In this world, there are people who agree, those who follow the rules, those who color their lives within the lines. There are also people who find ways to push back, stretch the boundaries, to rebel a little bit. I know that when I was growing up, I tended to find myself in-between most of the time.
Well, like all of us as individuals, the church has also found itself following these patterns. Some follow the mold that "church" is supposed to mean, while others push the boundaries and seek new ways to reach those who are lost. Some are even willing to break a rule or two if it means that the gospel can be presented.
This reality is where we stood when we entered the indoor skate rink of Sk8 Church.
When Viv and I set out on this journey to capture all of what God has been doing in our country before, during, and after the hardships that 2020 brought many of us, we had hoped and prayed that God would challenge us and our understanding of the church and what "ministry" is supposed to look like all together. PRAISE God for working in ways that I never could. PRAISE God for reaching people in the places that I wouldn't have ever gone. And PRAISE God for using the languages we all speak to touch our lives and offer us hope in all things.
What started as an after-school program to give the youth something other to do than find themselves in trouble has now blossomed into one of the most authentic expressions of ministry that Viv and I have ever seen. A typical gathering looks like skating, food, skating, a "message," and more skating. Whether you have a faith background, completely reject everything about religion, or find yourself somewhere in between, Sk8 Church has a way of meeting everyone where they are with love, kindness, truth, and a chance to skate.
The "message" that we had the opportunity to listen to was simply a group of 25 or so young adults who sat around eating pizza asking their leader Nate questions about the bible, faith, and Jesus. Nate patiently let them ask any questions they wanted and led them through the provided bibles to passages to support his claims. Some topics that were brought up: dinosaurs, homosexuality, murder, righteous violence, and aliens!
Talk about DEEP
Nate met all of their inquiries with equal tone and demeanor and not one eye strayed from him as he answered. Each and every question found its way back to the truth of who Jesus is, and who he says we are as his beloved children. Praise God for the way that he is stirring the hearts of everyone there.
After the message, we asked the skaters "What does Sk8 Church mean to you?"
It is clear...this place is special.
Remember when I said that some ministries were willing to push what is "normal" in order for the work of the gospel to be done? Well in the midst of COVID, Sk8 church chose to remain available to their community and God rewarded their persistence in their service.
While many doors were shut, Sk8 Church's remained open, giving God the chance to move in the lives of a young woman who had nowhere else to go. She arrived on their doorstep, drowning in addiction and hopelessness. And at that moment, she was met with love, patience, and resources. When he shared how Sk8 Church was able to serve this woman no more than 5 months ago, Nate was overwhelmed with God's goodness and love. This woman remains in sobriety now and is a testimony to the work that God is accomplishing here. Sometimes it's ok to break the rules.
Who would have thought that God's light would shine so bright in a place that looks so different from prayer rooms, pews, and pastors? PRAISE God that he can change and shape lives anywhere.
After hearing this story, and picturing a bunch of skaters moving towards Jesus when many of us are running the other way, how might you change the way you see the church? Does that change the way you live in that reality today?
Thank you for reading, and join us in prayer as we ask God to do even more amazing things in the lives of those skaters in Steamboat Springs, CO!
Here is the Full Video of our time with Sk8 Church! Check it out below!
John & Viv
Want to see what God is doing in some other unique ministries?