Recently skaterboarders around the globe celebrated the 9th annual Go Skate Day. Some in Hampton, Va. used the celebration as an opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The National Association of Skateboarding Companies started the day to help skateboarders show off their skills while finding ways to serve in their communities.
In Hampton, the kids passed the day competing in skate races and landing new tricks with their boards.
One of the main attractions was a demonstration by professional skaters from "Boarders for Christ," a group that uses sports to draw people closer to God.
"For us, it's something we can speak with. It's a language we know and a language that they know, and that common bond gives us the ability to speak with them and meet on a common ground," Boarders for Christ's Mike Shamberg told CBN News.
The group travels the country sharing their stories of God's work in their lives.
While they thrill to the kids cheers for their daring jumps and dazzling spins, they say their real joy comes from sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing kids respond.
"To see the kingdom come, to see the Lord move, to pierce the heart of this generation, to see a change, to tell them about hope, about love, about God and everything that Jesus has done in hopes that they will recognize it themselves," explained Zach Black.
That's why Cornerstone Worship Center Pastor Gerard Ruff helped organize the event.
"I hope that people involved in the event realize that Christians are more than just people that hide behind the doors of the church -- that we're in every aspect of life. And we're even here in the skateboard community that we're making an impact and affecting change for the kingdom of God," he said.
Organizers say this is not just a fun way to reach kids with the gospel of Christ but also a great way to bring the entire community together.
They partnered with the city's Clean Commission Outreach to get kids involved in beautifying their community -- something city officials are glad to see.
"The city gets an area cleaned and we get our youth involved and we get them ingrained. We get them developing a sense of community pride and community activity, community participation. So from that stand point, it's been great," Hampton Vice Mayor George Wallace told CBN News.
Brent Staul of Mekos Skate Shop helped sponsor the skate day. He also hosts a weekly skate church for kids in the community.
"Really having a positive place for kids to go. Skateboarding keeps them off the streets A lot of times kids end up on the streets because there's no place, so we basically like to provide that to our young people," he said.
It's a popular hangout for kids.
"It's fun and better than being inside watching TV all day," said one skateboarder named Noah.
Ruff and others hope the skating outreach helps kids pursue better lives.
"I hope that we're spreading the gospel, hope that we're sowing that seed and that we're the salt and the light today and that people look and go, 'Skateboarding and Christians? Yeah, absolutely, skateboarding and Christians,'" he said.
--Published July 1, 2011.