Skateboarders With A Mission
I’ve always had a very addictive personality; I suppose this is due to my family background and genetic wiring, and of course God’s sovereignty. But, long before I was ever introduced to drugs or alcohol, I found myself becoming obsessed with the things that interested me. For the bulk of my childhood on into my adult life, my primary addiction/obsession was skateboarding. I thought about skateboarding day and night. When I wasn’t skateboarding I was reading skateboarding magazines and watching skateboarding videos.
As weird as that may sound to you, it turns out I wasn’t the only one like this. I had a whole group of friends that were just as obsessed as me. Most people looked at my buddies and me and thought we were just a bunch of punk kids obsessed with a toy on four wheels, but for us skateboarding was life. We got up each morning with a list of places we wanted to skateboard and a list of tricks we wanted to do at each place. While the world looked at us as though we were a bunch of kids with no purpose in life, we thought of ourselves as skateboarders on a mission.
Most people don’t realize that in most cities skateboarding is illegal; especially in the places that have the things that skateboarders like to skate on. Things like ledges, benches, stairs and especially the handrails on the stairs; these are a skateboarder’s paradise. However, the majority of the world uses these things for there intended purpose on an everyday basis, so when some punk kid on a skateboard comes flying down a flight of stairs while a businessman is trying to walk up them it creates a problem; and thus the city outlaws skateboarding. But illegal or not, we were going to skateboard wherever we wanted.
Again, looking back now I can see why the world was upset with us. But, their view of us, as punk kids with no purpose was completely wrong. We were motivated. We knew what we were there to do and we knew that we had a limited amount of time to get the tricks done that we wanted to get done at each place before the police showed up. We went to each spot with great intentionality, on a mission to accomplish the things that we had set out to do. We knew our time was short, but for us the mission was worth it. So with great urgency we went about achieving the things that we felt we had been put on this earth to do.
A Church With A Mission
Many years have gone by since my skateboard-obsessed days. Though I still skateboard as often as I can, due to injury, the business of life, and God’s call on my life that’s pretty rare. But, by God’s grace I have been given a new obsession. God in His kindness took my addictive personality and redeemed it for His glory. These days I spend my time obsessing about Jesus, His Word, His church, and the mission He has given His church. And as I sat this morning thinking about my days that were filled with skateboarding and the intentionality with which my buddies and I went about our days, I thought to myself, what if the church was like this?
What if God’s people went about their days knowing their time is short, their mission worth it, and then with great urgency they go about achieving the things that they have been put on this earth to do? What if we thought about Jesus and His mission for us day and night? What if we treated every day as an opportunity, perhaps our last opportunity to accomplish our mission?
The church has been given the mission to glorify God by making disciples. We are to make disciples every day of our lives, not just on Sunday morning. But I’m willing to bet that if we became more intentional about Sunday by itself we’d see a huge difference in the impact the church is having on the culture around it. What if we were intentional about inviting the lost, the hurting, the bruised and the broken to church? What if we were intentional to invite our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and family to church? What if when we got to church we were intentional to be hospitable, be loving, share the gospel, rebuke, encourage, and do each other and each visitor spiritual good—seeking to help them know Christ and grow in Christ?
In my skateboarding days I broke numerous bones, tore numerous mussels and tendons, and was basically on a first name basis at the local Emergency Room. My friends and I were so motivated to learn the next trick, to go bigger and faster, that we were willing to put ourselves in traction trying to accomplish our goals. Along with that we gave great time and effort to learn and grow in the sport, and we all sacrificed our money in order to pay to get us where we felt we needed to go.
I fear in the church we aren’t willing to be obedient to the commands of Christ, especially the command to make disciples, because we fear rejection. We don’t go to the ghetto or to the Muslim world, or to any dangerous area to share the gospel for fear of getting hurt or losing our lives. And we certainly don’t sacrifice our time or give financially because we have other things to spend our time and money on rather than investing it in the kingdom of God. Why is that? Why is it that a group of punk skateboarders are more willing to give of themselves and hurt themselves to accomplish their mission than the church is willing to give of itself and put itself in harm’s way or rejection’s way or whatever, for the mission of Christ? Do we not have a greater mission? Do we not have a greater cause? Do we not have a great Savior who is worthy of the glory of every tribe, tongue, and nation—including your neighbor?
My friends and I risked a lot for something that ultimately doesn’t matter. What are we willing to risk for Someone that matters eternally? What are we willing to do in order to accomplish our mission? Where are we willing to go in order to accomplish our mission? What are we willing to risk in order that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation might come to know, love, worship, and enjoy King Jesus?
While I have you thinking, let me close with a few more questions. Are you being intentional with your life for the mission of the church and the glory of Christ? If so, awesome! Keep up the good work and help others do the same. If not, why not? Is not Christ worth everything?
Be intentional church, Christ is worth it!
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6)
“[I]t is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).
By Pastor Nick Esch