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Pathfinder Missions Making an Impact through Bronze, Silver, and Gold Missions Adventures

Pathfinder Missions, a branch of Royal Rangers, is sending teams on impacting missions trips in the U.S. and around the world.
They built eight churches, remodeled and completed several other churches, built a cabin on the Royal Rangers campground, and participated in hurricane relief and children’s ministries projects while raising nearly $400,000 and donating more than 35,000 hours of labor in 2023 — yet few have ever heard of Pathfinder Missions.

Pathfinder Missions is probably one of the best kept secrets in the Assemblies of God,” say Royal Rangers national director Karl Fleig. “Pathfinder, an affiliate of Royal Rangers, raises hundreds of thousands of dollars and completes multiple missions projects every year. And not only are ministries and missionaries blessed through their efforts, but those who participate are never the same.”

Fleig explains that Pathfinder Missions trips are designed for Royal Rangers and men to experience missions firsthand.

“We want to activate our men and our boys for missions,” Fleig states. “Our Master’s Toolbox with BGMC helps teach boys to be generous; Pathfinder is more hands on, where time, talent, and funds are given to better a ministry or missionary effort.”


Pathfinder Missions trips are divided into bronze (stateside), silver (traditional overseas trips), and gold (physically challenging/remote).

“Boys, for the most part, participate in the bronze trips — clean-up, landscaping, repairs, painting, assisting with outreaches, disaster relief, and similar efforts,” Fleig says. “Silver trips are out-of-country trips that typically include some time off for sightseeing, sleeping in a hotel, and modern facilities.”

Gold trips, however, are true wilderness adventures and basically go where others can’t go due to the extreme demands on strength, endurance, and adaptability to native living.

“We go out into the bush,” Fleig says. “The last gold trip I went on was four days travel, including two full days up the Amazon River by boat, where we spent four 12-hour days building a church from barren ground to completion, and four days travel back home. There were no modern facilities, our electricity was limited to a gas-powered generator, and we ate what was provided to us.”

Ron Harrison, Pathfinder Missions coordinator for the last three years, notes that any level trip is more than worth the effort.

“They’re going to get a life-changing experience out of going to serve,” Harrison states. “And for the commanders who go on silver or gold trips, it gives them a chance to come back and tell stories about their trip to encourage boys that when they get old enough (minimum age is 14), they want to go on a missions trip.”

Fleig says Pathfinder Missions used to be limited to the Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship (FCF) a branch of Royal Rangers where members have opportunity to develop skills based on the traditions of the early American frontiersman. However, three years ago, they decided to move Pathfinder Missions to be its own branch of Royal Rangers to benefit all Royal Ranger boys and men.

“Missions is a big part of who we are — it’s central to the Assemblies of God and Christ’s call to the Great Commission,” Fleig says.

In 2023, Pathfinder Missions had a strong focus on Latin America, making two trips each to Bolivia and Peru along with trips to Panama and Columbia.

“We’re just getting off the ground with gathering information about bronze trips,” Fleig says. “Bronze trips can be coordinated by any outpost, so although we have many bronze-level events taking place every year involving a lot of boys, in order for those participants to be eligible for the Pathfinder Award, they need to meet the criteria listed as well as report their efforts — information we’re still looking to gather more efficiently.”


Giving to missions, Fleig says, is one thing; being a physical part of missions is something totally different.

“For the men on silver trips and especially the gold trips, they are often exposed for the first time to how people in other parts of the world live,” Fleig explains. “Few fully realize how blessed we are in the United States until they experience life without electricity, air conditioning, fast food (fast anything), indoor plumbing, refrigeration, paved roads, or so many things we take for granted.”

Harrison confirms the challenges, but also notes that almost everyone going on a missions trip can’t wait to go on another one.

“They get back and start saving money for their next trip,” Harrison says, “or at the very least, you see them supporting missions efforts in a much stronger way.”

Harrison says that missions trips have changed the trajectory of boys’ lives, noting how one 14-year-old boy was so captivated by his first missions experience, he went on as many trips as he could. And now, as an adult, he has become the missions trip coordinator at his church and leads Pathfinder trips all over the world.

“An older gentleman, went on his first Pathfinder Missions trip several years ago,” Harrison recalls. “That trip turned to dozens all over the world. Pathfinder Missions so impacted his life he would talk to anyone who would listen about missions. He raised funds for trips, building materials, and traveled on missions trips up until the year he passed away at the age of 76. He instilled the love of missions in his family, taking his grandchildren on many trips. His legacy continues to live on in his children and grandchildren, who donate generously to Pathfinder projects and go on the trips as well.”

The bronze trips, however, are not to be overlooked. Many of the bronze-level projects boys most often take part in – where their physical efforts make a real difference in lives of missionaries and ministry leaders — not only bless missionaries and ministries, but help bring home the point that they are making a real difference for missions.


“We want to come in and support whatever the missionary’s vision is,” Harrison says. “We want to give them a boost and not be a burden. Many missionaries don’t have the funds to see their vision come to life, but as we bring the labor and the funds to help fulfill their vision, we leave behind a missionary whose ministry potential has been greatly increased.”

And that’s not all Pathfinder participants leave behind. Many times, when ministering in underdeveloped nations, the worst set of clothing in a participant’s closet is better than anything the nationals have.

“We often leave behind all our clothes, except for what we’re wearing, when we leave,” Harrison says. “It’s a real blessing to them.”

“In the United States, there are also a lot of missionaries and ministries working in some challenging circumstances,” Fleig points out. “Bronze trips may not send people into the Amazon jungle, but the work they do is just as appreciated.”

However, the physical aspect aside, Fleig confirms that what’s most notable about men and Royal Rangers who go on these missions trips is the change of heart.

“I believe the Holy Spirit opens spiritual eyes and gives those who participate a stronger heartbeat for missions . . . the more guys who participate in a missions trip, the better we’re going to be as a ministry because it’s going to change their hearts,” Fleig states. “Missional hearts and generous spirits are what we want all our guys and boys to have.”

To learn more about Pathfinder Missions for Royal Rangers — leaders and boys — as well as for the men and women of the church or to help make these trips possible, see PathfinderMissions.org. To view descriptions/expectations of each trip level, click here.

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.