More than a Motorcycle Ride

motorcycleThe roar of revved up motorcycles is deafening. A few dozen men, adorned in leathers and bandanas, are primed for a ride on their hogs. Curious residents in Hawley, Minnesota-a quiet bedroom community of 2,000 just 22 miles from Fargo, North Dakota-peek through blinds and step out on porches to see the cause of the ruckus taking place at Hawley Alliance Church.

The bikers, 80 percent of whom are unchurched, are part of an Alliance outreach that began as an innocent Sunday motorcycle cruise. “One of our church members, Bob Aldrich, came to me and suggested that we go for a ride on a Sunday afternoon,” says Steve Chamberlain, who pastors the church. “Another member, Jeff Downer, picked up on the idea and suggested inviting people.” Within a month, a trip was formalized as an event: invitations were sent to Hawley residents. Participants would ride 100 miles, eat lunch, and ride back.

Hawlin’ Bike

“In the church parking lot, Jeff gathered the bikers with their bikes into a circle. ‘Come on over,’ he told them. ‘We’re going to start off in prayer.’ The bikers joined in, and then the procession was off.”

The motorcycle outreach has evolved from the first ride to a regular event. Jeff and other church members who lead the ride record participants’ names in order to stay in contact. “As of now, 110 names are on the list,” Steve says. “Every time a ride is planned, everyone on the list receives an invitation. We have five rides planned for this summer.”

Open Hearts

At least 30 bikers have been visiting the church and are fully accepted by the congregation. “One man began attending church, and then his wife joined him,” Steve says. “She has recommitted her life to Christ.”

One couple in church, who wanted to contribute to the ministry, offered their lake home as destination. A meal is served at no cost; the atmosphere is genuine. There is no pressure to talk, but the bikers are open. “Now it’s more than a ride,” says Steve. “We sit on the lawn, talk, and the men ask questions about God. The turnout is excellent. We average about 30 bikes per ride with two people per bike.”

It’s about Community

Bob also organized a five-day men’s motorcycle run to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The event was attended by nine men, four of whom were from church. “They had devotions each night,” Steve says. “The guys gave prayer requests, and we were able to minister to their lives.”

Word is getting out about the motorcycle runs. The most recent trip was attended by 18 men, who knew that nightly prayer was part of the package. “Wow, we get to pray with these guys,” Steve rejoices. “The church guys love this. And we’re not even a motorcycle community!”

Learn More

Read about other U.S. Alliance church outreaches on the gochurch link.


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