Doing a ‘180’ With Skateboards – and Lives

Post a Comment » Written on May 22nd, 2006     
Filed under: News
REDWOOD CITY, CA (May 22, 2006) – Chris Davidson hopes the teens who practice their skateboard rail grinds, Ollies, and kick flips will also do a “180” with their lives as well.

Davidson leads the Skatechurch ministry at Peninsula Covenant Church, where teenagers who might not otherwise attend a Christian event are reached with the gospel. He recalls a meeting during which he realized his hopes were being fulfilled.

Ready for action The small room was packed with tattooed teenage skateboarders who had come, not with their boards, but with their Bibles, for the weekly Thursday night Bible study. Davidson normally helps lead the studies, but he was running late.

When he arrived with only 10 minutes left in the scheduled time, he discovered the study being led by two young adults who had come to Christ through the ministry, one of whom was to be baptized in the coming weeks. Teenagers were becoming Christians, and leaders were developing and taking responsibility for the ministry.

Three events are planned each week:

  • Tuesday is free skating that lasts two hours with no message presented.
  • Thursday is a Bible study and skating.
  • Sunday is a combination of both. Teens can skateboard for two hours and then a half hour evangelistic message is presented.

The different evenings are designed to reach teens at different levels. The Tuesday event helps build relationships, Davidson says. “Almost every kid who comes regularly (to Tuesday events) comes to the Bible study.” Sundays give the opportunity to share the gospel in a more direct way to the people with whom they are building relationships.

Once a month, the Sunday event is replaced with a Saturday trip to one of several skate parks that are within an hour-and-a-half drive. The area between San Francisco and San Jose has the second-highest concentration of professional skaters in the country, Davidson says.

The group also takes three longer trips during the year to give the teens an opportunity to skate at different parks and learn more about discipleship:

  • Students will sleep on the floor of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Kingsburg during a four-day trip, when they will use a nearby skate park and hear messages from a member of Prison Fellowship – a former convict who became a Christian while in prison.
  • On the seven-day trip to Huntington Beach, the teens will attend The Sanctuary Church, attended primarily by skateboarders. Many of the attendees are covered with tattoos and body piercings and arrive on their skateboards.
  • The skateboarders travel with the rest of the church’s high school youth group on a nine-day mission trip, bringing their own unique style of evangelism. Three years ago, the group took all their ramps with them and attracted 200 youth who developed their own skills. The mission workers also assisted at a church and orphanage, and passed out Bibles.

Ready for action The next year, the skateboarders developed a permanent skate park, leaving their ramps. More than 300 kids attended the event that was coordinated with a local pastor, Davidson says. “At least 70 kids accepted Christ.” Earlier this year, the skateboarders returned and repaired ramps while bringing more equipment. “It was great to preach the word to the kids,” Davidson says.

The ministry at home is labor intensive. The equipment must be set up and taken down each night. It is then moved to a secure location. Several volunteers help each evening.

Davidson says the ministry reaches kids that otherwise would never hear the gospel. They often come from terribly broken families. He tells the story of one young man he encountered who has two brothers – all with different fathers – and has another man living with his mother. “He doesn’t even have a context” for a moral family life, Davidson says.

Others began the ministry in 1999, based on the model of a longstanding Portland, Oregon, ministry, which sent an intern. The 26-year-old Davidson is a graduate of Multnomah Bible College and has led the ministry since last June.

He understands the teenagers who attend the ministry. An avid skateboarders since he was 14 years old, Davidson faced some of the same struggles – he completed two cycles of drug rehabilitation before being able to get clean.

The ministry has begun to influence other parts of the country. A United Methodist crew filmed the ministry for a video to be distributed as part of a Sunday school curriculum throughout that denomination. Many churches around the country have called to get advice on how to start a similar ministry.

To learn more about the ministry, call Davidson at 650-364-6304, extension 248, or email him at

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog