Faculty Profiles

Rob Ribbe

Rob Ribbe, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, A. Duane Litfin School of Mission, Ministry, & Leadership

On Faculty since 1990
715.479.7474 x204

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I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1987, I graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in Physical Education/Exercise Physiology. I am married to Jackie, a 1990 Sociology graduate from Wheaton; we have four kids. All of my children have benefited deeply from their times as HoneyRock campers. I grew up in a Christian home and have known and followed the Lord for as long as I can remember. There were crucial experiences and relationships in my life, many of which happened at camps or in outdoor settings, in which my understanding and love for the Lord grew. The most critical contributors to my growth in Christ have been relationships with older and wiser believers, being a husband and dad, and involvement in the Church. Being a husband and dad is one of God's greatest blessings in my life.

I serve as the Director of HoneyRock and as faculty in the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership of Wheaton College. I love working at HoneyRock and Wheaton College because my passion is to develop leaders for the Church worldwide. I love to see children and emerging adults recognize God's creative touch on their lives and discover how He has called them to be part of His work in the world. I love to see students and campers grow in character and commitment when they work together to overcome challenges and build authentic communities. The natural setting of HoneyRock is a great place for this growth to happen: free from the noise, distractions and busyness of the suburban and urban world.

In recent years it has been exciting to contribute to the Christian Camping Movement worldwide. I have had the privilege of working with and training leaders in Central America, Russia, India, Canada, Africa, and across the United States. Outdoor oriented, adventure ministries are one of the most effective means to reach the most receptive hearts...that is youth and young adults. I also believe it is a vital training ground for the developing future leaders for the Kingdom of God worldwide. Camp ministry is now becoming a formalized professional field that supports the mission of churches, families, and colleges. Increasingly colleges around the globe are providing degrees, majors and training in our field. Additionally, gap year programs and outdoor orientation programs (like Wheaton Passage) are playing a vital role is preparing students for the college experience. HoneyRock, as an academic center of Wheaton College, is seeking to contribute to the enhancement and effectiveness of colleges, camps and other related experiential, outdoor ministries through training (workshops, conferences, and symposia), scholarship (research, writing, speaking), and sending equipped leaders into the world (Masters Degree in Outdoor and Adventure Leadership and Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership). 

Biola University
Ph.D., Education, 2011

Wheaton College
M.A., Educational Ministries, 1990

Wheaton College
B.S., Exercise Science, 1987

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Leadership Development for Church and Society
  • Christian Camping Movement Worldwide
  • Young Adult Identity Formation and Emerging Adulthood
  • Gap Year Programming
  • College Outdoor Orientation Programs and the Transition to College
  • Experiential Education
  • American Camping Association
  • Christian Camp and Conference Association
  • Association of Experiential Education
  • CFM 521 Personal Spiritual Formation (2)
  • OAL 548 Program Planning and Leadership (2)
  • OAL 662 Theology and Practice of Outdoor Ministry (4)
  • CFM 663 Leadership Development in Outdoor Ministry
  • CFM 241 Leadership Development (4)
  • CFM 353 Leadership and Human Systems (2)
  • CFM 474 Integrative Leadership (2)
  • Outdoor Activity Courses: Canoeing, Backpacking, Mountain Biking, Winter Skills
  1. The transition to college and the role of outdoor orientation programs in that process.
  2. Leadership Development in outdoor ministry settings.
  3. The impact of working at a camp on summer staff.
  4. The impact of Christian summer camp experiences on campers.
  5. Impact of technology and outdoor experiences on youth and young adult development
  6. The demise of guys...why men are withdrawing from the church, society, and the workplace.
  7. Role of Experiential Education in Higher Education
  8. Theological and Philosophical Foundations of Camp Ministry
  9. Developing launchable kids--the role of camp in developing grounded, responsible, resilient, committed adults
  10. Experiential Leadership Development of Emerging Adults (expected book publication 2021)

Regular Speaker at Christian Camp and Conference Association national and regional conferences (2000-2018). Topics: Spiritual formation in camp ministry. Leadership development in camp ministry. Gap Programs. Foundations of Christian Camping. Ministry Revitalization. Program and Ministry Evaluation.

Speaker at national camp conferences in Russia (2002, 2012), India (2012), Spain/Portugal (2015), Latin American (2014), and Canada (2018).

Keynote speaker at Association of Covenant Camp and Conference Centers national conference, Jan 2018.

Guest speaker on Moody Radio (2011 and 2012), Center for Youth and Parent Understanding webinar (2018), multiple CCCA webinars (2015, 2016, 2017), and multiple churches throughout the United States.

Symposium Convener: Global Symposium on Experiential Leadership Development: Exploring College and Camp Partnerships. March 2013. Wheaton College.

Symposium Convener: Exploring the Power of Camp: Developing a Research Strategy for The Christian Camp Movement. March 2015. Wheaton College.

Symposium Convener: Ministry to the Fatherlessness: Exploring the Role of Camp Ministry in serving Fatherless Youth. April 2017. Wheaton College.

Exploring the Impact of an Outdoor Orientation Program on Adaptation to College, Journal of Experiential Education
Outdoor orientation programming as a means for orientating students to college has experienced significant growth and expanded use over the past decade. An increase in rigorous research has accompanied this growth as colleges and universities seek to understand and meet the needs of young adults in transition. In this study, two research questions were asked regarding the transition into college: Does involvement in outdoor orientation programs (OOPs) improve adaptation to college (Research Question 1), and are there differences in adaptation between different types of OOPs (e.g., wilderness-, camp-, and urban-based; Research Question 2).
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Exploration of employment on summer camp staff. Insite, CCCA. April/May 2018.

Exploration of employment on summer camp staff. Insite, CCCA. April/May 2017

Exploring the Impact of Outdoor Orientation Program on Adaptation to College. Journal of Experiential Education, 2016.

Men are Missing. Insite, CCCA. Oct/Nov 2018.

Fatherlessness in America. Insite, CCCA. December 2017.

Taking an Honest Look. Insite, CCCA. August/September, 2014.

Innovation Versus Tradition. Insite, CCCA. Feb/March 2013.

Equipping your Staff for Service. Insite, CCCA. March/April 2012.

Redefining Camp Ministry as Leadership Development Laboratory. Christian Education Journal. 2010.