A few years back I was invited on a snowboard trip to Colorado. Looking back on this trip I expected to get some heavy face shots and a solid dose of good times. The trip turned out different and better than I could have thought of, even changing my perspective on ministry. The purpose of this trip was simple: spend some time with good people and ride a lot. I grew up my whole life in and around snowboarding and I was stoked to visit the home of the Winter X Games and what seemed like every other video part. I was dreaming of big old booters and some feathery colorado champagne powder.
Day one of what I thought would be my dreams coming true, I quickly realized how good I had it in BC. I was taken back by how expensive lift tickets were that it had me contemplating the snowboard industry as a whole and what I thought was sub par terrain. Needless to say, I was ready to write this trip off as another time where my mind, dreaming of the crazy and life changing experience I would have, finds out it was nothing too extravagant at all.
Day two came around and this one started off a lot more organically. We decided to skip the ridiculously priced tickets and go exploring. Our friend who hosted us during our time there took us to a spot called Loveland Pass. I’ll tell you, the “pass” I quickly realized is the reason I snowboard. If you are not familiar with this majestic spot, essentially it is a piece of terrain that starts and ends with the highway. You start at the top, walk a little bit into a slack country style, a couple runs filled with tree jams, wind lip booters, and knee deep champagne powder. When you’re at the bottom, simply walk the 10 steps to the highway, put your ol’ thumb up and wait for a truck big enough to hold you and your buddys in the bed and drive you back up to the top.
This is snowboarding in my opinion. The grass route approach that I could only imagine the originals of the sport would be pumped on. Loveland Pass changed my perspective on a lot of things that day. I realized that it's not always the six chair lifts, event hosting, or big time resorts that can create a moving and impactful experience. Sometimes it's a dumbed-down version that takes it back to its roots, and leaves you with the thing everyone is searching for in the snowboard scene: stoke.
It's funny because I often view ministry in the same way. Lights, loads of people, and full time devotion is the only way to build the kingdom. In my “dreaming big mind” the only way to make an impact is to do ministry all out, and to do it big; to start a church and become a pastor type thing. But on one of those cold truck bed rides up to the top of the pass that day I heard a perspective that changed it all for me. Toby, the one who invited us out for the trip, told me about this Bible Study he started. From what I remember he is part of a law firm and one day decided to start reading his Bible before work on a Thursday morning. He made it known to his colleagues and extended an open invite to them. Week after week it was just Toby by himself reading the Word. One day, a colleague of his stepped through the door, and Toby was able to share the Word with him. Little by little, week after week, he had a few more join him to the point where it was no longer a Bible Study of one but of multiple.
Jesus calls us in Matthew 28 to go out and make disciples, something that I often feel as an average blue collar worker is impossible to do without quitting my job and going into full time ministry. But if there is one thing I learned from Toby in the truck bed and that day at Loveland, it’s that often a dumbed-down, grassroots approach can lead people to the same result. Whether it's snowboarding or ministry, we can all make an impact, even if it’s the small side–no lights or chairlift type of thing.