An open letter to HBF followers

For those of you who follow my website, you might have noticed a change. The hikebyfaith.com domain is no longer being used. I’ve gone back to using the free WordPress version. So be sure to update your bookmark, if you use them, to the following the address; hikebyfaith.wordpress.com.

Now with that little detail out of the way I hope you will continue to read on.

When I launched HIke By Faith, now known as HBF Outdoors, in 2013 I did so with the intention of sharing my own outdoors adventures and how God uses my time in the woods to connect with him deeper and teach me lessons about life. Blog posts were written with the intent of inspiring others to get outside to enjoy His creation and connect with Him away from the distractions of daily routines and technology.

But something happened that shifted HBF into a direction it was not intended to go. As I began connecting more with the outdoor industry everything became about plugging a product or brand. Stories of my adventures faded and were replaced with gear reviews and information anyone can obtain from the thousands of other outdoor-themed websites floating around the web. I’ll admit, it was fun, but as time went on I became restless inside. Ideas came and went on how to grow HBF into a business. Some never developed and others, like #LHX became a reality. Of all the ideas #LHX is the only one that is continuing with it’s soon to come second annual event this April 2018. Still, while I plugged away at various ideas, creating and posting content to plug a product something did not sit right.

It wasn’t until after #LHX2017 that I began to take a serious look and marinate on what was causing my restlessness regarding HBF. Don’t get me wrong, #LHX2017 was a success and we all had a blast. But I believe God used that event to nudge me more and get me to realize I needed to listen to what He was trying to tell me.

#LHX2017 was in April, that was six months ago, but I finally discovered the restlessness within weeks after the event. So why has it taken me until now to share this revelation? The answer is simple and one word, but not easy to confess. Fear. I had built and established a relationship with the outdoor community that typically does not involve or bring faith into the mix. I didn’t want to offend anyone. At least the community I was connected to. I was concerned if I brought HBF back to its original purpose I’d lose those connections and even be shunned from the community. Not only was this line of thinking absurd, it was also wrong.

Once I realized what I was doing, that I was more concerned about what others would think rather than what God wants me to do with HBF, it was time, to be honest with myself as well as all of you.

HBF Outdoors is faith-based. It means that Jesus is at the center and will be spoken of on everything I do on my website, social media content and in the outdoors. I realize some of you may not like this and even have “suggestions.” It wouldn’t be the first time. It was once suggested to me that I change the name so people wouldn’t be offended or turned off. The sad thing is considered it for a moment. I also realize some of you may even be offended and choose to not be a part of HBF Outdoors. That is your choice, but I hope you will stick around. As for any brands I represent, I doubt any of this will change your mind, but if it does I will step down willingly and with gratitude for the time you have allowed me to represent your company, but I must stay true to the purpose of HBF Outdoors regardless of any popular brand.

As for my followers who are Christian’s, my apologies for losing focus of why I started HBF, and I ask for your forgiveness. I ask of one favor from you, to keep me accountable to the purpose of HBF Outdoors.

To inspire others to connect with the outdoors through experiences that bring them closer to Jesus.

The restlessness of the soul comes from going against the grain. The freedom from that restlessness comes when we stop fighting ourselves and surrender to the purpose for which we are called.

I look forward to sharing my stories and inspiring you to connect with the outdoors through experiences that bring you closer to Jesus.

I’ll see in the woods on a trail somewhere.

His servant,

Brian Ford, HBF Outdoors

 

 

 

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6 responses to “An open letter to HBF followers

  1. I appreciate your candor and transparency. As I’ve stood along HBF, I’ve noticed the drifting from what I had thought was your original intent. However, it didn’t bother me because I never saw it drift into anything wrong or bad. In any event, I’m glad that you feel that you are getting reoriented.

    As you know, I am a fellow follower of Jesus. No doubt i turn some some people off because of who I have become. But, I’ve come too far; I’ve seen too much; I’ve experienced too much; I know too much for me to even consider living any other way.

    • Where HBF had gone was not what was wrong. Where I went wrong was drifting away from the purpose and then allowing it to continue because I was concerned of other people’s opinions. I could probably continue pursuing the things I did over the past year, however I believe it would be a distraction. At least for the time being. Reorienting HBF’s purpose is my first priority. Where it goes is God’s. Thank you for the encourage and support.

  2. Kudos! I’m really happy that you’re heading back to your original goal. I’m a lifelong atheist and, to be frank, I just don’t understand the appeal of organized religion. But I’ll remain a reader because I appreciate the positive experiences you have on our public lands and I’m glad you’re doing your part to inspire others to get out more, too. 🙂

    • I agree with you regarding organized religion. I focus on my relationship with God. Organized religion has too many rules created by man that no one can keep.
      The outdoors is where we connect with what matters most in life. For me a big part of that connection is God. It’s lifelong journey for which I have failed and succeeded. If my faith plays some role in inspiring others to get outside on their journey of discovering what matters most in life than I’ve accomplished my goal.
      I appreciate your support and encouragement and respect your views even if they differ from mine.
      I want HBF Outdoors be a platform for collaboration among like-minded people who love the outdoors.

  3. Hi Brian. It’s funny that when I first ran into your blog awhile ago, the title had me thinking that its direction would be as you have written it here but it wasn’t apparent in what I found. I totally get what you are saying. I don’t say that to make you feel bad, mostly because I think we had the same intent when we each started our blogs. How to share both the amazing gift of the outdoors and our faith in Jesus. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to do that and opted to do it in a way that was true to me (AKA more subtle) because I have never been a very evangelical person. I choose to weave Him into my posts just as I would talk in real life. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about my words when I write and wonder if I sound too “preachy” or would this offend anyone. I’m not sure I always do the right thing but I am hoping that however I DO write speaks to someone’s heart in the way the message needs to go in. I think it is amazing that you have been able to draw strength from your faith and come forward (again) to speak what is in your heart. I pray you are able to continue to be true to yourself and share your faith as you are called.
    P.S. I, also, think it’s funny we both picked the same theme, as well. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Friday Faves 10/27/2017 – Must Hike Must Eat·

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