Skateboarding to God’s glory

The Apostle Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth to do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10.31).

Being a Christian is that life-long pursuit of submitting all that we are, have and do to the Lordship of Christ so that God is glorified in all we are, have and do.

For each individual Christian this will be applied and worked out in different ways as we learn to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10.5). We have come to believe and rest our entire souls and eternity on the revealed fact that God has made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5.21).

The love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and he died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and rose again (2 Corinthians 5.14-15).

Huge changes

When we are first converted there are a great many changes, we are new creatures in Christ; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5.17).

For me there needed to be huge changes not only in thoughts, desires and words, but also in how I used my time. I was nearly 24 years old and had spent the last ten years on a skateboard or surfboard. I grew up in Brighton where there was a really good skateboard and surfing scene.

There were numerous places to go and skateboard and to me that was much more appealing than school. Who wants to sit in a class room and listen to a load of nonsense when I can be having fun on my skateboard was my attitude.

How I got started

It all started one Saturday morning when I was about ten years old. I was being dragged around the shops by my mother and wasn’t having a good time. It was sunny and hot and the last place I wanted to be was in the centre of the city shopping for what I considered rubbish. Then out of nowhere someone came careering down the middle of the main road on a skateboard. He was dressed in bright colours, had shaved and dyed hair and actually looked happy.

As I looked around at all the stressed out mums and business men I thought it was better to be him than all the other people. I soon had my own skateboard and didn’t look back. Within a few years I was on national television, in magazines and surviving on sponsorships so I didn’t need to work. Due to injuries I had to stop and took up surfing which took me all over the world, finally becoming a Christian while living in Mexico surfing some of the best waves in the world outside of Hawaii.

Christ in the water?

After becoming a Christian I realised I couldn’t surf for a while, as I was trying to be like Christ on land but was not, and felt I could not be like Christ in the water. I had to walk away from it if I really wanted to grow spiritually. The Lord honoured my sacrifice and gave me opportunity to go to California for Bible College and eventually come back to Brighton and pastor a Reformed Baptist congregation. Now married with five children life seemed very different. I had kept in touch with many of my former friends, but with a family and church to consider I didn’t get back on a skateboard.

My sons wanted skateboards

Last year we all moved from Brighton up to Suffolk. Opposite the manse there was a newly-built skate park. This was too tempting for my sons. They soon wanted skateboards and, after watching them once, I couldn’t resist. At 38 years old, I decided I wasn’t too old to show them how it’s done, so I contacted a friend who owns a skateboard company who sent me everything I needed.

We have been over the road a bit after school and on Saturdays, have travelled to bigger and better parks as well and, during the winter, to the indoor skate parks. This has put me in contact with lots of young people and parents who have never heard the gospel or even stepped foot into an evangelical church.

Door of ministry

It gets me into a world that is shut off to the outsider and gives me opportunity to speak to people who are mostly closed to listening to outsiders. It is a world where your skateboarding does most of the talking and outsiders are not allowed in.

I have incurred multiple bruises and normally ache for a few days after going, but feel that I can skateboard now to the glory of God. My challenge to you all is, what can you do now to the glory of God, which will be the stepping-stone to bring the gospel to those who are without Christ?

What hobbies, sports or arts can you be involved in where you can shine as the light of the world? We are not to be like the world, but we are to be in it as witnesses till he comes. Let us in all things determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified. SOLI DEO GLORIA.

Stephen Nowak, 
Stowmarket Baptist Church, Suffolk