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Northwoods Pond Hockey Championship | Jon Scally

Eight years ago, the leadership of Minnesota challenged us as youth pastors to think missions, specifically, Speed the Light (STL) missions giving.  They challenged youth pastors and students to think creatively about ways we could raise and give money to STL.  I had played in pond hockey tournaments in Minneapolis for years and loved doing it. So, I thought, why not a pond hockey tournament right here in Grand Rapids to raise money for STL? Now, eight years later, Northwoods Pond Hockey Championship on McKinney Lake has doubled in size with four divisions, 40 teams, 250 players, 50-plus volunteers, and tons of spectators that come out to watch and be a part of the day.  It has been so fun to see it become an annual tradition.

“Turning Ice into Water” became our saying. It describes our passion for playing the great game of hockey so that people can access clean water.  We have been able to give $54,600 towards water wells in Africa through an organization called World Serve.  We have also given $10,500 back to local non-profit organizations like New Beginnings Pregnancy Center, YMCA, and Boys and Girls club.  I also realized that this Pond Hockey tournament lined up perfectly with our church’s mission statement, “reaching our community through building relationships.”

It has been an excellent way for our church, Grand Rapids Assembly of God, to love and invest in our community. Seeing the people from our church catch the vision and heartbeat of this pond hockey tournament has been incredible. It has been an avenue to build a bridge from our church to our community.  Finally, our church passionately caught the vision to raise mission funds. We reach our community for Jesus by meeting people where they are and representing Jesus through Northwoods Pond Hockey Championship.