Skater grindingUniversity United Methodist Church in San Antonio, Texas has young men doing 180s – on their skateboards, and in their spiritual lives.

In the past three years, Skate Church (or U|sk8 ) has presented the gospel to almost 850 skaters who might not have heard it otherwise, according to Kit Tomlinson, Recreation Pastor at UUMC.

Every Sunday afternoon volunteers convert the church gym from a worship space into an enormous, air-conditioned skate park. Skate Church attracts about 70 skaters a week – 99 percent of whom are male.

U|sk8is patterned after the original SkateChurch in Portland. U|sk8 offers an opening skate session of 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute gospel message. Then it’s back to more skating. Boys who skip the message are not allowed to skate the next week.

Sixty-five people have accepted Christ through the ministry of U|sk8. Among these is 24-year-old Lance. “I was a little weirded out at first,” he said. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why do these people set this stuff up — and they don’t even skate.’ I soon learned it was their love for Jesus Christ that made them do it.”

“Coming to UUMC has changed my life. I saw Jesus in the people at U|sk8. I accepted the Lord into my life here, and was even baptized here,” Lance said. “I am glad I found that missing piece to the puzzle. UUMC has not only affected my life but many others also.”

Pastor Kit sees Skate Church as a way to reach out to a group that’s normally not welcomed by society. “We had a chance to welcome a community of people that normally are told to leave any place they skate.”

Young single men are the least churched demographic group in the nation. Ministries like U|sk8 may be the key to reaching the next generation of men for Christ.

To connect with U|sk8, visit www.usk8.org, or www.facebook.com/uskate. University United Methodist church’s site is at: www.uchurch.tv