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.

47 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...

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  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.

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  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....

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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    1. Amen thankm yoi for being the help for us sinners because we need it and God needs us

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  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.

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

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  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.

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

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  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.

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    1. Sounds like a similar experience. Peace :)

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

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  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.

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  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.

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    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.

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    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

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    3. I know that HSMM accepts women as members.

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    4. My name is Shellie Creasy and I am the international women's leader for the HSMM. Feel free to contact me at ladysainthsmm@yahoo.com if you have questions regarding women in this ministry. To the gentleman who wrote this article, I am sorry that your experience was such. Sadly, that happens in all churches, all ministries...not just M/M. Articles with a general sweep like this really hurt those of us who are doing the things that you said these weren't. It's discouraging to those that really ARE about the Fathers business. Just my thoughts. Be blessed.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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?

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    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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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

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  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

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

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  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.

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  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

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    1. Everything you said is also what I saw. It's a club, not a ministry.

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  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.

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  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.

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  26. Well said. I spent 5 yrs wearing a patch that i recently laid down for much the same reasons you pointed out. You can not minister to people if you are afraid of getting some on you. The kicker is they feel it. Smell that condescension like a burnt clutch. And why would they want any of that.

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  27. I am with CMA and can see some of what you say here, but if you don't like it change it. It is what you make of it. To condemn an organization because of a couple of bad experiences is wrong and seems more non-christian than Christian. I have been to Laconia a number of times and there is a large CMA presence there and I have to say I have never seen them hang out in large groups. You would see 2 perhaps 3 walking around together having conversations with people, exactly what we are to do. In the end we just need to love on each other and put differences aside.

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  28. The cause of all of the above is a heart problem. People that do not have a correct theology, a correct view of what we are. We are sinners that only by the Grace of God are not living a totally depraved life. We are no better than the worst of sinners (as the Apostle Paul wrote of himself). All people are to be treated with dignity, love a respect as they are created in God's image. Secondly, there is the problem of two kingdom theology where we believe that there can still be the Christian / secular divide. If you are a Christian you must be salt and light everywhere, to everyone at all times. This is true whether you are a biker, tattoo artist, piano player or soccer mom. You are a Christian that happens to be one of these things. You are a Christian first, no matter your geographical location. Thirdly, there are a lot of legalistic interpositions from pharisaical. Lastly, many are trying to straddle the fence where there is none. You cannot serve two masters. Christ is King, this is His world, we form a part of His Kingdom and have been order to go to the nations - all of them. We are not called to be separated physically but spiritually. We are to live among them without being contaminated by them. We are to reflect His glory and not seek our own.

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  29. The best ministry I have had is over a beer! http://prophetsMC.org

    The guys above preaching their beliefs should not be bikers.

    I always hang out with the 1% ers.

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  30. This is very close to My heart.

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  31. I appreciate your article. I came from the dark side of the motorcycle world. Actually I came from the dark side of the world and it happened that I rode a bike with a group of guys. I am an alcoholic and many of my comrades were junkies. I am confident that many who have been saved by God's grace from the MC world have some type of addiction. So being in the presence of Christians drinking or using is not a good idea. What I was looking for before I got saved was something different, not something that resembles as closely as possible the life I was already in and that was not working out so hot. To that point I would like to offer a different perspective/point of view. When a non-believer who is truly searching for answers sees a person who claims to be a Christian partaking in the same activities that he is, it is interpreted as hypocritical. I am so unclear how Christians got the impression that, in order to attract the non -believer, we must act as much like them as possible.? I had already mastered that walk of life and wanted to know if there was anything better. If your only answer is, see, our life is not that much different than yours, I was not interested. Conversely, if I saw you riding and at a campfire and you were willing to talk to me, and you were not using or drinking and still having a good time, that would have peaked my interest. Jesus was among the sinners but was never recorded as living like them or trying to pull them in with a lifestyle that was like theirs. The message from Jesus is, I love you and want to save you from eternal death, but it will cost you everything! Your life will no longer be yours. It was bought for a price. I expect you to be completely different in every way. The world needs to see the difference I have made in you. Some will be attracted and others will reject you just as they did me. Do not conform to this world but be set apart. I believe our goal should be to look as different from the world as possible not as much like the world as we can. I agree that those in the club you referred too should have been mingling about for sure. But I would challenge you brother on the alcohol. You certainly may have the freedom to drink and I am not disagreeing with that, but if you cause a brother to stumble..? God speaks directly to that one.

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  32. I am not a biker. I have a couple of friends who are in biker Christian clubs, that's what drew me to this. I am a believer saved out of a harsh life style. I have a need for fellowship with people who believe like I do. The Bible says not to forsake fellowship with believers. I find more true believers in fellowships like AA than in church. I need the "iron sharpens iron" fellowship that only comes with true believers. I haven't found a church that meets that need. I also involve myself in other out reach ministry with un-believers. Seperately. I need all the "one another" stuff that fellowship with believers offers, encouragement, edification, prayer, etc. If I were a biker, I would really appreciate that fellowship with true believers. It's getting harder and harder to find true believers, so when you can find it, that fellowship is sweeter and sweeter. So often I find myself in fellowship with people who I think are true believers then find out they really don't believe what the Bible says about this or that, it's really disappointing. Recently we had a family from another state come to visit for a week, camped in our yard. The fellowship was great. I believe the Bible completely, and so do they! It was greatly encouraging and uplifting. I think as the time grows near that kind of fellowship will become more dear and sweet, and rare. And it's so necessary in the life of a believer. So very rare! Others are drawn to the love we have as believers for one another, giving natural opportunities for ministry. There is no greater JOY than leading someone to Faith in Jesus Christ. If we are willing, He will use us to minister to others.

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