Skateboarders share faith through film

Faith and skateboarding movie hits Lexington

Some Lexington skateboarders have made a film about faith and skateboarding to show at the Kentucky Theatre. Video by Mark Cornelison |staff
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Some Lexington skateboarders have made a film about faith and skateboarding to show at the Kentucky Theatre. Video by Mark Cornelison |staff

Sometimes, in the midst of a daring skateboard trick, Josh Roberts says, he might become “really scared.” After all, scars and broken bones seem to come with time on a board.

But Roberts has a remedy for the fear.

“Jesus said to fear not, for he has overcome the world. Through him, I can be free,” he said.

Roberts and a group of fellow Lexington skaters are sharing that message through a 35-minute film, Seek First, that will debut with a free showing at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Kentucky Theatre.

The debut is timed to coincide with Go Skateboarding Day, a holiday created by the International Association of Skateboard Companies to promote the sport.

Cosmic skate shop, which sponsors Roberts and some of the other men involved with the film, will host an event, Cosmic Invasion, on June 21 at Woodland Park, with bands, a skate competition and more. The filmmakers hope attendees and others will make their way down to the film premiere after that.

Videos that show off cool skateboarding moves are popular among skateboarders.

“When I go home, what I do is watch skate videos,” Roberts said.

But many of them are not exactly wholesome viewing, he said.

“The culture ... it’s about drinking and it’s about partying and it’s about smoking weed,” Roberts said.

He has set out to show that “this isn’t the only way. I can be a skateboarder and I can follow Jesus.”

The filmmakers also hope that the film will debunk some of the negative stereotypes about skaters.

“You don’t have to be like the stereotypical punk (to enjoy skateboarding),” said Gideon Maki, who helped with the film. “You can love the Lord and look different.”

The filmmakers also are having 1,000 copies of the DVD made to give away, and they hope that churches and other skateboarding ministries around the country will host viewing parties.

The project has been three years in the making.

Roberts, 25, said he first heard God calling him to make the film during a Christian conference in Atlanta 3 1/2 years ago.

When he got back, he bought a camera and was joined by fellow skaters Maki, Jonathan Wilson, Sam Mullins and Chris Smith, who works in the video production field.

The men are all affiliated with Lexington Skate Church, which meets at Woodland Park at 11 a.m. on Sundays. In addition to skating together, attendees share spiritual insights and have a potluck meal together.

There are usually about 10 people at the gatherings, which are held in members’ houses during the winter months. Ages range from babies to 40-something.

Roberts said that by meeting at the park, they are able to speak to those who come there to skate.

“The goal is to be there in case they want to be there,” he said.

Mullins is one of the newer members.

“I just recently got baptized,” he said. “Christ has always been in my life, but I just strayed away from him.”

Mullins said he wanted to be involved in the film to show “that you can go through a lot, you can come from a bad time in your life to a good thing.”

The men, who have all skated since they were youngsters, have plenty of scars. Mullins broke his leg on a board about five years ago. Maki shows off the collarbone that protrudes where he broke it two years ago.

But they all said they keep doing it for the fun and the challenge, and as a form of self-expression.

Skateboarding might be the medium through which they spread their message of faith, but the men said they want to reach skaters and non-skaters alike with the film.

“It’s the whole world that needs to know Jesus,” Roberts said. “It’s not just for skateboarders. It’s for the world.”

If you go

‘Seek First’

When: 9 p.m., June 21

Where: Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main St.

Cost: Free