Reaching Higher Ground
Joshua Bode '21

An indoor rock climbing course helps students fully submit their lives to Christ.

Andy Pasek’s scene has changed drastically in the last ten years. He has gone from wilderness boulders to the Vertical Endeavors climbing facility here in Illinois. In the past, Andrew Pasek was a gym instructor and a rock climber. Now, he is a youth pastor at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, has two kids, and is married to a Timothy teacher. And, once a year, he teaches students the art of rock climbing during Renew.

Rock climbing is just a physical representation of our walk with God.

One of his favorite parts of being a Renew teacher is having the chance to interact with kids that he doesn’t usually connect with. Andy’s main objective for his rock climbing course is to lead kids into a closer and deeper relationship with Christ. Andy spends a lot of time in prayer leading up to the course. 

“My goal is to teach rock climbing,” Andy explains, “but that is just a physical representation of our walk with God.” 

He hopes that his students can learn to see the connection between climbing and their spiritual lives. “Three principles connect rock climbing and our Christian faith,” Andy explains. “You can’t ever climb a mountain without looking up, because you need to see what to do next. In the same way, you have to go through life looking up to Christ and fixing your eyes on him.” 

Andy believes that there are a few simple things we can do to keep focusing on Christ. He encourages students to spend time in the Word, praying, and regularly attending church. 

Andy’s second point is this: “A solo climber is a dead climber. Don’t climb alone, get yourself a partner. In the same way, you cannot be one person against the world and go through life all by yourself. God intended us to live life with others.” 

Andy’s favorite people are teenagers, and he is convinced that students at Timothy can help each other grow in their faith. 

Andy’s third point that he teaches his students: “We all fall in life, just like we fall in rock climbing.” Andy explains to his students, “When we are climbing, we have a rope to catch us. In life, we have Jesus Christ to catch us.”

Andy’s goal for his students is for them to fully submit to God and to trust him with every aspect of their lives, and for them to develop a close and tight-knit relationship with fellow students based on their faith. “Believing and knowing God are two different things,” Andy says. “Just believing that God exists doesn’t change the way we live. My prayer for my students is that they give God supreme control over their lives.”

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