The Walk: Skateboard Ministry
Calling Sk8er's & Friends
The Walk Skateboard Ministry is about "walking" with Jesus Christ. It’s not like a typical public park where all you do is skate, and it’s not just a hangout – it’s much more. The Walk is a ministry - a three part deal, with skating, a meal or snack, and a devotion. Jesus Christ is always at the center of it, and it’s always free.
When, Where and How:
- The Walk Skateboard Ministry meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM at the skatepark on the FUMC campus. Tuesday nights are for 4th to 6th graders, and Thursdays are for Middle grades, Senior High, and young adults. We are open year-round (summertime too), but we are closed on holidays during the school year, and also on any days that the schools are closed due to extreme weather.
- The sk8park is located on Main Street, south of the First United Methodist Church. It was designed by life-long skaters at the American Ramp Company (Joplin, Missouri) with consultation from our members. The ramps are professional quality and the layout has a variety of park and street features that we think you will enjoy.
- Membership is free, but you must have your forms completed, you must have a helmet on your head (and we have loaners), and you must have a counselor present in order to skate. This is very important.
To skate at The Walk you must have a completed, up to date member packet on file. You can get a packet at the skatepark when we are meeting, or you can pick one up at the church office from 8:00 – 4:00, Monday thru Friday. The packet includes a waiver form and a member agreement form. If you are under 18, you must have a parent sign the waiver form. We update our member's packets in the fall of each year. If your address or phone changes, please let us know as that is very important in case of an emergency. If you have a friend who wants to come to The Walk, ask for a membership packet the week before and give it to them to fill out. First time visitors will be asked for some basic information (name, address, phone, parents) and will be given a membership packet to fill out. You don't have to be a skater to come to The Walk. Everyone is welcome.
How We Got Here
It started twelve years ago in April of 2004, on the back parking lot of the First United Methodist Church in Franklin, NC. We had just lost a member of our youth group – Robin Stinnett. Robin was an avid skateboarder who had dreams of becoming a pro before his life was cut short. At his memorial service, while watching his friends grieve his loss, Reverend Anna Maria King had a vision of a ministry dedicated just to them – the skaters and friends who shared his passion for the sport. The mission was – and still is – to bring them the Good News of Jesus Christ, while showing them Christ-like unconditional love and acceptance.
We started with borrowed plywood ramps, and then bought better ones, while meeting every week in an old house on church property. But the dream we always held on to, was to one day have a real park and a special dedicated place that the skaters of The Walk could call their own.
After ten years of planning, prayer and saving, the dream came true when we were able to contract American Ramp Company to design a park that would have something for everyone. We looked over the plans with our skaters, agreed on a layout that flowed well, and ARC got to work putting it together. In October of 2014, the park arrived in pieces on a flatbed truck, and members of the church and some of our skaters put it together. It is solidly built and made to last for many years to come.
The church also renovated the basement of the Outreach Center (O.C.) building next to the park and gave it to The Walk as our permanent home where we meet for our meals and devotions. Church members gave their time to upgrade the old basement, and others donated appliances and furniture to create a kitchen and living room. It’s a clean, bright place to share our family-style meals and worship the Lord.
Our Theme Scripture
"I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me". Jeremiah 29:11-13
That means: No matter where you've been or what you've done, God loves you and has a plan for your life!
The Code of "The Walk"
AND IN ALL THINGS PRAY!
A few simple rules:
Everyone is equal (we're all God's children
No one is alone (we are brothers & sisters)
No put down or insults (love one another)
No profanity (it's God's house)
No weapons, fighting or rough contact (peace brother)
No alcohol, drugs or cigarettes (God's temple)
Clean up what you mess up (respect the property)
Helmets & Counselors (must have both to skate)
The main entrance to the skatepark is the gravel drive below it on Main Street (look for the signs). There is a drop off and parking area next to the west side of the skatepark. You can also park in the gravel lot at the corner of Harrison Ave. and Main Street.
Sign In and Helmet Checkout
As soon as you get to the skatepark, go to the Counselor and sign in. If you need a helmet, you can borrow one. It's free and all you do is sign for it when you get it and sign when you turn it in.
After skating, we eat. Members of the church and other volunteers often fix great food for us. They do it because they care about you, so if you get to meet them, please tell them "thanks". Also, please be sure to clean up after yourself. Remember, it's God's house.
After the meal, we move to the living room. "Skatechurch" is what we call our Bible study and devotion time. Salvation though grace is the foundation. Deepening our relationship and our “walk” with Christ through surrender, service and love, is the on-going message. When it's time to talk about God, it's time to settle down and show respect - first for God, and also for the others in the room. We encourage discussion, so if there is something on your mind, speak up! There's a good chance somebody else is wondering about the same thing you are. When we circle up to pray at the end of the devotion, that respect for God and for others goes deeper. You don't have to pray, but you can be sure that somebody else in the room needs that prayer time. Please remember that.
After Devotion Time
After the devotion there will be more time to skate, but when it gets close to the time to wrap things up (around 8:30) everyone should respect the rules and be ready to go.
Sign Out & Helmet Return
Before you leave, you need to go to a Counselor and sign out, and if you have a helmet checked out, you must return it.
A Final Note
This ministry is about relationships. Since The Walk began, several hundred kids and young adults have rolled through. They come and go, but the relationships remain. We are still visited by some of the “old timers” when they are in the area and see the lights on. If you asked them why, they would tell you this: They know The Walk is a place where they are remembered, valued, accepted, and loved unconditionally – a place where folks believe in them, encourage them, and never give up on them – a place where someone still prays for them, and will always welcome them back “home” – like family.
For More Information Contact
Doug Nickel 828-342-8975
Or stop by the church office at 66 Harrison Avenue, Franklin, NC to pick up a membership packet.