Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Why I Quit A Christian Biker Club


Several years ago, I was a member of a well-known Christian motorcycle club.

Actually, it didn’t really view itself as a biker club as much as a group of ministry team members to the secular biker community. As a member I wore their colors proudly. But without going into the details, let me simply say that something changed and I felt that I could no longer in good conscience support this para-church and religious biker organization.

Now let’s fast-forward about twelve to fourteen years.

A couple weeks ago I went on a bike ride that brought several hundred bikers together from all around the province. It was an awesome two-day event that I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the deluge of rain on the second day that created for a very wet ride home. While there mingling with the crowd, I saw members of my former bike club, albeit members of a different chapter than the one I belonged to. As I watched them, suddenly it became very apparent again why I quit that biker club. Christian ministry? Hmm.

Not once did I observe them mingling with the other bikers. All I saw was them hanging around only with themselves. I remember thinking, how clique-ish of them! Whenever I saw those colors on that first day, they were only in the company of others wearing the same colors. “This is ministry to the secular biker community,” I asked myself? Christian ministry? Hmm.

A caveat is in order. I noticed that one member of this club did reach out to a non-member … me. Maybe he felt safe doing so, because on my biker vest there are a couple patches that clearly identify me as a Christian. There is also a small pin with the emblem of my former association with his club. Seeing it, he asked me about which chapter I belong to. I informed him that I’m no longer a member, as I no longer wear the colors. The pin, I said, was simply a memento of those days of yesteryear. On hearing that I was no longer a member, but still wearing the pin, he said, “We’ll have to see about getting the boys to remove that pin from you!” Wow! Feeling threatened, I told him he could offer to buy it from me, and I walked away. Christian ministry? Hmm.

Now I said that this happened on the first day, but what about the second day? The second day they were conspicuous by their complete and total absence. It was like they never existed at all. Where were they? Was there no one there who needed to hear the Gospel on that second day of this biker rally? Christian ministry? Hmm.

After the main programed events of the first day ended, many who planned to spend the night at the campsite, myself included, rode into the nearest town on a “beer run.” Whatever Christian bikers were left from this group, once the beer came out, they were gone. The thing is, nobody was obnoxious, rude, or perverted. Yes, a couple people probably had a little too much to drink, but everyone was well behaved. There wasn’t even any litter lying around, as everyone made a concerted effort to keep the place clean. But I guess the sight of beer was too much for some “Christians.” Christian ministry? Hmm.

That evening, after we set up our tents, there was an awesome time around a bonfire. Talk about relaxing. It was beautiful. I mingled with other bikers, who by now obviously knew of my Christian faith (or at least suspected it), shared a couple beers, a few jokes, and made myself approachable. Christian ministry? Hmm.

As I thought about my encounter with my former bike club, I tried to imagine myself as a non-believer, like many of those around me, and wondered if they perceived what I perceived of these “Christian” bikers. What did I perceive? I know this will sound harsh, but all I could think of at that time was, what a bunch of snobs! Why would anyone want what you’re selling? Christian ministry? Hmm.

And now I finally remembered why I quit that Christian biker club. Christian ministry? Hmm. If that’s what it’s all about, thanks, but no thanks.

36 comments:

  1. Great article, thank you for sharing! I was a youth pastor in Indiana for about 10 yrs. I have been doing a full-time ministry to the MMA community in Las Vegas for almost 3 years and it has been a real challenge to figure out how to bridge the gap between that sub-culture/ministry and the traditional church. Sometimes it seems like we have really come a long way. Other times it seems like I spend all my time educating, debating or arguing with pastors/Christians and have no time left for ministry...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've observed that groups of all kinds serve the purpose of giving the embers a sense of belonging. I'm glad you have found that sense of belonging in your personal/individual relationship with The Lord. Not all are that confident and comfortable in their relationship with Him for whatever reason. Sometimes because they don't really know Christ, sometimes because they have been taught to believe things about him that are not true, others just never believed that Almighty God could be that accessible and close to animated sapiens made of dirt.

    Most of us are people who need people, preferably people who share our ideologies and interests. I can imagine most of the members of the group that had crosses on their leathers came out of some of the surrounding groups. They were observing those groups in much the same way you were: "look at them. Now I remember why I'm over here and I'm content with them staying over there." Some of the most religious groups are suffering from their own brand of bondage. When someone who knows the freedom of Christ sees them, they are seen as they are; a people group who need to be reached out to with Christ's love and grace.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My Husband and I have had the chance to be around Bikers as he was one and we became Christians and have been going to same church fo 12 years we are friendly and involed in the church and have not made one friend there not from a lack of trying. But we have been asked to many occasion at our biker friend places They have had beer dope you name it there and every time they offer us pop or coffee when the bonfire gets going somebody always comes and tell us what they need prayer for I say because we do not judge we just love them as Christ loves us....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Biker for you....christian rocker...or metalhead...or punk rocker...or whatever for me. My conclusion is that we were trying so hard to convince the world that we could follow Jesus without being lame. We wanted to hang on to the edgy coolness of fad and cliques, all in the name of Jesus, using the excuse of "reaching lost souls for Christ." In our songs there were Christian lyrics, even Bible verses. We were trying way too hard and were only fooling ourselves. I am SO glad I got out of that malady.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know some people in this "Christian biker club". The article hits the nail on the head. There again, we see the "exclusive" way of thinking and living. When Jesus went out to speak with people, to whom did He go? He ate with "publicans and sinners". If you're in a so called "ministry" the job at hand is to reach out, in LOVE to the hurt and lost, not cloister one's self away from them. An analogy: don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like what you have to say in your article. I find the same think is true in many 'christian' ministries. I have been on the hardcore side of bike clubs, having spent 5 years in prison) and i have been on the side of ministries....because I am a christian. I understand both worlds very well, but I do shy away from the christian ministries that aren't so christian after all. I am an LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) member and run a small non profit ministry myself these days, helping the homeless, the drug addict, the alcoholic, the prostitute, the thieves, drug dealers, and all the rest of those sinners.....people just like me....people in need of Gods grace and Gods Gospel, just like me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for this post. I remember a Christian biker who spoke at our church years ago, and he seemed to be just that--one who had come a long way and was reaching out to those still caught up in a destructive lifestyle. Different from the ones you knew.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, many are different than the ones I knew (thankfully).

      Delete
  8. You were with the wrong Christian biker group. Our Christian M/M chapter just returned from a gathering at a 1%er Clubhouse. We go to meets, parties, poker runs, etc... almost all secular.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're probably right, friend. I was picking on one particular group and certainly not all of them. Peace :)

      Delete
  9. I too left the Christian Bike Club. I was heavily involved in both local and state organizations. I left because of 2 things I saw. First, nobody seemed to want to do anything but set up a tract table and popup at events, then sit in the shade and gripe about the loud music, drunks and scantily clad girls. No mingling, no compassion or comeradarie at all. The second was that I noticed that as long as members agreed completely with leadership or didn't need any special attention everything was fine. as soon as someone had trouble or had a different take on how things should be done brotherhood no longer existed for them. I was saved while involved in the hardcore life and knew that the guys and ladies we were supposed to be reaching out to knew what real brotherhood looked like and they sure weren't seeing it from us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a similar experience. Peace :)

      Delete
  10. I quit when I saw more Christians becoming biker than bikers becoming Christians.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have been a member for many years and sadly, I am beginning to see the same things you described so I amped up my personal ministry and the president felt it was in conflict of the focus of the chaptet, whatever that means. I didn't think proclaiming the Word was a conflict of interest to any ministry. I have seen the same treatment amongst other members as well. Being cited for being too enthusiastic in their witness because they were "new Christians". REALLY? I guess it wasn't being done the CMA way. Anyway, I am seriously contemplating continuing with my own ministry. You don't need a backpatch to witness from you motorcycle. Thanks for letting me vent.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I live in Canada and ride a Harley. I am also single, female and an ordained minister. Imagine my surprise recently when I met a Christian male in a church I was visiting who had joined a Christian biker "club" and, when I said, I'd like to join too, was told me they don't accept women!!! Why wouldn't they accept me? I put my name the ownership so I can ride without "providing services". I'm still looking for one to join. We have CMA, ICBA, HSMM in my town. I use my bike for ministry as it makes me approachable. Not sure if I want to join a Christian motorcycle ministry or a secular club where I can minister from "within" by just being present. I, too, notice exactly what the guy posting above has said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous, I'm "Hands" from the Thunder Bay chapter of Bikers for Christ M/M. We're a Christian ministry, not an MC; with no desire to be one! Our sisters are full-patch members and partners in ministry. Feel free to PM me at ahannay71@gmail.com; I could get you some contact numbers in whatever region of the country you reside. We're spread out pretty far on this side of the border! We've also got a Facebook page...Thunder Bay BFC if you'd like to check us out from afar! Blessings in your search!

      Good article Will, praise Him for your strong convictions!
      Grace and Peace.

      Delete
    2. I have heard of your story, and have been troubled by it yes, we are from the same town)... email me at vblacky@mnsi.net
      Blacky

      Delete
    3. I know that HSMM accepts women as members.

      Delete
  13. What good is a title in the Kingdom of God. (ordained minister) All believers in Christ the Lord are in the brotherhood of priests. All means all, women included. Christian "whatever" clubs, (including institutional churches) are usually just as worldly if not more as any "secular" club. In my opinion you would better serve the Kingdom in the world, not in some type of wannabe christian club.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Our human nature is to hang with those like us and there's nothing wrong with that. However, there's a difference between Christian fellowship (How's that for a churchy word?) and showing bikers Jesus. Ministering to those who need to see Jesus in us means getting to know people, being authentic, making friends with them and being in circles that look nothing like church. There are some successful clubs & chapters out there. I would suspect they are fighting these tendencies constantly to stay focused on their mission and to be authentic. Good post Will.

    ReplyDelete
  15. As a Christian with a tattered past I recently reached out to an MC group not for the riding but for the brotherhood and fellowship. After being told that I was welcome at a prayer meeting, I never heard from them again. If that's how Jesus would be, maybe I should leave the faith?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. most are just cults that ride motors.they judge before they understand others.you can't make a deal with the devil and say you're serving the LORD. the true christian is the one who helps without letting anyone know that they are christian. relationship, not religion is the only way to the kingdom.

      Delete
  16. This is a difficult topic to tackle, as the problematic issues cited have their roots in the dynamics of a group becoming an organization, as well as general human tendencies.
    For example, a group of people becoming an organization may result in a lot of jostling for position and influence, or some folks trying to dominate and dictate to the others. Although some see this as regular leadership, I call it Carnality because the focus there is upon the Self, not on God. Christ set some very clear examples of leadership through serving, caring, praying for and with people, and Yes, mingling with unbelievers.
    As for the human tendencies, we all want a sense of belonging and significance, and a biker club can bring a lot of that for a rider. But let's remember that we first belong to Christ, and our significance lies in him dying for us--NOT because we have the coolest ride, the quickest intellect, or are the baddest dudes.
    Organizations generally are prone to becoming ingrown, and may end up in a myopia of "Our Way Only" kind of perspective. Pray that you will be led by the Holy Spirit, ask God to participate in your club, and He will. Bring the Lord's ways and truth, to a darkened world. It can be done, I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My husband and I were involved with a Motorcycle Ministry and it was the same thing, everybody stood together at events and talked with each other, my husband was the only one that went and mingled with the unsaved crowd and witnessed and talked to people it was very frustrating to see all the Christians just hung out together. Now we are in a different group yesterday we went for a ride talked to some folks from a tour bus they were from China, talked about the Lord, then we had to split up at Tim Hortons we stood in the parking lot in a circle and prayed it was amazing many folks were watching some smiling. In this group everybody witnesses as the Holy Spirit leads we look for opps to talk to strangers while we are out that is what the Lord did, Amen....so this group is so much different then the first we were involved in. Love it! To God be the glory! It is all about sharing the Gospel with a lost world!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sadly enough I have experienced what you describe in the article. Even more grievous is that I have experienced it in most churches. We, Christians, have a lot to learn from secular culture about loving and not judging others.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This article is just as bad as the people it's complaining about. Christian? Hmm.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've been hanging with a group from a popular and probably most famous of the Christian Biker Ministries. They guys have a church that has a wide respect among the 1%ers and even have seen Outlaws and other members come to the services. They also go against the grain of some I've seen in written about the group by fellowship inch with Bikers for Christ, Covenant, Seed of Abraham, and a few independent church MMs. The struggle is getting younger bikers involved and interested in evangelizing to the biker community. The town they're based in has a number of riders and my church is downtown and grabbing a cup of coffee some Sundays I'll see bikes lined up at the local mom and pop breakfast joints. They've even planted a biker church a few towns over that meets on Fridays and is heavily active in reaching bikers too. 1%ers even come out to their services feeling welcomed and not outcasts

    ReplyDelete
  21. Question: Can you make a deal with the Devil and say you are serving the LORD?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great article! What a reminder that Jesus spent his time with tax collectors, prostitutes, etc. and he told his disciples to go after the so called secular people. Jesus spent less time with religious people. Good for you in being authentic in your faith.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was part of the CMA from 2007 to Jan 2015..I came out of the old biker life style,,I gave my life to the Lord in 2003 and thought it would be great being part of a Christian bike group.. I served as a president for 2 years and a chaplin for 1, The sad part was they more less hung around each other at events,,and as each years passed it got to be more and more about the back patch and CMA and less about Jesus...The straw broke for me the day I had a Christian flag sewed on my vest instead of my Countrys flag ( Putting Jesus first ) and then having a area rep tell me to take the Christian flag off my vest because it was not part of there dress code..... Dress code ??? I said later all...I can be a Christian biker without a vest or a club... Maybe even a better one

    ReplyDelete
  24. I completely understand where you coming from. For I was a member of a well know Christian motorcycle ministry, which I longer consider myself a member, for over 10 years. And during that years I participated in this ministry did see much Jesus there. Only true- believer in Christ Jesus beware, a name is only a name.
    God bless, Nelson C.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I completely understand where you are coming from. For I was a member of a well known Christian motorcycle ministry for the 10 years. While I was part of that ministry I did not see much of Jesus there.All riders for the Lord beware, a namevis only a name.
    God bless, Nelson C.

    ReplyDelete