A new CAUSE ministry is coming to the JBU campus: an evangelism effort directed at the local skate park.
Sophomore Josh Campbell has biked for 13 years, and was a competitive downhill rider until last year. When he broke his collarbone, he took up scootering as a side hobby. His desire to get involved in a ministry sparked the idea.
Campbell said he was sitting in church, trying to think of something he was passionate about to do in ministry. He kept getting distracted thinking about skating, when it occurred to him: why not do both?
Campbell approached Frank Huebert, director of service and outreach, with his idea at the annual CAUSE and Effect chapel. Huebert immediately liked the idea.
“It’s really great to see students with a passion for that,” said Huebert, “to not just demonstrate their faith, but to give it voice.”
Campbell’s plan is to regularly visit the skate park in Bob Henry Park on Benton Street and build relationships with people who skate there. He hopes the mutual love of skating will provide common ground to form relationships and, eventually, share their faith. The skaters are mostly high school students, with a few younger and older skaters as well.
Campbell has already begun going to the skate park, and has confronted some unexpected difficulties, particularly a specific group of skateboarders.
“In their group, they’re so exclusive that if you’re not on a skateboard, it’s hard to be accepted,” Campbell said. Still, he remains hopeful.
“I think that there’s good potential here,” he said. “As soon as the weather cooperates it’s going to make it easier to set a schedule.”
Campbell’s goal is relational rather than goal-oriented.
“It’s easier to share your faith with someone you’re friends with,” he said.
The ministry’s aim will be evangelizing and then discipling the skaters in the community, with the goal of self-sufficiency by the time Campbell graduates.
Huebert is glad to see more evangelistic ministries starting.
“I feel that [evangelism] is an area, for an evangelical school, that we’ve been a bit weak in,” said Huebert. He maintains that, while all ministries have evangelistic elements, that deliberate evangelism “is an area that more of our students need to be encouraged to look into.”
Huebert isn’t the only one with high hopes for the ministry.
“Relationships are impactful,” said Makayla Roberts, a director of outreach ministry for SMLT. “Anytime you’re willing to invest yourself in something like this, it changes you.”
“I learn as much from them as they do from me,” he said. “Especially about skating.”