Tulsa church reaching out with skate board ministry

Wednesday, May 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

First United Methodist in downtown Tulsa has started a skateboard ministry. Each Tuesday and every other Sunday, they provide a Bible study, then, set up ramps and let the kids skate in the church parking lot.
KOTV's Lori Fullbright joined the kids Tuesday evening.

Tulsa city councilors have had a devil of a time finding a permanent skate park in the city, these kids believe it's because they're being judged for how they look, not who they are. They come carrying skateboards and riding skates, if you think this group of kids is looking for trouble, you'd be wrong, they're on their way to a Bible study. Youth leader at the church Joel Holmes, "Dear God, thank you for this day." It's called skateboard ministry. Kids are welcome to come as they are to the Bible class, they are respectful and solemn, and this lesson is about treating others with respect. Holmes, "Love must be sincere, we must cling to what is good." After the lesson, those who attend get wristbands and those kids are then welcome to enjoy 90 minutes of skating in the church parking lot.

Many of these kids had never heard about God before they started coming to the Skateboard ministry. Joel Holmes, Co-Director of the ministry, "We teach them about God and morals and family values and we just be friends with them." Since Tulsa can't seem to come up with a skate park for skaters, these guys would love to find a warehouse that's not being used, set up their ramps and conduct their skateboard ministry five days a week. "There's baseball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, we just want one, and we don't know why it's so hard to come up with just one."

These kids realize they look different and dress different but, they don't think that should be cause for people to think they are trouble-makers or dope smokers or anything else other than good kids, having a good time, improving at their sport. The skaters believe if people could just see past their hair or jewelry or clothes, they're be a lot less apprehensive about having a skate park in their neighborhood.

Skating on Tuesday nights at First Methodist is free, on Sundays, it costs $2.