What do Jesus, snow, asphalt and water have in common?
They combine to form the acronym for Minnesota-based JSAW Ministries. Founded in 2004, JSAW is an action sports ministry that incorporates “skate” sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding and skateboarding into its mission to reach youth for Christ.
JSAW is a non-profit organization designed help others create positive environments within action sports where youth can be introduced to Jesus Christ and enter into discipleship.
“JSAW helps others to create positive environments within the action sports culture where kids can come and develop their relationship with Christ,” said co-founder Jonny Nelson. “Basically what we do is to help create, develop and network action sports ministries across the U.S.”
Today, JSAW sponsors three programs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and has partnered in the development of skate ministries across the country. Its recent projects include The Mill skatepark in Granite City, Illinois; the Ride With Christ skate ministry in Burlington, Iowa; a skate park at the Atlanta Revival Center in Georgia and a new skate ministry in Sylva, North Carolina.
JSAW's local programs–which include an outreach to skiers and snowboarders at Hyland Hills in Bloomington, the Hub skatepark in Minneapolis and a summer wakeboard program on Lake Bavaria–introduce 500 young people to Jesus each year and engage 100 in discipleship. On a national level, JSAW works with the Christian Skaters, Christian Surfers and Snowboarders for Christ ministries to reach 4,000-5,000 youth and disciple 1,000.
JSAW combines Nelson's deep passion for skateboarding and Jesus into a creative ministry program. The ministry emerged after he met local businessman Randy Monroe and the two combined to purchase a 9,000 square foot skatepark that was erected for a Luis Palau outreach festival in the Twin Cities in 2004.
Since then, the ministry has gradually expanded while operating on a very limited budget. JSAW is seeking to raise $61,000 to meet its objectives in 2011.