First city skateboard ministry: ‘excited to share the gospel’
Corban University, Salem Oregon
Photo: Chad Nix built a ramp with other Corban students in their backyard in order to have a place where skateboarders could ride during the winter months.
During his senior year at Corban, 2016 graduate Chad Nix was often found working on building a covered skateboard ramp. Wanting to minister to skate boarders in the city, he’s doing just that – literally in his own backyard. Founded by two Corban students, Shepherd Skate Ministry is Salem’s first and only ministry of its kind.
Today, Chad is working in accounting but continues leading the ministry thankful for how Corban encouraged him in founding the ministry. He’s dreamt about it since committing his own life to Jesus at Hume Lake Camp in 7th grade.
“There were two guys who worked at the skate park and led us in Bible study during free time,” Chad recalls. “They spoke the gospel to me and they were skateboarders so I really connected with them. I remember how they gushed about how much they loved Jesus. Through God’s work in that ministry, my faith was finally my own.”
Coming from a large high school and being unsure of what a Christian environment would look like, Corban was a surprise for Chad. Receiving financial assistance encouraged Chad to choose Corban over the larger universities he had applied to.
“My expectation of what Corban would be, was met with the beautiful reality of what it is – a stark contrast to what I thought,” he said.
Living on campus and growing in community bible studies, chapel, and studying in community contributed to what Chad believes he will remember as some of “the best years of [his] life.”
“Basically, as soon as I got to Corban, my life was forever changed for the better by how the school operates at its core,” he said. “A lot of my spiritual formation has come from Corban. A lot of my drive to make my walk with Christ at the forefront and put it into action has come from Corban. It changed me for the better and was so crucial in helping me becoming who I am today.”
Making the ministry
Chad met fellow Corban student and skateboarder, Bryan Rozo, and together they began planning.
“It came down to us needing to commit. We said, ‘We’re either going to do this or we’re not.’”
The Student Life Department as well as professors, students and local churches financially supported and empowered Chad and Bryan to get the ministry started. The ramp is built in the backyard of another Corban student’s home where Chad and five others live.
Today, the ministry is known among skateboarders in Salem and has a weekly meeting where people can come and skate the ramp, eat some pizza and enjoy a quick bible study in the middle of the session.
“It’s honestly a party every Monday night,” Chad laughs.
“Our mission at Shepherd isn’t to convert people,” Chad said. “Our mission at Shepherd is to enjoy skateboarding with the friends we’ve met skateboarding in Salem, and through those relationships share the good news about Jesus.”
“We pray and let God do the rest,” he said. “Bryan and I are always excited to share the gospel with everyone who comes.”
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