souls are saved, hearts are recommitted, burdens are released, fears are overcome, friendships are born, relationships are restored, visions are received, new beginnings are produced, hope is revived, spiritual gifts are utilized, laughter is seized, and fun is relished! This is a GTD Event and it's done The GTD Way.
There are thousands of Christian camps worldwide. Did you know that every year, nearly eight million people are involved in Christian camps and conferences, and tens of thousands come to faith in Jesus Christ through that experience. Christian camps are God's harvesting field for souls. GTD is part of a divine worldwide outreach. We are part of a family. We don't compete against other Christian camps. And, at the same time, we don't conform to the image of what many view as a typical Christian Camp. GTD is very unique. In fact, we often hear youth pastors say, "We love GTD. There's nobody else doing what you're doing." So what makes us unique. Here are a few things that distinguish GTD from a lot of other camps:
(1) We are more organic. A lot of camps today tend to resemble a nice hotel more than an actual wilderness experience. There's nothing wrong with that, but our events are more primitive... more organic. Romans 1:20 helps us to see that God has revealed Himself through His creation not through man's inventions. Modern cities full of concrete skyscrapers and technological gadgetry are great, but they only reveal the advancement of man, not the wonderment of God. Think about how hard it is to see the stars at night when you're in the city. The artificial lights drowned out the illumination of the constellations God made. We often forget about the awesomeness of God because we can't see His works of art. Go stand in front of a 200' waterfall or watch a shooting star or hike through a thick lush forest and watch how God grabs ahold of your heart. Our faith is naturally built when we behold the evidence of an Almighty Creator.
(2) We are completely mobile. Most camps are based on permanent private property and are limited to the piece of land that they've purchased. GTD can travel to our participants. We don't have high property investments or huge maintenance costs. We use public land. We can custom build events in different locations to prevent that "same old, same old" feel.
(3) We cater to small & medium sized groups. A typical camp will have hundreds of people from several different churches at their camp at the same time. In order to be financially viable, large camps need large amounts of people to attend. Because GTD focuses on one group at a time we are able to give special attention to one group while minimizing the distractions and supplying an authentic getaway that allows groups to bond and unite.
(4) We don't do it for them, we do it with them! Most camps supply personnel that oversee specific activities such as high ropes course, mt biking, canoeing, and meal prep. GTD is unique because we supply personnel that accompanies the group 24/7 supplying constant leadership, spiritual influence, activities, and meals all while setting a God-awesome tone.
(5) Our meals are delicious! A typical camp meal may include hot dogs & beans, mass produced bland spaghetti, and cold scrambled eggs. Many camps have pre-made menus so you are stuck with what they decide. GTD puts an emphasis on tasty hearty meals such as chicken fettuccine alfredo, pizza quesadillas, jambalaya, & fajitas. And group leaders get to custom build their trip menu.
(6) We set a unique tone! Probably the most unique thing about us is that GTD is a ministry with personality! Just like seasonings can make a bland meal taste better, likewise an outgoing dynamic personality spices up a bland activity. Dynamic personalities add flavor to our events. An amazing personality will make more memories in life than any amount of resources can provide. With a Christ-centered fun loving outlook you don't have to depend on activities to supply the thrills. You don't have to depend on everything going right in order to have fun. You can have fun standing next to a broken down bus, drying sleeping bags at a laundry mat, or turning a rainy day into a slip-n-slide feast. Two different groups can raft down the same white water river and have 2 totally different experiences. They both rafted the same river, but they had different guides. A guide's personality can make or break your experience. God has brought amazing guides into GTD who steer the group's focus towards Jesus, overcoming, celebration, joy & fun!!
HISTORY OF GTD
THE BIRTH OF A NEW MINISTRY: At the age of 21, Doug Garner set out on a 17 day solo camping trip to seek God for direction in ministry. During his trip Doug spent much of his time praying and reading the Bible, as well as reading several Christian books. After weighing what he felt like God was compelling him to do combined with taking a personal inventory of his gifts, talents, passions, desires, and strengths (as well as his weaknesses, inabilities, and non-passions) the light bulb turned on. On a beautiful autumn day in November 1991 GTD was birthed as a passion in his heart. Doug's desire was to combine Biblical life principles and adventurous activities into one ministry.
It would take five years for GTD's first event to take place. During its developmental years (1991-1995) the "blueprints" of this ministry were being drawn out. It was Doug's observation that there were far too many Christians not experiencing spiritual maturity or fruitfulness as a result of a lack of perseverance and a lack of solid Biblical wisdom. This influenced the naming of the ministry. Going The Distance Adventure Ministry captures the positive and exciting tone of the Christian message, conveys an attitude of Jesus-like perseverance, and leaves plenty of room for the ministry to grow and develop in whatever direction God leads. The early years of GTD were used for laying the firm foundation of a God-focused ministry. God used these years to develop His servant and many of the plans GTD uses today. Since God is more interested in developing His children's character and dependence upon Him than just developing another program, the years from 1991-1995 were spent on preparations, prayer, and personal growth.
Then in 1996, GTD embarked on its first ever official Adventure Trip with over twenty college students from Doug's home church - First Baptist Church Of Indian Rocks. The trip was called, How Much Can You Shove Into 4 Days! It included an Atlanta Braves Baseball Game, Six Flags, Atlanta Fest, Stone Mountain Laser Light Show, Tour of Gatlinburg, White Water Rafting, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Hiking, Indoor Skydiving, and Bungee Jumping! They shoved a lot into 4 days! The trip was a great success and ushered in GTD's brand of Christian-based adventure events. The years have flown by, but God has been faithful to consistently deepen our roots while expandeding our programs. As we reflect on the past we can't help but look forward to what God has in store for the future!
WHAT WE BELIEVE
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are coequal and are one God.
Genesis 1:26,27; Psalm 24:1,2, 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2
We are all made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. We are the supreme object of God's creation. Although mankind has tremendous potential for good, we are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin." This attitude separates us from God.
Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a, 59:1,2; Romans 3:2
We all were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by our sin, or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. The place of eternal separation from God is called Hell. Heaven is the place of eternal union and eternal life with God.
Matthew 25:41; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:15 (Hell); Revelation 21:27
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is coequal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven's glory and will return to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Matthew 1:22,23; John1:1-5, 14:10-30; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:3,4; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Colossians 1:15-18; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14,15
Salvation is a gift from God to mankind. We can never make up for our sin by our good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can we be saved from sin's penalty. Eternal life begins the moment we receive Jesus Christ into our life by faith.
John 1:12; Romans 5:1, 6:23; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5
About Eternal Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the believer is secure in His salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and the keeping power of God that gives this security.
John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25, 10:10,14; 1 Peter 1:3-5
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. He is present in the world to make mankind aware of our need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to live under His control daily.
John 14:16,17, 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13, 5:1
About the Bible
The Bible is God's word to all mankind. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian life and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.
Psalm 12:6, 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5,6; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21