REACHING - TRAINING - BUILDING
Christian Motorcycle Ministries, Associations, Riding Clubs, and M.C.’s have been in existence since the 1970’s. There are currently over a hundred different Christian groups.
Names like: Bikers for Christ, Black Sheep HDFC, Christian Crusaders, Christ’s Disciples, CMA, Soldiers for Jesus, Sons of God, Tribe of Judah, HonorBound and others – have been around for many years and have paid their dues to earn the respect of the motorcycle public.
New groups pop up frequently as churches realize that they have members that have a common interest “Jesus Christ and motorcycles” and they decide to start a club or ministry.
The problems come when well meaning Christians are not very educated in motorcycle club protocol’ as some MC’s are not happy about seeing so many ‘new mom and pop ‘ church clubs with new patches on the road. Many new Christian motorcycle groups end up changing their designs, colors, etc. ‘ as they learn (the hard way) what offends the MC’s.
Most Christian groups have different types of rules, codes of behavior, and focuses. Some have patches that can be bought. Most ministries will not give membership without a thorough screening of applicants. Christian MC’s have a prospect period. There are varying rules and regulations. Some forbid public social drinking of alcohol ‘ others allow it. You need to read their charters or hang out with them to know the differences.
The Riding Clubs vary greatly (some with one piece patches, some with just t-shirts). They are designed primarily for fellowship and to hone their riding skills together with others. Fellowship Riders actually sells a package course to churches on ‘how to develop a successful church motorcycle riding club’. www.fellowshipriders.com
I will give you a brief description of a few groups to understand the differences. Please take into consideration ‘ that the ones listed below are groups that I personally know and interact with frequently. All of the groups below have specific rules of Christian conduct, and may deal with violations of such differently. Some are lenient ‘ others are more strict. Again ‘ experience is usually the best teacher.
While many think all Christian motorcycle groups are the same Motorcycle Ministries vary greatly. The one thing that they all have in common is a strong Christian faith and their love for motorcycling.
The CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) has been around since the 1970’s. CMA is the largest Christian group with a logged membership of over 100,000 members’ these numbers include tens of thousands of active members. Their members wear a patch with praying hands and a bible. They combine fellowship, evangelism and different types of ministries: Prayer Teams, Jail Ministry teams, Children’s Ministry Teams, etc. CMA is thought of by many – as a ministry that does a lot of good works’ as they reach out internationally ‘ with their ‘Run for the Son’ rally. This event raises literally millions of dollars, which they use to purchase small motorcycles for missionaries in remote areas, thousands of Christian films, bibles, and use the rest to help with domestic evangelism. Any Christian man or woman can join CMA and be a member. Those who wish to wear the CMA back patch ‘ must go through an extensive correspondence ministry course, and serve in one of the ministry teams. You can find out more about them by checking out their website: www.cmausa.org <http://www.cmausa.org/>;
Bikers for Christ is also one of the larger international motorcycle ministries with thousands of active members . BFC began in 1990. Membership is not easy to attain ‘ as applicants are thoroughly screened. They also must have church and pastor references (which are checked out). BFC members wear a two piece patch, that includes a bible, a sword, and upswept wings. BFC’s primary focus is evangelism (while they of course enjoy riding and fellowship). The members seek to use their motorcycles as tools to open doors with others. They rumble around the country sharing the gospel with ‘all’ types of people ‘ street people, normal folks, motorcycle riders and hard-core bikers (and their families). BFC members also minister in jails and juvenile halls, and many chapters hold regional benefit rallies to bless disabled young people and downed bikers. BFC members are very active in the COC and NCOM. www.bikersforchrist.org <http://www.bikersforchrist.org/>;
Black Sheep HDFC (Harley Davidsons for Christ) is one of the younger organizations (since 2002 ‘) ‘ but they are going quickly across the U.S. (because of their targeted audience ‘ H.O.G.) and also will have an international scope . Black Sheep is all about fellowship, riding, and sharing their faith as well. They fly a one piece patch with a knight in armor, and a banner that proclaims ‘Jesus is Lord’. Their specific focus is on evangelism and ministering to H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) members and their families. www.blacksheephdfc.org <http://www.blacksheephdfc.org/>;
One of the most well respected Christian Motorcycle Clubs is:
Soldiers for Jesus. They’ve been around since the 1980’s and are also an international group. They run a yellow and black, three piece patch that has a bible, star of David, with two crossed Calvary swords. They also wear an M.C. patch. Soldiers for Jesus operates like a true M.C. ‘ with mandatory meetings and runs. SFJ membership includes a hang-around period, prospect period, then after they earn the right ‘ the brothers become full members. Soldiers for Jesus reach out to many different types of people ‘ but zero in on the MC’s ‘ and do a great job of reaching many with the Gospel message. SFJ also has thousands of members internationally. SFJ is also very involved in the COC and NCOM. www.soldiersforjesusmc.com
It is the earnest prayer of valid Christian motorcycle groups to reach out with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to some who are lost, hurting, and dying on the highways and byways of planet earth. Many Christians volunteer to help at various motorcycle events and seek to serve the motorcycle community.
There are also many licensed, or ordained Christian motorcycle ministers in different groups who will perform weddings, funerals, and counseling for motorcyclists in need of such things’
With Love and Respect, Pastor Z. BFC Intl HQ (John 3:16-17)
HonorBound Motorcycle Ministry is the national motorcycle ministry of the Assemblies of God. HBMM was originally founded by Chaplain Russ and Judy Cockrum. Although it had originally a three piece patch and operating in a few states, Russ and Judy allowed it to be changed to a one piece patch and to become the national motorcycle ministries patch of the AG. HBMM is a church based motorcycle ministry. Where many Christian motorcycle ministries and/or clubs do not require regular attendance in a local church, HBMM requires that a pastor endorse the members as faithfull attenders and supporters of the local church. The local HBMM chapter comes under the authority of the local church leadership just as any other ministry of that church. National motorcycle chaplains provide oversight for the ministry. HBMM requires higher standards for membership than many other groups. We require that members take a course teaching them how to do evangelism and that they be drug, alchohol, and tobacco free before getting the patch and while keeping the patch. HBMM’s goals are to REACH bikers and motorcyclists with the gospel, to TRAIN Christian motorcyclists in evangelism and discipleship, and to BUILD a network of churches who are enthusiastic about this unusual ministry.
HBMM’s patch includes a center section with three nails forming a cross in front of a crown of thorns. At the top the name, “HonorBound” and the bottom says “Disciple of Jesus Christ.” Both men and women wear the same patch.
Addendum by R. Duane Gryder, AGUSM Motorcycle Chaplain HBMM