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Taylor "Swifty" Brant, a 32-year-old American, recently spent three years serving with Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ based in Jindabyne, Australia. Back in his home state of Colorado, he’s now looking forward to a new role with the organisation… 

Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ was founded in New Zealand in 1997 by several members of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) who modelled the organisation on Christian Surfers. Its purpose is to be the light of Jesus within the snow-riding culture and to act as a bridge between the culture and Jesus Christ, in partnership with the local church.

I grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado and started skiing at a very young age. My passion for snowboarding came when I was 12 and I got hooked from the very beginning. My dream was to become a professional snowboarder and film-maker.

At 16-years-old I made my very first film, Mistaken, featuring my friends and myself riding together. Shortly after I picked up a few sponsors at the local board store. 

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Top picture - "Swifty" Brant takes to the slopes on a snowboard at Perisher in New South Wales, Australia. Above - Brant (right) wearing a yellow SFC hat with another snowrider. 

 

"[A]t another crossroads in my life, I felt Jesus come to me in a dream saying 'Come. follow me, dude. My ways are better than trying to do it your own way'. So that week I found a local church that had a young adults service and made a decision to follow after Jesus."

We didn’t have SFC in Colorado as I progressed towards my dream to become pro. After highschool I moved to Breckenridge following after my dream but my plans were quickly crushed as I experienced more than a dozen accidents, dislocating my shoulder. It led to three major reconstruction and repair surgeries. 

The doctors said I’d never be able to snowboard again and I blamed God for taking away my dream. My identity was in snowboarding and I became lost when it was taken from me. 

Many years later - after long period of slow recovery - I returned to the board. When I graduated from university with a degree in aviation and obtained my private pilot licence, I had dream to do one more snowboard film featuring the best riders from Colorado.  

This is where I was introduced to SFC - a few of the athletes in my film were Christian snowboarders who had started SFC in Summit County, Colorado, the same year I got hurt living in Breckenridge. Even though I didn’t want anything to do with church and God at the time, I thought it was pretty cool that you could be a snowboarder and a Christian.   

I attended SFC skate, wax and dinner gatherings where I felt loved and welcomed. I ended up touring my film, Sup Bro?, with SFC films all across the country and across the pond to London. 

A seed was planted in my heart and over time I slowly became more involved with SFC. I could see there was something different about the lifestyle they lived, the joy and love that they had for others.

I had grown up in a Christian home, attended a church youth group - even going on mission trips in high school - and I believed in God. But I didn’t understand what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus and in my youth and young adult years, I felt I didn’t need Him.

By this time, however, I was tired of trying to do life my own way and, at another crossroads in my life, I felt Jesus come to me in a dream saying “Come, follow me, dude. My ways are better than trying to do it your own way”. So that week I found a local church that had a young adults service and made a decision to follow after Jesus. 

I was on a journey following Jesus. I didn’t change overnight but over several months my heart was transformed to reach people who are lost like I once was.

I feel my story is a story of redemption - God still loved and pursued me even when I didn’t want anything to do with Him. I didn’t understand what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus but now my relationship with Jesus means the world to me. Now I know that because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, I get to have a friendship with Him; the creator of Heaven and Earth.  

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SFC members at Aspen, Colorado.

I thought I had screwed up too many times with my many mistakes and sins, that I didn’t deserve to have a friendship with Jesus and that I didn’t have what it takes to lead others to Christ as an SFC leader. 

But in my friendship with Jesus I wanted to be “all in” and eventually got baptised at my church, which was a huge turning point. I drew a line in the sand to become the person God had always called me to be. Declaring that Jesus is the Lord of my life is my number one priority.

Shortly after that my SFC friends somehow talked me into becoming a leader of SFC and I’ve been able to use my passion for snowboarding and my love for Jesus to be a light on the hill to my friends and to reach the lost.  

As a volunteer I led the SFC Denver chapter for three years at the same time serving at Red Rocks church helping with video production, working fulltime in the aviation industry as a customer consultant and snowboarding on the weekends. Then God put a call on my heart to leave everything behind and sell all my possessions to go to the other side of the world so He could further equip me as a disciple as I led the SFC movement "down-under" in Australia/New Zealand.

While serving in Jindabyne, Australia, I earned the nickname 'Swifty'. Often people ask how did you get the name 'Swifty'?  Is it cause you're fast or swift? Then they get it when I say “Taylor...Swift(y)".

Recently, I have passed on my role to local Aussie/Kiwi leaders. My new role for SFC is as creative media director, sharing about what God is doing within the SFC movement across the world using my passion for film and photography. My dream for many years has been to capture stories and testimonies of Christian professional snowboarders to be able to reach even more people across the world.  

"The biggest challenge of being involved in SFC is that the snow-riding culture is very hard to reach from the outside. So it’s really best to come from within the culture to reach this people group through genuine friendships. We simply love God and love others by being an example of Christ in how we live."

The biggest challenge of being involved in SFC is that the snow-riding culture is very hard to reach from the outside. So it’s really best to come from within the culture to reach this people group through genuine friendships. We simply love God and love others by being an example of Christ in how we live. Once trust is established through authentic friendships, people start asking themselves what they believe and our friends start asking about who Jesus is.  

We constantly have to get out of our comfort zone to have our eyes opened to see those opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with our friends.  

In more recent years one of my biggest challenges was learning how to lead as part of a team, sharing responsibilities and delegating tasks. We are a part of the body of Christ and God has given each of us our own unique ‘giftings’ and talents to further His kingdom. We need to work together as a team, partnering with the local church to have the greatest impact on cultures we are trying to reach.   

We all have a role to play - the elders provide wisdom, guidance and might even be willing to cook some good homemade meals for SFC, while the young ones are the face of SFC, making those friendships and inviting people into what God is doing within SFC.  

My favourite part of being apart of the SFC family is that, since SFC is a growing ministry internationally, we can visit our brothers and sisters in amazing ski fields across the world. I feel so encouraged what God is doing through other SFC leaders and love hearing their inspirational stories. 

Taylor Brant spoke to David Adams.