Zach Creighton and The Inside

Jun 28, 2023 | News

Zach Creighton is THE MAN! The man with the rad beard, the man with a heart for Jesus, snowboarding, and skateboarding. He is the Program Director of an incredible partner ministry of ours, The Inside. The Inside focuses on marginalized kids in Alberta, Canada. They predominantly minister to kids living on reservations. The Inside offers year round skateboard programs and takes kids on snowboard trips during the winter. They provide meals for the kids they minister to and work to build their trust.

Working in ministry in Canada is a true challenge. Zach ministers in a heightened cultural context. Missionaries and ministry workers are often met with an abrasive attitude in Canada. Canadian history is consumed by events that have created a poor reputation for Christians. In the past, the Canadian Government coerced missionaries into working with them to help remove the natives from their land. Because of this, there is a significant amount of push back on Christians, especially from the First Nations. Churches are nearly non-existent on the reserves. Any church still standing near a reservation is more of a monument/museum than a living church.

“That’s why ministries like ours are so important,” says Zach. “In what other context are you going to be in these communities and getting to know these people, but also expressing that you are a follower of Jesus? Action sports are the best way to bridge that gap.”

Trust is earned over time in these communities. The Inside staff works hard to show up consistently and build community through the skate culture on reservations. They do skate outreach days and run skate nights at their indoor skate park. Once a trusting relationship is built, The Inside’s staff pick up kids for skate and snowboard trips. Zach believes

“There isn’t another great avenue to connect with these kids in a spiritual way. Action sports provide a disarming context.”

Zach feels that healing happens on their skate and snowboard trips.

Skating is an accessible sport for kids on reservations but snowboarding is not. The Inside has partnered with another local ministry in Alberta called Cousins. Partnering with Cousins has opened the door to make snowboarding gear and clothing accessible to kids who may not get to experience snow sports otherwise. In exchange for gear, The Inside allows Cousins to use their indoor skate park during the winter time.

“It is really life-on-life ministry that is going on. The kids we are ministering to have been opening up about what they have gone through,” Zach says.

There has been an open door with the native community accepting him and other ministry workers from The Inside. They have had many opportunities to walk alongside kids working through mental health struggles and substance abuse.

“Snowboarding and skateboarding together have opened up a door to offer support to these guys, even during times they are refusing to go get professional care. They are still willing to connect with us, chat, and have us in their lives.”

Once trust is built with them, The Inside staff is able to encourage them to go and get professional help.

“They wouldn’t have anyone else in their corner that would be sharing Jesus with them if it wasn’t for people in the snowboard and skate community who wanted to care for them and keep showing up for them.”

These trips create space for dialogue about life and open up doors to share testimonies with kids who are coming from all sorts of backgrounds. One kid they took on a trip lives in a home where his mom uses hard drugs in front of him and his little brother. Offering a skate trip for them to get out of that environment was huge.

Zach has a heart for marginalized kids who need hope. What an incredible partner to have in ministry!

Ways to Pray For Zach and The Inside

Pray for continued open doors with the First Nations People.

Pray for continued provision to take kids on snowboard and skate trips.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through Zach and his staff to share Jesus to kids during skate programs.


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