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The Deep, Dark Aroma of the gospel

 

Sherri Brown/Communications, GBC

Royal Baptist Church members Gary and Becky Leggett pause for prayer during a commissioning service for a new chapter of F.A.I.T.H. Riders, a national motorcycle ministry.

Sherri Brown/Communications, GBC

NEWNAN — Black leather and chrome were in abundance at Royal Baptist Church on a recent Sunday night as dozens of motorcycle-riding Christians gathered to be commissioned to use their bikes as a witnessing and ministry tool.

“It started with three or four guys with bikes who realized that they could use their hobby for ministry,” said Danny Karr, Royal Baptist’s children’s minister and motorcycle enthusiast. “Whenever you ride your bike, people talk to you about it. It became an opportunity to share Jesus.”

Karr also realized it could be a tool to pull families together.

“There’d be 25 or 30 people that would take their kids and their dirt bikes out for a day. We’d cook out and have good family time. It opened lots of doors,” he said.

As the population of motorcycle owners grew within the church, Karr and others began to look for a way to make bikers an official ministry arm of the church. They found it in F.A.I.T.H. Riders, a national motorcycle ministry made up of “dedicated believers committed to the cause of Christ and to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ on and with their motorcycles to any who will listen.”

“We’re about Jesus, but also about the deep dark aroma of leather,” said Buddy Newsome, national director of F.A.I.T.H. Riders. Newsome, a member of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., helped start the ministry in 2002.

“We exist to share the saving gospel of Jesus Christ intentionally and unapologetically to all who have yet to accept Him and to build up the body of Christ through worship, fellowship, discipleship, and serving,” he said.

Motorcycle riders and GBC ministry resource consultants Phil Pilgrim and George Barnett are available to help churches set up F.A.I.T.H. Riders chapters. Because of your gifts to the Cooperative Program, promotional material and manuals are available at no cost to the first 50 churches that set up a F.A.I.T.H. Riders chapter.

For information, contact Pilgrim at (770) 253-1014 or at ppilgrim@gabaptist.org or George Barnett at (706) 275-9299 or at gbarnett@gabaptist.org. For information about F.A.I.T.H. Riders, see the website www.faithriders.com.

 

You and your church may send your Cooperative Program gifts to:

Dr. J. Robert White
Executive Director, GBC
6405 Sugarloaf Parkway,
Duluth, GA 30097

The original group opened up the ministry to others and it quickly spread. Currently there are 43 chapters and four affiliates in 10 states. The majority of the churches are Southern Baptist and the Georgia Baptist Convention is an affiliate.

Royal Baptist was the first chapter commissioned in Georgia with Liberty Hill Church in Hampton, following two weeks later.

Mike Patterson, pastor of Liberty Hill Baptist, has been riding on two wheels for 40 years.

“The associate pastor and I both ride motorcycles. We talked about getting something going at the church and F.A.I.T.H. Riders was what we were looking for,” Patterson said.

The organization sets the church up as home base for a ministry. It was the perfect fit for the Hampton church.

“We’ve got a lot of church members who have sons that ride motorcycles, but don’t attend church. They feel disenfranchised from the church. We’re hoping to use motorcycles as something we all identify with, building it up with fellowship and an expression of faith,” said Patterson, who rides a green Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic.

The church has made plans to start a bikers Sunday School class, with designated motorcycle parking. They will also have fellowship meetings with Christian bands and free food, as well as guest speakers for bikers. Other fellowship meetings will be held at local restaurants and the church will sponsor at least four organized bike trips each year.

“We’re looking at this as intentional outreach,” Patterson said.

 

Sherri Brown/Communications, GBC

Phil Pilgrim, left, ministry resource consultant in the west central region, waits for the beginning of the commissioning service with F.A.I.T.H. Riders national director Buddy Newsome, right.

Sherri Brown/Communications, GBC