Martial arts classes and Bible study go hand in hand at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church in Berwyn, Ill. Twice each week, enthusiastic students ages 6 to 18 come to learn martial arts followed by Bible study.
When a local teen discovered that Ebenezer member Diego Flores holds a 5th-degree black belt in martial arts, he wanted to learn. So Flores, 52, started a program with five students, providing each student with a uniform and a Bible.
To be promoted to the next martial arts level, students must show that they have mastered not only the right moves, but also specific Bible knowledge.
Flores also designed a special emblem for the uniforms, reflecting the God-centeredness of the program, named “The Way,” based on Acts 9:2.
Ebenezer’s pastor, Rev. Merle Den Bleyker, said the martial arts program “brings in the families, exposing them to the church. Martial arts require a lot of commitment and self-discipline. Diego believes it requires no less discipline to learn God’s Word.”
Ebenezer CRC also holds English-language classes, Story Hour, tutoring, boys’ and girls’ clubs, and high school and junior high youth groups.