The Biker Pastor: Dennis Enriquez

Jesus said His followers should go to the highways and the byways to reach the lost, and that's exactly what Foursquare Pastor Dennis Enriquez is doing. His new church is reaching the biker community in California's Antelope Valley.

A classic rock motorcycle anthem has been given a redemptive twist through a unique Foursquare ministry in California’s Antelope Valley. “Head out on the highway,” the rallying cry of Steppenwolf’s time-honored hit, “Born to Be Wild,” has become the outreach strategy of The Edge Biker Church, a Foursquare church plant in Rosamond, Calif.

Led by Harley Davidson Road King-riding pastor Dennis Enriquez and his wife, Lydia, members of the fledgling congregation regularly hit the highway not only looking for adventure, as Steppenwolf urged, but also to find the lost Jesus spoke of in the parable of the great banquet, in Luke 14.

“It’s a huge mission field,” says Pastor Dennis, an ordained Foursquare minister and divisional superintendent of the High Desert Division #2 (PCV), the area of which is home to several thousand bikers. “He said we should go out into the highways and byways, so that’s what we do; we go to where the bikers are.”

That includes biker events, where Edge members hand out bottles of water; informal ride-alongs, where they get to meet other two-wheel enthusiasts; and popular eating spots.

“We’ll sometimes go to eat at a biker bar and grill, have a time of fellowship, and then invite them to come to church later that evening,” Dennis explains.

Services are held on Saturday evenings because Sundays are usually riding time. The accommodating schedule is not the only way The Edge shows that it understands the biker world. The first thing visitors see when they pull up at the small church is a row of motorcycle parking spots out front.

“They’ll park anywhere, but when you actually have a spot for them, that speaks volumes,” says the pastor regarding the church’s forecourt. “A lot of people comment on that.”

The patio and motorcycle parking area was donated, laid and marked out by a local contractor when Dennis and a small group from The Edge (Lancaster Westside Foursquare Church) in Lancaster—his primary church about 10 miles away—launched The Edge Biker Church plant last October.

An American flag and POW/MIA banner fly outside the building—a former Foursquare church that had been dormant for some time—acknowledging the strong veteran makeup of the biker community. There is a motorcycle mounted near the entrance, and offerings are collected in a repurposed gas tank rather than a traditional plate or bag. The music tends to be “a bit louder,” says Dennis, but other than that, church meetings are the same as elsewhere.

“We come before the Lord, we lay down our gifts, we worship,” says Pastor Dennis. “Then we have a message that is the same [as any church]: We want people to grow in Christ and to be captured by what He is doing in their lives. To know that their past is their past, and that God has a future and a purpose for them. That doesn’t change, whoever they are.”

Around 200 people turned out when The Edge Biker Church kicked off with a concert featuring Christian blues legend Darrell Mansfield. Since then, weekly attendance has averaged 40 to 50, with some non-biker attendees. Dennis expects numbers to grow in the spring and summer, when more riders head out on the roads again.

“We have a great mix of people,” he says. “Some are believers who never really found their place in another church, for whatever reason. Others are brand-new Christians. Sometimes, you’ll hear a few choice words from them as they describe their week or day, but we just love on them the way they are.”

The Edge Biker Church is an extension of the Lancaster church Dennis has led for the past four years; he previously planted two other congregations in the Antelope Valley. Around 300 people attend the church in Lancaster each week, meeting in a former popular bar acquired last year.

“It’s just something that the Lord put on our hearts,” says Pastor Dennis of the biker church that brings together his near-30 years of ministry and 15-plus years of riding. “We felt that we needed to offer a church that is designed for bikers, from the parking spaces outside to the inside. We’ve had some great support, and it has been such a blessing to see the way God has been moving.”

The outreach emphasis is relational.

“We want to show that we understand them and their love for their bikes, and that we can be people who understand their needs, too,” Dennis says. “We are seeing families restored in the church.”

By: Andy Butcher, a freelance writer in the Orlando, Fla., area

is a freelance writer living in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
Advertisement

Leave a Reply