I know exactly where you’ve been. I know what’s like to feel like an outsider. I’ve sat in church pews and have been judged by my appearance. I’ve sat on my skateboard and have been mocked because of my beliefs. I’ve tried to hold conversations with church-goers who see no value in a ‘radical ministry’ outside of the church. I’ve held conversations with strongly opinionated skateboarders who think that I am ignorant because I believe in a God who created me.
The tattoos I bare on my arms that are often stared at while I’m in church are the same ones that are made fun of because they contain a verse from Romans. I’ve been told numerous times (even by people I love) that maybe it’s time to give up skateboarding. I’ve also been told numerous times by skateboarders to give up ministry, quit believing in a ‘fairy tale’, and live life on my own terms.
The inspiration for this blog comes from a realization I had. Recently I had traveled to one of the fastest growing and most influential churches in the United States. During my time spent there I met many very talented individuals who work in full time ministry. When I was asked the question (numerous times) “What do you do in ministry?” I noticed I was given two different responses from most people. It was either “Cool!...” Which I assume by the same look on everyone’s face that means I don’t know what that is or I received a “Is that kind of like (insert random evangelistic niche here)? The take away here was that some of the biggest names and most influential people in ministry have no idea what we do or can even see the value in it.
There are close to 10 million skateboarders in the United States. Skateboarding is the fastest growing sport in the United States, according to research published in the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics (2017). If people cannot see value in that, they’re completely oblivious. When Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” He was talking about opportunities exactly like this.
We are given such a large platform to reach individuals who are broken, struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, emptiness, and have been left hurt (maybe even from the church.) Sadly, there are only a small handful of individuals who are investing in the action sports community. Even that number is declining due to the enticing worldly desires and outside influences demeaning our worth.
Take heart, leaders! You have more value and worth than what others see. There are literally millions of people counting on you to bring light into a community that society has deemed as outsiders. Let us continue to build each other up, push our pride aside from us, and leave fear far behind us. We have an opportunity to reach those in places that churches are overlooking. We have an opportunity to step outside of four walls and speak life into the world. Keep pressing on! You were created to be a difference maker, a truth speaker, and a world changer!
-Dylan Harreld // Founder - Varsity Ministries