My wife, Kathy, and I have been Christian motorcyclists since the 1970s. I would like to offer some thoughts to those who want to be involved in ministry to motorcyclists or who may already be engaged in this unique ministry.
Be prayed up and filled with the Holy Spirit. Before going out there, put on the full armor of God (see Eph. 6:10-18). Remember, a Christian going out to minister in the world is like a boat going into a huge and dangerous ocean. It’s OK as long as you don’t let the water (i.e., “the world”) come into your boat and sink you.
Don’t do it alone. Start out with others who have experience in this area. Just because you have a motorcycle and are a Christian, that doesn’t mean you are qualified to be out there to minister to bikers. If you head out without experience or some type of training, you may do more harm than good.
Realize you’re not going to “fix them” or save them right away. Most biker salvations that we’ve seen come after a long time of relationship- and trust-building. And it’s one-on-one. You need to meet them right where they are.
If you or your Christian riding group has an event, avoid having it take place while a secular motorcycle group or organization is having theirs. The idea is not to compete and do your own thing. The idea is to serve! Offer your services and volunteer to help with their events. Most of their events usually support worthwhile and charitable causes. Then, when you get ready to have your outreach event, they will likely respond by attending whatever you have to offer.
Be a good listener. If you gain their trust, they will begin to open up their minds and hearts. If you listen, they will feel that you care. Don’t look at your watch (most bikers don’t even wear one). Take whatever time it takes.
Do not judge them, their lifestyles or their habits. If they feel they are being judged, you will lose them. So, turn your burden for them over to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit work on them.
If you are serious about motorcycle outreach, you will go into situations and places that may make you feel uncomfortable by things you see and hear. If it’s too much, just find a way to politely excuse yourself and leave. Some of those places, however, have turned out to be exceptional divine appointments.
We’ve done bike blessings in packed bars, funerals in bars (along with a salvation message), anointed people for healing in bars, and had a salvation in a bar. If you get out there, let go and let God, He will open doors in unexpected places.
Expect that, in some churches, the pastor or congregation may not understand why you’re not in service on some Sunday mornings. Sunday is the day most motorcycling organizations have their events. For most bikers, it’s their only day off from work, and they want to ride. Remember, Jesus went to where He could reach the lost. Ask the pastor and congregation to pray for you. If you’re missing too much teaching on Sundays, attend midweek services.
Most bikers are unchurched and have no connection to clergy. A biker’s family may call you at 2 a.m., after the biker has gone down in a terrible accident. You may be called at any time when a biker is drunk or under the influence of drugs. He or she may be seeking help and prayer. If it is something beyond prayer that you cannot handle or are not qualified for, be prepared to refer him or her to a qualified person or service.
Bikers have a lot of the same needs we do. These are acceptance, love, mercy, compassion and genuine care. His or her soul is just as valuable as yours or anyone else’s. Be honest, straightforward, and don’t skirt the issues. Don’t promise anything you can’t, or don’t intend to, act on.
You cannot assume responsibility for the biker’s life. Eventually, God may open the door for you to pray with the biker. God will let you know when he or she is ready.
Tom Provenzano and his wife, Kathy, are Foursquare specialized chaplains, and they both serve as assisting ministers at Hope of God’s Glory (Fort Myers Central Foursquare Church) in Florida. Tom is also founder and director of Messiah’s Messengers Motorcycle Ministry, an outreach ministry of the church.