The deep rumble of Harley-Davidson engines … the flashing reflection of sun on chrome … a sea of leather vests and jackets … those are everyday sights and sounds for Tom and Kathy Provenzano. Formerly a public-school science teacher and now a licensed Foursquare minister and a hospital/hospice chaplain, Tom, and his wife, Kathy, a medical social worker, are founders of Messiah’s Messengers Motorcycle Ministry, a Christian motorcycle organization whose focus is outreach to bikers.
A motorcycle aficionado since youth, Tom, together with Kathy, joined the Sarasota Christian Cycle Club in the mid 1970s. This particular club was mainly focused on fellowship, rather than outreach and evangelism. Years went by, and there was a season when they did not ride—and then in 1999, things changed. The Provenzanos bought a bike and joined an evangelistic motorcycle ministry. Tom became a road captain, and the couple organized the first-ever Lee County Church Crash, an outreach event for bikers.
As time went on, Tom sensed the Lord giving him fresh vision for motorcycle ministry. In 2003, he contacted an old friend, Scott Blink. Unbeknownst to Tom, Scott, who had come out of a biker lifestyle, now was senior pastor of the Ft. Myers, Fla. Foursquare church. Scott and his wife, Sue, told Tom and Kathy that the congregation recently had received a prophecy: A couple would be bringing an outreach ministry to bikers to the church. Thus, Messiah’s Messengers Motorcycle Ministry was born.
Today, the ministry hosts a variety of events geared to biker outreach that run the gamut from bimonthly Biker Bible Cafés in the Provenzanos’ home to the now-annual Lee County Church Crash, an outreach that includes an evangelistic message, food, the “Slow Race Championship of the Universe,” trike games, a “Nice Bike” show and more.
“Most of the people who come to the Church Crash are unsaved,” Tom said. In the past, we’ve had two or three hundred bikers show up.” The entry fee for the yearly event is an affordable $5 per person, and all donations are given to local biker families who are in need.
As a Foursquare hospital chaplain, Tom finds numerous opportunities to minister to bikers. On occasion, he, and sometimes Kathy, spends hours in emergency rooms and/or trauma units, praying for bikers who have been involved in accidents. He also serves as chaplain for two ABATE chapters (ABATE is a not-for-profit, social membership-driven, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to preserving motorcyclists’ freedom of choice and freedom of the road). In addition, Tom officiates at numerous biker weddings and funerals.
Meanwhile, the ministry of Messiah’s Messengers continues to expand. In May 2008, the Blinks resigned the Ft. Myers pastorate and have assumed a more active involvement in Messiah’s Messengers. In November, Scott received endorsement as a Foursquare chaplain. Through Bill Glass’ Champions for Life prison ministry, Scott brings motorcycles into the prison yards, providing inmates with a point of interest and enabling a subsequent springboard for evangelism.
Though it is involved with a variety of organizations, Messiah’s Messengers remains Foursquare at heart. The Messiah’s Messengers leather vests Tom and Kathy wear bear a replica of the Foursquare flag on the back, and Tom and Kathy’s trike has been christened Sister Aimee 2 (the first Sister Aimee bike has been retired from service). In much the same spirit as when Foursquare founder Aimee Semple McPherson traveled the U.S., Messiah’s Messengers continues its active outreach. As Tom wrote in an open letter to ABATE members, “We just can’t help sharing the love of motorcycling, our love of God and His creation with YOU!”