A Wise Rookie


Our newest hiker, John, has only been a children’s pastor for two years. So, in his words, “renewal is not high on the list” but after experiencing a major children’s ministry conference and being overwhelmed by all the pressure to “do this” and “do that” and copy other ministries, John decided he first wanted to learn how to better breakthrough to God’s love and will to get clear direction from what God wants for his ministry. When he stumbled upon this site he writes,

“This is it, I said, the unConference! I can hang out with Karl and some other crazy kidz pastors for a few days in a place of unsurpassed beauty and just talk with God. I’m in.”

I resisted the urge to take John’s suggestion to make a picture of a “John on the top of El Capitan” for the site. I’ve outgrown potty humor, but we’ll all appreciate having a John nearby at all times. But whatever you do, Don’t click this link, I’m not responsible for what you will see.

NOTE: Some awesome Yosemite pics can be found here including the one displayed above.

Yosemite Summit 2008 Report

  • Don’t miss the video at the end, and click any picture for a larger view.


It’s hard to believe the Yosemite Summit 2008 is over. It’s been several weeks, but it still feels like a part of me is still there in the Sierra Nevada. It’s been fun sorting through the 5000+ pictures we took and reliving the fun memories. Not only the incredible PLACE we were, but the awesome friendships that were formed and will continue to grow in the years ahead.



It was an amazing time together and God did some incredible work in our lives. For me, my soul comes alive in this place and I finally feel truly free. We started our first day watching the sun rise at Glacier Point. The views are simply spectacular!



It was a time to leave the busyness and noise of normal life behind and just listen to God. There were times we could just sit and soak our souls in the presence of God as well as walking with Him on the incredible hikes.



There is just something powerful about reading God’s Word and praying when you are in a place where His handiwork is so much on display. The rocks indeed did cry out – God is real, and God is here.



The hikes themselves were indescribable. The first day we did a solitude hike (each separated by about five minutes so we could hike alone with God) and then on the second day we did the Panoama Trail which took us on an incredible hike around the rim of the valley, through many types of landscape and ended with the Mist Trail which goes to the top and then down the side of two thundering waterfalls. In the picture below we are near the starting point and in the background you can see the waterfall we would be at some seven hours later!



By the third day we did some easier hikes that had incredible views of the valley, some with a few straight down of seveal thousand feet! Below is one of the few railings due to the incredible drop straight down over 3500 feet!



The hikes were challenging – but the views breathtaking and like nowhere else on this continent. Not only can you not believe what you are seeing is real, but when you are hiking, you can’t believe “I’ll be there in a few hours” or “I was there yesterday?” We hiked through areas that at times looked like Narnia in winter – under the shadow of huge trees walking on several feet of snow while at other times we were out on barren rock checking out lizards. The scenery and climate changed constantly. We’d be hot and enjoying cold water to cool off, and later getting drenched from the mist of a raging waterfall. Like I often say, “This is the place God just showed off.”



I have been to MANY National Parks and NONE have the views and variety and splendor of Yosemite. I’ve often said the Grand Canyon is a yawner if you’ve been to Yosemite. We ran into some guys who were at the Grand Canyon just two days before (doing a cross country hiking trip) and they said Yosemite outdid anything they had seen at the Grand Canyon. They were in awe and said Yosemite far exceeded even their high expectations!



Yosemite is a photographers heaven. My wife was a little worried that I’d fall off a cliff in pursuit of a great picture and end up in real heaven. So I told her any time I saw an awesome, but dangerous, photo opportunity, my motto would be WWSS. (What Would Sara Say?) That motto cost me many potentially incredible shots… but also brought me home alive.



I have been dreaming of doing some of the serious hikes at Yosemite since I was a boy. Coming on this trip, and bringing a group of fellow children’s pastors with me was a dream come true. At one point I asked Yosemite had lived up to my grand descriptions of Yosemite before we arrived – and they all said no. One guy said, “You didn’t do Yosemite justice. You can’t begin to describe this place.”



There were people there from all over the world. (I was surprised there weren’t more Americans – or are we too used to having entertainment pumped into our homes?) I don’t know how anyone comes to this place and doesn’t leave with an awed sense of having been in the presence of the Creator. Everything here points to one thing: GOD.



It was truly a time of experiencing God in a place where his creative power is on full display and where his Voice is more easily heard. Men, as you watch this video, whisper a quiet prayer asking God if He is calling you to join us next year for Yosemite Summit 2009.

2008 Highlight Video:

Chip Off The Old Rock?


That’s Chip at the top of Half Dome!

Chip is the latest to join us at Yosemite Summit! We are now past the half way mark with ONLY THREE SPOTS left for guys to join us for Yosemite Summit. Registration can not be increased, once we have eight there will be a waiting list!

Why is Chip joining us?

I love the thought of sitting in God’s presence in silence and just allowing God to speak. I feel like getting up on this Summit will give me a great chance to sit in God’s presence amidst God’s beauty and develop some better disciplines in my life. Also, the chance to hang out with some fellow men in my position and talk about what God is doing in each of them and in their ministries. Who knows what God might do through the eight of us. – Chip

I couldn’t agree more. Don’t hesitate and miss out! This could be the chance of a lifetime!

Yosemite Summit 2009 Registraion Opens SOON!

Just want those who follow this site or subscribe to RSS to be the first to know that registration for Yosemite Summit 2009 will open August 10th and it is first deposit – first go! This event is expected to fill up again, so don’t miss out! ONLY EIGHT MEN can come with Karl on this once in a life time adventure in Yosemite!


My iPhone wallpaper photo taken on the
Panorama Trail during Yosemite Summit 2008.

Half FULL, Not Half Empty!

halfcup.pngIt has long been said that to an optimist the cup is Half Full, and to a pessimist the cup is Half Empty. Well, I am excited to let you know that Yosemite Summit is now HALF FULL – which means if you are feeling “half empty” in your spiritual life – there is still room for you to join us! But only FOUR SPOTS REMAIN for this amazing journey to one of the most spectacular places on God’s Earth to enjoy some deep fellowship with 7 other men who share your love for God and passion for kids.

Welcome Dave to Yosemite Summit 2008! Dave will be leaving Louisiana to join us and is looking for a place where, in his own words,

“I can see a renewal of my love for doing what I do, ministry to children. A renewal of priorities in my life. A time away from the distractions of life to totally focus on God.”

If that sounds like something you could benefit from as well, won’t you join us?

I am optimistic that God will quickly bring the Final Four men to join us. Don’t wait until it is too late!

Hearing God Through the Noise

It is true that God is not distant, but it is difficult to hear Him over the noise of daily life. I believe that is why God bothered to create such a magnificent planet! We are so busy doing so many things, and yet God waits for us to notice Him and make time for Him. Perhaps you have felt the world (even ministry) squeezing the life out of the spiritual life. You know in your heart you need to get away and re-connect with God. There is no better place that to get out into the wonder of nature where God’s majesty is on display!

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” wrote the 19th-century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

I’m sure you’ve been to a place that silenced the noise and where God’s still small voice could be heard as though it was a gentle thunder. Yosemite is one of those places.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

Pslam 19:1-6

I invite you to come along with me. It will be a fantastic time of hiking, relaxing, reading, worship, prayer and fellowship with some fellow pilgrims who share you passion for ministry and longing to know God better. Won’t you join us?



One of our Summiteers ruptured his achilles tendon and is headed into 9 months of rehab. (ouch!) Seems the doctor doesn’t think hiking Yosemite is such a good idea. I’ve gone ahead and guaranteed him the first spot in Yosemite Summit 2009 – but that means we have ONE MORE SPOT OPEN for this May.

If you would like to join us, register ASAP! 

Announcing Yosemite Summit 2008


May 18-22, 2008
Sunday to Thursday

The Unconference for Childrens Pastors

No Workshops – Just Worship
No Resources – Just Relationships
No Networking – Just God Working

Yosemite Summit is five day personal sabbatical for male children’s pastors located in the heart of one of the most spectacular National Parks in America. This refreshing summit of renewal is limited to only eight men who will be staying at a luxurious lodge inside Yosemite and only ten miles from the famously breathtaking Yosemite Valley.

Get away from the office, the church, the phones, the Internet, and the busyness of life and ministry and re-coop with some fellow ministers hiking, worshiping, and enjoying genuinely refreshing fellowship surrounded by vistas that only God could create.

This retreat will be a structured time of renewal that will provide both group and personal time of reflection, prayer, reading, and worship in a setting where God can truly be heard and experienced. Day hikes to some of the most stunning vistas in the world and evenings of rest and relaxation. (even a hot tub!)

Yosemite Summit is a ministry of Kidology.org which exists to equip and encourage those who minister to children. Kidology founder, Karl Bastian, will be your host – but the guest speaker will be Jesus Himself as each man allows this retreat to be a time and place where he can meet with God removed from the distractions and pressures of daily ministry life.

For more information, browse this site. Registration is limited to 7 men who will join Karl on this retreat. To register send the Summit Application as soon as possible. After the seven spots are filled, there will be a waiting list in case there is an opening later on.

You are invited to the only children’s ministry conference where you will get absolutely no practical ideas or helpful resources for children’s ministry – but you will get help with the most important aspect of your ministry – your walk with God.

The Hot Tub is Almost Full!

Yes, it’s true. The outdoor hot tub at our amazing lodge in Yosemite National Park is a four person hot tub, and Tom, a children’s pastor from Pennsylvania will be leaving his wife and four kids behind to soak in more than just hot water… he’ll be soaking in the presence of God in one of the most amazing places on earth. He’s never been farther West than Kansas, but he is headin’ to Yosemite Summit!



Yosemite Summit: 37.5% full – only 5 spots left!

Register soon for the experience of a life time. I am praying daily for God to brig together just the right eight men for this summit of renewal. Questions? Contact Karl.

Whisper or Two-by-Four?

Steve Farrar in his book “Quiet Whispers from God’s Heart for Men” writes in the introduction:

If I’d been choosing the title for this book, I wouldn’t have chosen a phrase like Whispers for Men. I would have suggested Tow-by-Four’s for Men. It seems to me that it takes a two-by-four across the side of my head for God to get my attention.

But before God ever takes out the two-by-four, He whispers. He speaks gently. He speaks quietly. Yet we’re usually so busy and so preoccupied that we don’t hear…. Part of growing in our Christian life is learning to hear God when He whispers. And life is certainly much easier when we respond to a whisper rather than something more sever….

THIS IS WHY WE ARE GOING TO YOSEMITE! To hear God whisper. To get AWAY from the busyness if ministry that can suck our spiritual life dry. To hear what God is trying to tell us before He needs to do something severe.

I invite you to join me!