Identity Ep. 6 | Brad Thoms and Unconventional Mentorship

by Colin McFarland | Uncharted


  • Rocky Mountain National Park was the gateway to see God’s creativity and uniqueness through His creation and His people all over the world | 3:10
  • Bridging the gap between the church world and the outdoors through mentorship | 6:00
  • As a couple, he and his wife have learned patience and understanding to be able to work through conflict, serve the Lord all over the world, and be an example for college students  | 13:10
  • Rock climbing has a lot of parallels to life and relationships  | 15:17
  • Seeing the big picture when we can’t even see the next foothold | 17:30
  • Our dependence is not on what we can control | 20:20
  • The difference between core beliefs and biblical culture | 21:00
  • Desire to come alongside college students in their transition period, and newfound responsibility and freedom they have to make their own decisions. They learn what a relationship outside of the digital looks like, and how that can affect their relationship with Jesus | 22:28
  • Our heart is to prepare students for a lifetime of ministry, to be equipped and confident in their own faith | 26:38



Mentorship and Discipleship have been key in Brad’s faith journey. He has had many mentors since high school helping him define who he is and the bigger picture beyond self-gratification and the outside world. As a college student, he knew he wanted to prioritize his faith, so he joined a college ministry called Campus Crusades, now known as Cru. As Brad finished college, he knew he wanted to be able to combine the love of the outdoors and his faith at the same time. Through mentorship from other climbers with Cru, he is able to learn the techniques and skills for the outdoors while also growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally.


Rock Climbing has a lot of parallels to life and relationships. It’s been fun to pursue the sport as a couple. We really have to have clear communication, trust one another as you are belaying, it’s a bonding experience over this shared, risky adventure together. One of Brad’s favorite stories is of the paraplegic man who can’t get into the temple through the front door or even through the window to see Jesus. So, they climb onto the roof and lower him down so that he can be in front of Jesus. It’s a really unconventional way to get someone who desperately needs healing to the healer. In a lot of ways, this is how we can get students to say yes and see the example through our actions who Jesus is. It’s kind of unconventional, but really impactful.


We push our students out of their comfort zone when we go on international trips. Many have never traveled before, and many have never done backpacking or rock climbing. So, we really push them to get to a point where they realize their dependence can’t be on what they can control; they have to depend on Jesus for their comfort and their security, because at the end of the day, that’s all we really have. There is a lot of value in understanding another culture, understanding many people live different from each other. These trips teach our students that there is a difference between core beliefs and biblical culture. There are many ways to worship the Lord, just because they are different doesn’t mean it is wrong, we learn to have grace for each other when we understand this.


Welcome back for another inspiring episode of Uncharted. We continue our identity series with Brad Thoms. Brad grew up in Estes Park, Colorado and found his love of the outdoors through month-long summer camps as a kid. Today, he and his wife work with college students as outdoor guides in backpacking and rock climbing through Cru, a ministry for college students.

In this episode you will learn the importance of mentorship and the impact it has at all stages of life. Brad shares his passion of sharing the gospel in unconventional ways through rock climbing and backpacking.

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.  Also, as a bonus, Brad’s Wife, Sarah, is on this week’s episode for Anchor + Waves!


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