“They don’t teach you about this at seminary,” laughed youth pastor Shawn Hofing.
“This” is the time Hofing spends with skateboarders at what is known as “Skate Church.” Third Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Wash., has welcomed young skateboarders from the community to its barn/sanctuary for the past dozen years.
“No Skating” signs posted around town left boarders with no place to skate but on a ramp in the church’s parking lot. That single ramp soon grew to a ramp collection complete with half-pipes located in a large Lynden barn that is home to other agricultural events as well.
Skate Church is open on Monday and Thursday evenings, and its 20 to 30 regulars feel welcome there. They also know about the suggested donation of $1, the snack provided for them, and the expectation that after their hour of skating they will give Hofing or another church member their listening ears. For most who attend Skate Church, Sunday worship was not part of their childhood experience.
“We are here to bring good news into these young lives,” said Hofing. “We are here to love them; to challenge them to be good neighbors; to empower youthful leadership; to tell the stories of Scripture, the gospels, and the parables; to listen; and to pray with and for them.”