A group of teens on skateboards rolls through the streets, laughing and jumping over steps and sidewalks. It’s a sight you might see in any urban neighborhood on a summer night.
But these skaters are different. They’re from Madison at Ford, a church plant in Grand Rapids, Mich. Their mission? Simple: Skate and pray.
These are local teens who skate from house to house, share the gospel, pray for people, and invite folks to church.
“Teenagers want God to be a light in this neighborhood, and all they need is someone who believes in them,” says Pastor Brad Knetsch, who preaches at the Home Missions-supported church.
As a result of the skaters’ door-to-door efforts, families have joined the church.
Madison at Ford, a satellite of nearby Madison Square Christian Reformed Church, meets at an inner-city middle school.
In addition to attracting people to the church, the ministry also has garnered positive attention outside the neighborhood. The teens had the idea to write a letter to a prominent skateboarding manufacturer, sharing the news about their ministry. Since then, the company has sent Knetsch $2,000 worth of skateboards.
“That was a real blessing because it was the kids’ idea,” Knetsch says. “They own the ministry, they run it, and they named it: ‘Skate of Life.’ All I do is get them together, train them in the gospel, and send them out—oh, and try to prevent injury.”