Consider Starting a Motorcycle Ministry
When you see dozens of roaring, smoke-belching motorbikes gliding in rough formation down a local main street, with riders decked out in leather vests, blue jeans, custom helmets, and their massive bikes gleaming with chrome and gold emblems — what comes to your mind? Most step back in shock and surprise. What Bro. Fred Beall, director and founder of Azuza StreetRiders apostolic motorcycle club, sees are souls and an opportunity to be a witness for the truth.
“Sometimes people respond like, ‘Motorcycle ministry, what’s that?’” said Bro. Beall. “And when we say apostolic motorcycle ministry, they’ll say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding! Bikers are all beards, tattoos, wife-beater t-shirts and worse!’ They must think we force people at gunpoint to be baptized in Jesus’ name!”
The Azuza StreetRiders club was formed in 1999 in Myrtle Beach, SC, as a true apostolic outreach to the biker-world. Bro. Beall feels that most people have a wrong impression when it comes to today’s large motorcycling crowd. He cautions pastors to stay open-minded about the potential ministry. “Look around, pastor, it’s not anything like the ‘Easy Rider ‘60s,’” he said. “You’ll see that motorcycles are mainstream and here to stay. Like other recreation enthusiasts, bikers come from all walks of life and span the socioeconomic spectrum. The ‘lost’ of this world can be found everywhere and bikers need Jesus, too. Perhaps there’s an effective motorcycle ministry for you and/or your church members, ready for birthing.”
Many feel that motorcycle evangelism is a ministry whose time has come. Bro. Beall urges pastors to ask themselves, “Do I have saints who came out of a ‘hard core’ biking culture? Or businessmen in my congregation who ride on good-weather weekends?” Perhaps you’re a closet biker and nobody knows. Regardless, the time is right to start an outreach program in your city.
“The motorcycle is one of the greatest door-opening tools imaginable,” said Bro. Beall. “Combine motorcycles with eye-catching back patches emblazoned with Acts 2:38 on leather jackets and you have a powerful formula to witness for Christ and apostolic truth.” Recently, he received an e-mail from a rider who had just sewn on a Christian-themed back patch and was immediately given the opportunity to witness.
“We are Azuza StreetRiders, the apostolic motorcycle ministry of Jesus Christ. People actually stop us in public places and ask, ‘What is Azuza?’ or ‘What does Acts 2:38 say?’ Those doors are wide open, with people waiting on us to tell them what the Bible says is needed for salvation.”
It’s a ministry that pastors often enjoy, as well as saints. “Every time we ride and put on our back patch, we’re in ministry-mode,” said Bro. Beall. “Where there are many Azuza StreetRider members, we are actively involved in outreach to the biking communities. If there are only one or two members, simply riding is a form of ministry, again because of our back patch.”
There are several major biking events held around the country each year, and every state hosts numerous smaller motorcycle events during the warm weather season. These are key times to present the Gospel message, according to Beall. “Azuza StreetRiders is the world’s only Oneness apostolic motorcycle ministry club, yet there are over 900 Trinitarian motorcycle organizations…and we want to keep it that way! Together, if we don’t splinter like they did, we can accomplish much for Christ.” A motorbike also can be used for missions. For example, each year a motor scooter or motorcycle is given to a foreign missionary, thanks to the “Motorcycles for Missionaries” program.
Bro. Beall said it’s easy to start a motorcycle outreach in your local church. Just visit the club’s website at http://www.AzuzaStreetRiders.com, download the forms on the bottom of the “Membership” page to join. Just remember that pastoral approval is necessary. Or you can send an email to Bro. Fred Beall at: FBeall@AzuzaStreetRiders.com for more information.