C&L! artist Mike Steinkamp began MS ministries in 2010 with the desire to show skateboarders the love of their heavenly Father. In this interview, Mike shares more about his ministry, its beginnings and how God has been using it...
How did MS Skate Ministries start?
I'm a professional skateboarder but my heart is really to use my art as a platform to tell other skateboarders about Jesus. I was never really planning on starting a ministry or a non-profit; it was more that I had this passion to reach skateboarders with the gospel. I was noticing that there were so many of them around the world watching me skate and they didn't know Jesus. I asked myself, “How am I going to tell them about Him?”. So I began making videos with gospel messages and people started watching them. It was kind of like a new, unique way to present the gospel through skateboarding, and God has continued to have favor on it. Now, eight years later, I get to travel the world, preach at events, conferences and festivals, and I still use videos and other resources that reach the core skateboarding community. I would consider videos in the skateboarding world to be like albums for bands. It’s the way we display our art. Because of that, they’re a really valuable medium to communicate the gospel with skateboarders!
What got you involved in skating? How did this whole journey begin?
A big part of what got me involved in skating is the rebelliousness of it. Skateboarding doesn’t have rules, there are no coaches and no real tricks or guidelines you have to follow. I was a rebellious kid, so I fell in love with it. I started at an early age and just gave up everything else. When I was 15 or 16, a really good friend of mine gave his life to Jesus and it looked so different than what the rest of the world and my friends were doing. In a sense, he was a rebel because he didn't really care what anybody thought, even though we picked on him for what he believed. He was so dead set on his relationship with God that nothing else mattered. I think that the rebelliousness in that made me realize that following Jesus was extremely counter to the culture that I was living in. Seeing this guy give his life to God and watching the Holy Spirit completely transform him was contagious and I wanted it. Being around him, I eventually began to follow Jesus. I surrendered my life to Him and totally changed. I think the counterculture side of it was really what first sparked an interest in me and then obviously the Holy Spirit came into my life, changing and transforming me completely. There was no going back after that!
What’s something that God has been teaching you recently?
I think above all, it's been about the purity of my heart. Sometimes in ministry, you can get caught up in how effective something's going to be or you think: “Should I really spend a lot of time doing this? Is it going to be successful from a worldly standpoint?”. I have to keep reminding myself that God considers something effective even if just one person is being reached with the gospel. He would leave the 99 sheep, just to find that one. Really, it’s about keeping my motives and my heart pure. Not looking for worldly success or standings, but truly surrendering myself to what God wants me to do. If that looks crazy in the sight of the world, then that's OK, as long as I'm right in the center of God's will.
What are some testimonies or stories you could share from the years you've been in ministry?
It's funny because many people ask me that question and they want to hear some crazy story about an awesome country I went to and how God moved in miraculous ways. That’s fine, but honestly what's been the biggest blessing for me recently has been to see two friends of mine come to know the Lord. They were a part of the group of friends I used to hang out with. They saw my life change and have watched me follow Jesus, and for a long time they rejected Him. Within the past year, however, these two men gave their lives to Jesus and are following Him with all their hearts. I know people want to hear how I was on stage in front of thousands. Yet to see these two guys, who’ve been my friends since before I was a follower of Christ, come to know the Lord - that to me has probably been the biggest blessing and success in my eight years of ministry. It just blesses my heart beyond belief!
What's your vision for the future? Where do you feel God leading you?
I definitely want to continue putting out videos on a regular basis to keep people engaged in what’s happening. What I would really like to see God do most in the ministry, however, is to continue to bless us with a platform to reach people with the gospel. That was the original motive to start the whole thing six or seven years ago, and it's still the heart today: to see skateboarders get to know Jesus. It's a pretty dark culture that has kind of rebelled and has rejected God. So for God to continue to bless us with favor in communicating the message of Jesus with them - that's definitely my prayer and hope for the future!
What are some ways the C&L! community can be praying for you?
I would say, that God would continue to give me vision, and He would strengthen me and give me boldness to follow that vision. Sometimes He'll bless us with a new vision or ideas that might seem crazy and we might not have the faith or courage to follow Him. So pray that I’ll have a deeper walk with Jesus and for continued favor in the culture that I'm trying to reach. Like I said, it's really dark and anti-God in many ways. I just want God to continue to bless us with words, favor and a voice for that culture.
What would be your encouragement to the C&L! community?
Well, this is something I constantly say to myself: don’t measure obedience to God's will by worldly standards. I thought for so long that if I was traveling on this scale and speaking to so many people, then that meant I was obedient to God's will or successful in His eyes. However, what I’ve come to realize is that I could be a janitor and only talk to one person in my entire life about Jesus, and if that was God's will for me, then I would be following His plan for my life with my whole heart. I think with the culture that we live in and with all the social media stuff, we can start to compare ourselves to the world, to other people in ministry and to other Christians in everything. Really, at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves whether or not we are truly being obedient to God's will and are content with what he has in store for us, or if we’re after worldly success. Because worldly success will never fulfill us, but living for God's will and whole-heartedly surrendering to His plan for our lives is what we were created for.