And you ask, why would I want skateboarders at my church?  The answer is clear.  Hardcore skateboarders – the ones who do tricks and flips – aren’t generally welcome in a lot of churches.  But they are young men (usually) who need Jesus just as much as anyone else, and few people are reaching out to them.

What do you do to reach them?

In North Carolina, a skateboard church is reaching this segment of the population that might have never stepped inside a church under different circumstances.

“We have graffiti on the walls and ramps that go to the ceiling and different things, and we crank loud music when we are skating. But we present the word and we stick by the truth, and what God’s given us in the Bible, we hold to that. We’re given the opportunity to speak to individuals that otherwise don’t get to hear the Gospel.”

At West Seattle’s Skate Church,  the approach was to open a skateboard shop, called TORN.  Using their non-profit status, they’re able to sell name-brand skate decks at a discount.  They also advertise TORN as the best place for candy and energy drinks because the shop is “cheaper than 7-11…closer than Safeway.

“The rectangular store has couches instead of pews, energy drinks and candy instead of coffee and doughnuts, and a drum set and several amps in its worship center. … a place where teens would choose to come and hang out, and not just once a week. He believes “just coming together on Sundays is not church, because church should be something that is happening all the time.”

The message is that you don’t have to be boring to be a Christian, and you don’t have to turn your back on the secular world, only the evil in it. Shiloh Mulkin, 17, gives the reason for using skating to reach people for Jesus:   “A lot of the skating scene that I’ve witnessed is drugs and stuff, and we’re just trying to give kids a different alternative,” he says. “We don’t want people to see just smoking and doing drugs and skating, and see them as all together.”

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If you try a skate ministry, remember to spend some time doing real skateboarding, not just skateboarding references in regular sermons.  West Seattle’s Boarders for Christ member Scott Yamamura says “When they throw a contest, it’s just a regular contest. It’s not really preaching; they are just supporting skateboarding.”

Read all about it here and here.

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