Ep. 4 | AJ Dudek and Navigating the River

Hosted by Tyler Soulek + COLIN MCFARLAND


  • An introduction to AJ, everything from fishing to cheese curds | 1:01
  • Dipping your toes into those icy Rocky Mountain Rivers for the first time | 5:33
  • You have to love your craft and you have to love people  | 12:31
  • When you step out into the waters, and look at His creation, it’s easy to remember we serve a creative God  | 16:12
  • The pursuit of what is elusive, but attainable; a perpetual series of occasions for hope | 18:54
  • Glance vs Glare  | 23:42
  • The lessons you learn on the river can apply to being a dad (trust us)  | 28:49
  • Don’t view your hobbies as a disconnect from life, but an opportunity to run to Him!  | 32:39



AJ has a really unique perspective when it comes to combining something people can relate to (fly-fishing, well, at least around here) and discipleship. He had a guide that used to evaluate their day(s) in one of the following ways; either, “I fished poorly today” or, “I fished well today”. And those statements were directly correlated to the success of the communication between him and his clients. Often times, those that are led on a guided fly fishing trip are unfamiliar with the territory and terminology! When our “clients” aren’t successful, we put that on us. So the guide needs to be cognizant of how they’re reaching these newbies, which is very similar to discipleship. People have different learning styles and we have to recognize that for successes to occur. Often times, we’re faced with people that are unfamiliar with the stories we may have grown up with, it’s pivotal for us, as leaders, to reach them where they are.


When you step outside with your morning coffee and see the snow falling, freshly packed at your feet, He’s speaking to us. It’s so easy to look outside at the mountains or ocean, these grand features, and remember that we serve a creative God. But how do we implement that in our ministry, in our every day lives? AJ makes a point towards the stillness and calmness that he insists on implementing on his guide trips (along with his ministry). When you see people unplug, and connect with creation, their attitudes change! Since God is Lord over both heaven and Earth, we have an absolute right to take people out there and show them that.

3 | Shoulder to Shoulder

We learn to be on the offensive. When we are teaching, mentoring, and training disciples, we can’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for people to ask us questions. We can’t be timid or shy in pursuing truth with men. We, as men, are often more comfortable doing life shoulder to shoulder, in pursuit of a common goal during an activity, rather than sitting face to face talking. We have to be in constant pursuit of looking for what the next move is for those that we’re guiding. It helps to build rapport, it helps to build trust! We’re called to go forward, stand in the gap for them as a guide, and make sure that they’re taught well.

4 | Rhythms of Rest

We have to model the behaviors that we want the next generation to emulate. They learn by watching us and we have to constantly be aware of what they’re watching, what we’re saying and doing. One awesome suggestion that AJ brings up is, “You can’t be busy all the time”. Seasons and rhythms aren’t only healthy, but they are biblical as well. At big churches there are a lot of things going on! There are events, and volunteer opportunities and lots of stuff to sign up for! But we can’t fall under the assumption that the church will raise our kids for us. That’s on us! We have to model who we want them to become. 


Welcome back to our 4th episode of Identity here on Uncharted. Today we have a great guest, AJ Dudek. AJ is a midwest soul who spent a lot of time in Colorado exploring his faith, solidifying his love for Jesus, and trying to drain the rivers of all their fish. Colin and AJ met while living in Estes Park, CO a few years ago and AJ is now the Associate Pastor for Adult Ministries at Appleton Alliance Church up in Wisconsin.

AJ has a wonderful perspective on discipleship and mentoring and we hope that you are both encouraged and impassioned to not only get outdoors and fall in love with God’s creation but also to crack your Bibles and fall in love with His Word. Tune in and get ready to take notes, AJ drops wisdom like it’s his job (which it kind of is). 

You can also listen in on our Women’s Podcast Channel: Anchor + Waves, as we’re currently running a sister-program on that channel for female athletes also called Identity.


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