Author: Nick Sackman

Go Tell it on the Mountain: Jindabyne

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

SERVING THE COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA

The second video in our series showcases ski and snowboard ministry in Australia. Jindabyne is a huge destination for shred in the Australian winter and a lot of Northern Hemisphere skiers and snowboarders make the journey down there as well. The season is going off right now and we ask you to take a minute to pray for safety on the hill, the loving proclamation of God’s truth and the genuine support of Christ-centered community for all of those involved.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Go Tell it on the Mountain: Loon

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 7, 2019 in Uncategorized

WORKING WITH THE CHURCH AT LOON

I am grateful for yet another winter season and how the Lord worked through our SFC Chapter and our local church. Every week, our youth group met at the local rope tow and rode together after the Bible lesson. It wasn’t long before two kids, who I didn’t know that well at the beginning of the winter, wanted to ride with me each week. It led to us challenging each other to try new tricks, but more importantly, it led to opportunities to have spiritual conversations with them. It was rad talking with them about how the Spirit God gives us is not one of fear, but of power and love and self discipline. It was extremely practical truth to remember as we tried new tricks, jumps, and rails. In addition, ski breaks on the hill led to some awesome conversations and I saw a TON of growth in them, and other kids too, in their understanding of the Gospel and spiritual concepts.

Secondly, camp was rad. We could not have done it without the help of the local church. To me, this served as a good example of why SFC’s values include being connected with the local church. We aren’t called to be on mission alone, but as a family. Jesus never sent His disciples alone, but rather He sent them in at least pairs. It is so essential that we share our mission with our church family and get them involved. The chairlift and on hill chats are always super encouraging as well at camp. But, there was one thing that encouraged me the most. Our camp theme this year was “Identity.” One parent shared with me the last day how when her kids came home from camp the previous night, she had expected them to come home and talk about the trails they went on or tricks they learned. Instead, she shared with me, they talked about that night’s lesson, discussing with each other about what it means to put their identity in Christ. That makes all the work of planning a camp worth it for me, to know that kids are walking away challenged in their relationship with Christ. God is faithful.

Eunice Bartlett – SFC Loon – Lincoln, NH

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Secret Spot Team Challenge

Written by Nick Sackman
on March 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

Secret Spot Team Challenge Raises Over $20k for Mental Health Programs

Copper Mountain, Colo – On February 23, 2019 over 20 teams took to the slopes at Copper Mountain Resort for the Secret Spot Team Challenge to raise awareness and funds for two mental health non-profits, Building Hope Summit County and My Quiet Cave. Each participant raised at least $100 individually, and each team consisted of two to six people. The Challenge raised a total of ​$24,273 ​that will go directly to the non-profits to serve the needs of mental health awareness and suicide prevention in Colorado.

Teams were given seven clues and a Copper Mountain Trail Map. Using the clues, teams determined where to find the “Secret Spots.” At each Spot, participants worked through a challenge to learn more about mental health and to receive tools to help others. The challenges all involved teamwork and encouraged communication on some of the more stigmatized topics surrounding mental health and suicide.

“My favorite part of the day was the community and the challenge to be more communicative with each other and the patience that goes along with that,” said participant Daniel Bernlohr. “And then the reward of finding a spot, and everyone gets stoked.”

One of the main themes of the event was “shredding the stigma” about mental health problems. “One day we should be able to talk about our mental health the way we talk about a knee replacement,” said Betsy Casey, Program Manager of Building Hope in her opening statements.

“With such a transient community it’s hard to find people to talk to,” commented Megan Lovely after the Challenge. “This is such a great opportunity to plug people into the right veins where they can express what’s going on.”

Through generous sponsors, teams were also able to win prizes, like a Never Summer Snowboard and Vans shoes and backpacks. Prizes were for the first team to complete the challenge, plus top fundraising teams and individuals.

Event organizer Nick Sackman said, “We are tremendously excited with how this event went in its inaugural year. With the overwhelming support from the community and awesome turnout we are looking forward to next year.” To learn more about the event visit ​www.secretspotchallenge.com​. Follow the event on Instagram (@secretspotchallenge) or sign up the mailing list (​http://eepurl.com/dM5XCA​) for updates on the event in 2020.

Posted in Uncategorized

Seasons Part 2

Written by Nick Sackman
on November 14, 2018 in Devotionals

Genesis 8:22 (NIV)
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Let’s talk about seasons once more.

There is something comforting about routine. C.S. Lewis says that the rhythms of life are God’s little way of giving us consistent change. Different enough day-by-day to keep us engaged, yet never straying too far from the safety of stability. There is a warm beauty in the rhythm of everyday life, but when we go too fast, we miss it.

Seasons are a good example of this–God promises us an annual stability of the weather. (If you live in MI you know this is a very loose stability, but we take it nonetheless). As long as the earth endures, spring, summer, fall, and winter will never cease (Genesis 8:22). There are things we come to expect in winter: snow, snowsports, numb fingers and toes, warm hearts and company, Christmas, Holiday cheer, and hot cocoa. (I guess chestnuts roasting over an open fire is a thing for some people too). You catch my drift.

But, if you read Seasons pt 1, you know how easy it is to get annoyed with seasons that outstay their welcome. Out with the old, and in with the new–right? Society today is very future focused. Have you noticed that the professional skiers/snowboarders these days ride the latest and greatest 2019 gear when we are still in 2018? What’s with that?

Sometimes, we get sick of the seasons we are in because we convince ourselves there is something better around the corner. We spend our time just waiting for the future instead of enjoying the present. We neglect to stop and enjoy the season we are in, because we are certain tomorrow holds something better. But, since when do we know what is good for us?

God is very intentional with His children. He calls us to lean into the situations that He places us in, the people He places us with, and the projects He puts us before. We fill our lives to the brim with “what-ifs” for the next second, day, month, or year, instead of entering a place of gratitude for the moments we are given today. Finding joy in the ‘Same Old Thing’ is something that the world looks down upon. (Get with the times!) But, Philippians tells us to think about whatever is true, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Not what is next, tomorrow, bigger, or better.

Enjoying something we are desensitized to is difficult. How do you find a new beauty in something you have long since considered outdated? A marriage, an education, a career, a friendship, a relationship, a project, a faith…

Ground yourself in God’s truth and purpose for the present.

Challenge

    • Is there something in your life that you’re just really sick of?
    • How might God be calling you to recommit yourself to this season of life you are in now?
    • Are your plans for your future based on God’s truth or your current dissatisfaction with the now?

 

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals

Seasons Part 1

Written by Nick Sackman
on November 7, 2018 in Devotionals

James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Many people enjoy fall: the pumpkin flavored everything, beautiful colors in the trees, cozy sweaters and flannels, warm drinks, etc. Skiers and snowboarders often have a more difficult time enjoying this pleasant and mild season because they know what is around the corner.

Snow.

I live in a magical place called Michigan, where we get a taste of all 4 seasons. Whether we like it or not, it’s a small taste of spring, a little helping of summer, a dash of fall, and a WHOPPING DOLLOP of winter. However, come liquid-ice-pouring-out-of-the-sky in March, both skiers and snow-haters alike eagerly await Spring.

Seasons aren’t always fun.

Maybe you’re struggling through something in your life that seems to drag on and on: a project, a broken relationship, an addiction, boredom, unemployment, or even an unknown. Whether we like it or not, God uses our sucky seasons for His glory. The church calls this Redemption. I like to call it ‘being joyful when trouble comes your way because you know that when your faith is tested you are given a chance to foster resilience and strength for the next time trouble comes around’ (aka James 1:2-4).

Hillsong’s lyrics alway manage to hit me where it counts. If you have a second, I encourage you to sit and listen to the words of their song, Seasons. If not, I’ll give you this taste:

You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting

God has you where you are for a reason. You might be sick of the season, you might be sick of waiting, but it comes down to trusting that God knows where you need to be–better than you do.

Challenge

  • Are you stuck in a sucky season?
  • How have you seen God use “trouble that comes your way” for His good?
  • What season of your life do you need to surrender to God and say, “you know what I need better than I do”

 

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

Posted in Devotionals

Sign up now for the NEW SFC Leadership Development Program

Written by Nick Sackman
on August 14, 2018 in News

Over the past several years, the SFC movement has seen a tremendous amount of growth. With chapters popping up all around the world (e.g., Chile, Aspen, Burlington), God has been actively demonstrating His heart for the shred industry. SFC has been blessed to be a part of this incredible movement and this growing network of folks that God has burdened with the task of “being a light” on the hill. But, as God has continued to extend His reach into the ski/snowboard culture, we have realized that there is an increasing need to train leaders across the globe. While there are many who resonate with – and firmly believe in – the mission of SFC, there are also many who do not feel equipped to carry it out. The Leadership Development Program (LDP), launching this October, is our latest attempt to help meet this need – to equip and encourage current (and future) leaders to BE THE BRIDGE that connects the snowriding culture to Jesus.

The heart of the program (our WHY) is rooted in our conviction that EVERY believer (every SFCer) should be equipped to carry out the work that God has called them to. We are saddened when we see people, who feel a burden for this culture, resolve to sit on the sidelines because they do not believe that they could ever make an impact. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, Christ has given us ALL gifts that can be used for the building up of His body (the Church). It is our hope/prayer that this program will be one of the ways that God confirms this in the life of every SFCer.

Why should you apply for SFC’s new Leadership Development Program?

  1. 1. To get plugged into an intentional Christ-centered community
  2. 2. To know God and His Word better
  3. 3. To get hands-on ministry experience
  4. 4. To experience what God is doing through ski/snowboard ministry

 
We still have a couple of spots available, so we’ve decided to extend the registration deadline through August 31st. Would you consider putting in an application? We would be stoked to have you!

If you have any questions, please shoot me an email at ryan@sfcusa.org.

Posted in News

SFC Australia: The light continues to shine

Written by Nick Sackman
on July 30, 2018 in News

In the snow riding culture, we often hear that it’s always snowing somewhere. When you hear Australia, you may think of surfing, the Outback, and kangaroos. It can be hard to imagine heaps of snow. Over the past decade, the Australian skiing and snowboarding population has grown massively, and their influence is becoming evident. Perisher Australia offers the best snowboard/ski terrain park in the southern hemisphere, which attracts people from all over the world to the Australian snowy mountains. The population in the country town of Jindabyne jumps from a few small thousand to over twenty thousand during peak winter months. The Aussie snowriding culture finds a mass amount of people trying escape reality for a few months in the party scene. Major hardships thrive there such as drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, loss of identity, depression, suicide, STDs, etc. Many let loose and lose their identity in skiing/snowboarding, partying, and/or relationships. There is a huge need for SFC and the Christian community to connect Christians and non-believers to experience the love, hope, and purpose found in Jesus.

Over the last ten years, SFC leaders have been investing into reaching this community with bible studies, soup kitchens, and other community outreach. SFC staff member, Taylor Brant from Colorado, has spent the last three years abroad in Australia and New Zealand rebuilding SFC’s relationship with the local church, planting seeds, casting vision, discipling new believers, sharing the gospel, and laying the foundation of what’s possible for future SFC Aussie/Kiwi leaders leaders to continue to be a light on the hill. Taylor (aka Swifty) eturned home to Colorado this July and passed on the baton to local Aussie leaders. The SFC movement is capturing the hearts of new leaders to be light on the hill not only in Jindabyne but also the other Australia snowy mountains in Victoria at Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, and Bright. God is evolving and shaping SFC Australia organically; it’s a team and community effort to reach the lost in the shred culture. The new crew is meeting regularly for bible studies, life groups, and serving in the communities. Please partner alongside SFC in prayer as God continues to raise up new leaders throughout Australia and New Zealand so that the fire and passion for Jesus to reach the good news to the lost.

Pray for SFC Australia

Unity – That leadership will work together and for more leaders to be called to serve.

Community – That the community will be able to help provide protection and support to vulnerable people.

Development – That Christian skiers and snowboarders will connect in Victoria mountains to gather and form an SFC ministry team.

Events – For God’s work, finances, and organization as SFC serves the community through outreach events such as Love-A-Lifty fudge, PBJs in the park, and Sausage Sizzles

Growth – That Australian leaders will rise up and mature in their calling, confidence, and knowledge of the Lord.

Connect with SFC Australia

    

Posted in News

Rebuilding the Shred Scene after the War

Written by Nick Sackman
on June 29, 2017 in News

It is the intention of SFC to build a global culture of our six B.R.I.D.G.E. Values – Believing, Relationships, Identity, Doing, Gospel, Engaging. This story from our interim European Director, Hondo Wynn, epitomizes the Value of Engaging, by meeting all people right where they are.

Sarajevo 84 Olympic Village

Seven years after Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Olympics, Yugoslavia began to break up. Without going into the long and complicated situation, by 1992 Bosnia was at war. The war was ethnically and religiously tied, and there were many casualties of this war that lasted several years. Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, was under siege for a couple of years. The city that once hosted the Olympics was being bombed. The slopes that once held the ski races were now the scenes of intense mountain warfare. They continue to find landmines in those areas to this day.

I met some Bosnians when I was in Czech at a conference. After some chatting, I found that they run snowboard camps for Bosnian youth. I asked if there was anything SFC could do to help them with their camps. They said it would help tremendously if we could bring some people to teach snowboarding. I recruited a couple of Swiss SFCers, and we made it happen in January.

When we rolled into Sarajevo late at night, it was -23 celsius and snow was piled everywhere. We jumped right into a camp full of Bosnian teenagers who were stoked to learn to snowboard. We were able to teach them at two of the Olympic resorts. On the last day, we built a mini terrain park with some tubes and shovels. Good times were had by all. We shared stories of how God found us, and we had lots of great conversations riding (scary, old) chairlifts and hiking the mini park. It was a unique experience that blended engaging students in a war-torn country and teaching them to ride and enjoy the big local mountains God put on the outskirts of their capital city.

Help SFC BRIDGE

ONLY ONE DAY LEFT! We’ve shared six amazing stories with you that express each of SFC’s values. This is how God is working in the ski and snowboard culture. We want to ensure that more stories like this keep happening, but we need your help. Right now we only have $30,000 left to raise and ONLY ONE DAY LEFT TO DO IT.

Would you pray about joining us to keep THE LIGHT ON THE HILL?

 

Posted in News

Effectively Sharing the Gospel in Big Bear

Written by Nick Sackman
on June 23, 2017 in News

At SFC, we’re working to build a global culture of our six B.R.I.D.G.E. Values. This story from our SFC Big Bear leaders in Big Bear, CA, Adam and Julie Stromwall, demonstrates the Value of Gospel.

Effectively Sharing the Gospel in Big Bear

If you’ve ever been to Bear Mountain, you would notice the park is full of filmers, and even more so than other resorts.  A couple of our chapter leaders thought it would be a great idea to put together a video contest to attract park riders to come to our free dinner nights! We worked very hard to put together our contest called “60 Seconds to ShrEDIT.”  The inspiration came from HELP Boardshop in Minnesota. The contest rules were simple: create a [roughly] 60 second video edit filmed at one of our two local mountains, Bear Mountain or Snow Summit.  The video edit was then submitted online, and the contestant needed to be at the video premiere held on March 12th.

Everyone worked hard at handing out business card size flyers on the hill and telling anyone and everyone about the contest.  We received some amazing prizes from local sponsors.  Community Church blessed us with our 1st place cash prize of $500! Never having done this before, we were nervous how many submissions we would receive. We were pumped to receive 13!

The night of the video premiere was amazing. SO many new faces came to Community Church’s Historic Chapel to watch the edits!  We served free dinner and got to meet 75+ new “locals” who we were unable to attract earlier in the season.

Everyone loved the videos. It was a loud, exciting event. Immediately after the video edits played, we had each person vote on paper their favorite edit.  After voting, we played short video with SFC International Director, Josh Stock, and Pro Snowboarder, Andy Finch, where they talked about what in the shred culture is important to them.  Those who were watching were given a brief, yet powerful, message on a relationship with Christ.  Next we had SFC Big Bear leader, Hannah Keller, give a short message on biblical truth.  Her words were well received! We know seeds were planted on that night, and we’re so thankful to be able to minister at such a fun event.

Help SFC BRIDGE

You’ll receive one story about how God is working in the ski and snowboard culture each week for the next three weeks. We’re also going to update you on our financial journey. We want to ensure that more stories like this keep happening, but we need your help. Right now we only have $32,000 left to raise to meet our needs for the year (ending June 30th). Would you pray about joining us to keep THE LIGHT ON THE HILL?

 

Posted in News

Love the Pass

Written by Nick Sackman
on June 19, 2017 in News

At SFC, we’re working to build a global culture of our six B.R.I.D.G.E. Values. This story from our SFC Summit leaders in Dillon, CO, Cory and Tina Holton, demonstrates the Value of Doing.

Love the Pass

On April 1, 2017, SFC Summit partnered with SFC Vail and SFC Denver to put on a “Love The Pass Day” at Loveland Pass in Summit County, Colorado. Loveland Pass is a popular backcountry area for snowboarding and skiing. At the pass, skiers and riders start near the top of the pass and then hitch a ride back up once they get to the bottom. We met at the bottom of the most popular run and set up a grill, fire pit, and seating. We had donuts and coffee in the morning and grilled hot dogs and passed out water bottles in the afternoon for anyone who was at the pass that day. We also used the SFC van to shuttle people and their gear back to the top of the pass. All of this was provided for free to those on the mountain. A lot of people asked how much the food or shuttle cost. When they found out it was free, they would ask why we were doing this. Their questions opened the door to talk to them about SFC, Jesus, and why we want to serve others. We ended the day handing out over 100 hot dogs, going through 2 cases of bottled water, and being able to talk to a lot of people about Jesus.

Our “Love The Pass Day” on Loveland Pass is an example of the SFC core value of “doing.” We define this value as,  “We selflessly demonstrate our love for Jesus by putting others ahead of ourselves through serving one another, the local communities we live in, and the entire snow riding culture.” Through giving away free food and drink and providing shuttle rides to those who ride the backcountry in our community, we were able to serve them and show them the love of Jesus through our actions. It is through events like this that we are able to serve others, tell them about Jesus, and be the light of Jesus in the snow riding culture.

Help SFC BRIDGE

You’ll receive one story about how God is working in the ski and snowboard culture each week for the next three weeks. We’re also going to update you on our financial journey. We want to ensure that more stories like this keep happening, but we need your help. Right now we only have $35,000 left to raise to meet our needs for the year (ending June 30th). Would you pray about joining us to keep THE LIGHT ON THE HILL?

 

Posted in News