By COURTNEY INGLE
When you walk into this skating rink, you see the large wooden floor, worn from years of skaters of all ages and skill levels. There’s a disco ball, arcade games, a snack bar, and an area for birthday parties.
You’d never guess that you’re standing on holy ground.
City Lights was born from Funtime Skateland in Pearl. Jeff Lott, owner of Funtime and pastor of City Lights, said the name of the church was a God-given revelation as he prayed in his car one day.
“I was just driving, and the Lord said, ‘City Lights,’” Jeff said.
Matthew 5:14 states, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill that cannot be hidden.”
Jeff has been tethered to Funtime for nearly four decades. He and his wife, Star, and their children lead City Lights together.
“The Lord put this on Jeff’s heart, and he was radically transformed,” said Star. “And we had this place, and he knew that we had to use it for God.” The Lotts were educated through Pinelake’s church plant program, and just before planting another church, they ultimately answered the Lord’s call to launch City Lights.
“We’ve changed a lot over the years, with a full band, (and) skating before church,” said Jeff. “But we’ve scaled it back to just about getting the Word to the kids, to see fruit in their lives. And every weekend we are with them, we see the fruit of what Jesus is doing with them.”
The mission of City Lights is to be and make disciples for Christ by reaching the kids who would normally come to the rink for entertainment — and who might not hear the Word of God elsewhere.
“These kids … they’re coming from broken homes, hurting homes, and they’re getting saved and taking this back to their families,” said Star.
A lot of these kids, the Lotts said, might never have stepped foot in a more traditional church. City Lights is different — a traditional church has a youth program, but here, the youth are the church.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Jeff. “We see these kids come in, and they’re not looking for Christ, they’re looking for their boyfriend or girlfriend and they’re looking to hang out — but they leave on fire for Jesus.”
Jeff and Star lead a service at City Lights like many churches would, with fellowship, prayer and Bible study. However, the City Lights reach doesn’t end on Sunday night.
“We see these kids here all weekend,” said Jeff. “So we see them in church mode and in ‘real world’ mode. So we get to mentor them in real time. It’s all because of Jesus.”
The Lott family has been amazed at how God is working through the rink.
“We’re just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, for God,” said Star. “We’re using what God has given us to reach these families for Him.”
City Lights meets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Sunday night at Funtime Skateland in Pearl. Visit funtimeskate.com or Funtime Skateland Pearl on Facebook for more information.