Skate, pray, skate: Behind the doors of G&P Skate Park

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Skateboarding and church are not normally two things you would put together.

However, Grace and Peace Indoor Skate Park in Colorado Springs is not only giving skaters a place to enjoy skateboarding inside, but a place to listen to a message about religion.

Everyday, skaters of all skill levels and ages come to G & P to skate, work on their tricks and hang out with their friends.

“It’s a sport you can do, that promotes creativity you can kind of do your own thing, you can have fun, there is such a tight knit brother hood, that you can connect with,” said Derrick Unrein, director of Process Skateboard Ministry.

But on Tuesday nights, the indoor skate sessions change a little bit.

“We do a different kind of church, where we get to be loud, and we get to be in this environment, that we love,” said Christopher Mack, a skater who attends skate church.

Starting around 6 p.m., the skaters put down their skateboards and pick up their Bibles for skate church.

“I wanted to have a church where, skaters feel comfortable, to be there and ask questions about God, because a lot of them are curious, are very interested, but they might not go to a traditional church and feel like they fit in,” Unrein said.
“So I wanted to have a place, where they can come, and teach the bible, share a bout Jesus and put it in their language or culture.”

Unrein, also known as Pastor D or Pastor Derrick, won’t go into details about his rocky youth.

He just says skateboarding and religion helped him turn his life around, and he wants to make the word of God more relatable to those who join in his skate church sessions.

For skaters like Josiah Wuthier, who was letting his dream and the pressure of becoming a pro skateboarder wear him down, this allowed him to find peace in a sport he’s so passionate about.

“Really it wasn’t skate church that changed me, it wasn’t skateboarding that changed me it was god that changed me, and he changed my heart once, I completely surrendered everything to him and there is no other way to put it, but he used the things that I love and the passions that he gave me, to do that,” said Wuthier.

While Unrein teaches a majority of the Bible studies, he also tries to bring in pastors and leaders from other churches to connect skaters to other places in the community.

“They take away getting to know who Jesus is, because ultimately I believe, that a relationship with Jesus will allow you to be better in every part of your life, make you a better man, eventually, husband and a friend,” said Brandon Delgrosso, pastor at Comapss Church. “And they get to know him and grow his relationship with him, then they will even be a better skater, and so that’s the idea. Once, you figure out who you are, your identity, how god created you, then you can actually express yourself in greater ways,” he said.

For those that attend, there is no pressure to convert or join if you don’t want to.

“It’s just an open invitation, of having people come in the doors and say look, this is what we do, and we are not trying to change you, this is who we are, and we would love to accept who you are,” Mack said.

So after a little more than an hour of reading the Bible and talking about the night’s lesson, the skaters get back on their boards and ride.

Some continue conversations about what they just learned, while others just simply skate.

“They leave, encouraged, they leave challenged, they leave with something to wrestle with. I’m delivering a message, and some good news. I am not here to preach at people, and force anything on skaters, I just want to say how my life has been changed, and what god has done, and showed me and I want to teach that to others,” Unrein said.

The skate church sessions are every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you attend one of these Bible study sessions, the skate session afterward is completely free.

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