“There is just something about Jesus on the water.” This was the comment that resonated with me as I drove home after a night of dinner and conversation with my friends Alf and Kelly Evans. It was on that evening, during the winter of 2009, that I heard fully what God had been up to in their lives and how he was playing out his work in a unique way through the community around them.
For several years, I knew Alf and Kelly from a distance. We went to the same church and had some mutual friends, but really only knew about each other. And even that knowledge was limited to a chance appearance in a Facebook newsfeed or an occasional sighting at church.
I understood Alf wakeboarded and ran a ministry called Wakeboard Church and that he and Kelly had two small children together. That was about it. Yet during the winter and spring of 2009, God drew our circles a bit tighter and we began to form a friendship. It was through this budding relationship that I began to learn more about their heart for the wakeboarding community and consequently the birth of Wakeboard Church.
From Hobby to Mission
Alf grew up around water sports, frequenting several lakes in Texas and Oklahoma and was introduced to wakeboarding as a high school student. Little did he know as a teen, that God would take a budding hobby and transform it into a ministry. After marrying Kelly, finishing college, and working on a church staff in Missouri for a few years, their growing family, returned to Texas seeking a change of pace. Not knowing exactly what God would unfold, Alf did know that he loved Jesus, wakeboarding, and had a heart for the community the sport attracts. A community that would probably never show up for a Sunday morning church service when a glassy lake beckoned.
Through a series of clarifying encounters with both God and others, Alf decided to bring church to the wakeboarders. On August 17, 2005, Wakeboard Church had its first official meeting on Lake Grapevine in Grapevine, TX. The initial vision was simple: go ride together and then at the conclusion of the time, have a small bible study and prayer time on the boat. And amazingly, it worked. Alf was already a part of the local wakeboarding community so it wasn’t strange for him to be on the water. The difference now was his mission to see the hope and restoration of Christ translate to a sport and group of broken people he had come to know and love.
From Mission to Ministry
What began as an act of obedience in 2005 to truly love his neighbor as himself, has since transformed into a full time ministry. God allows Alf to see the lives of teenagers, college students, and young adults transformed because he and Kelly stepped out of the boat in faith believing they were purposed to be agents of Christ in the community surrounding them. The anchor verse and essence of Wakeboard Church follows:
“Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33
Five years, and five Wakeboard Church chapters later, a family who decided to live Christ right where they were placed are seeing a harvest of wakeboarders learning to worship not in a church building, but on a boat, in the middle of a lake, according to God’s plan. Loving God, loving each other, loving wakeboarding.
It is with great care and purpose, God creates and places us very distinctly and then generously invites us to be agents of his reconciliation — even through our hobbies. Let the Wakeboard Church story remind you to live with great intention exactly where you are, preparing for a harvest.
And I tend to agree with Alf, there really is just something about Jesus on the water.
For more information on Wakeboard Church or to find or start a chapter near you, visit them on the web at www.wakeboardchurch.com.