Skateboarding ministry pulls off own unique stunts

I don’t consider myself a youth ministry expert by any means.

I do enjoy leading a weekly middle school Bible study at my church and am always open to new suggestions from the kids I’ve come to know.

Some of the kids before have mentioned skateboarding when we talk about how they spend their free time.

At some point, a boy asked me about my background and willingness to hop on a board and attempt doing tricks.

I think my response involved something along the lines of wishing keeping all my body parts where they belong.

The love of the sport and commitment to faith hasn’t created any such physical barriers for Jonny Nelson.

At 16, Nelson wanted to put his faith into action while on his board. He started JSAW – Jesus, Snow, Asphalt and Water – mixing in riding the ramps and rails of the Twin Cities with Bible study.

He admits when he started, he had no clue where it would lead.

Now, five years later as a 21-year-old adult, Nelson is a full fledged Christian entrepreneur.

Recently he was rear-ended in a fender-bender by Billy Graham’s grandson Will. Calling the encounter a coincidence would be shortsighted at best.

Now, through a partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Nelson’s ministry is getting big-time exposure and help from Christian businessman Randy Monroe with the financial end.

Nelson and his fiancée, who is also going into ministry as a career, acknowledges worldly riches will likely never come his way on this career path. He says he’s not a financial guy by trade, but he clearly understands the importance of sticking with what he doses best, a great professional trait for anyone.

“It works out great because I don’t have to worry about the business side,” Nelson said. “I can get out and skate and work on building relationships. I don’t have to worry about losing my focus, which is on the kids and ministering to them.”

Smart move and smart approach to ministering to young adults where they’re at in their lives.


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