A New Ministry Approach “Under The Radar for Jesus”
By Lou Steel
PART I: TIME FOR SOMETHING NEW
I was born in California, into a military family. I started Kindergarten in Munich, Germany and spent all my High School years in Rome, Italy in the 60s. I have traveled throughout the US and visited almost every country in Europe. I started riding motorbikes and scooters like many of us, at an early age. I rode all over the hills of Italy on so many ancient cobblestone streets. By the early 1970s we were back in the states and I was riding a Norton Commando which I had put together from an old basket case. I also had a Bultaco 250 and took to the California hills.
Fast forward to the late 90s. In 1998 I became an insufferable Christian Convert “Jesus Freak”. Soon afterward, I began praying for God to lead me to a “serious” ministry. Now, fast-forwarding again to 2020, I find myself deeply entrenched in an International Motorcycle Club filled with mature born-again “believers”. I am a cofounder and the Int’l President. We have everything from Doctors, Veterans and X-Cons among our ranks. How I got to this unlikely point is a story for another day. All I can say now is that, over many decades, I became obviously and powerfully drawn to the motorcycle culture with a “vengeance”.
As I pursued my interest in the California MC lifestyle as a Christian, I found being a basic “independent biker” (whether Christian or not) can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. Then, if you start thinking about joining a club? Ouch, things just got more complicated! Then, if you bring ministry into the mix of biker clubs, things start getting really interesting. Like: “Who the ‘blank’ are you guys? Who’d you go through?” “Are you a club, a ministry or what?” “We don’t want any more ‘Christian clubs’, there’s too many now!” “You guys are all liars and hypocrites!” “Oh, so you’re a Club?’ “Who blessed you in and don’t say God or we may just kick your teeth in!” (All real deal quotes!). Hmmm, things just got even more intense! It can be gut wrenching. There are a lot of dues and dangers involved and, that’s fine! But when you get members beat down and an eyeball kicked out of their head it gets a lot tougher.
In addition, there can (and have been) threats against your wife, shooting your dog and burning your house. Those threats can cause the toughest of hombres to swallow a little hard! What’s next; fists, knives, guns? Oh, that’s real Christian-like! But, these things are real deals. Mud-checks do happen. They are unpleasant and can provoke violence in a heartbeat. But, what I’m saying here is it doesn’t have to be that way! MMs, MCs and CMCs aren’t the only way to minister and become known and trusted within the biker culture. For one thing, not everyone will fit into the Christian MC mold! It may be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole! The whole Christian Club scene is not as easy as it may seem, even if the Good Lord has your flank and the Holy Spirit is printing tracks as fast as possible and Father God has your six covered by Jesus Himself. It’s spiritual warfare in a physical realm. And I have no clue how all that interacts.
There are just too many intervening variables! If you are drawn to prayer, you are going in exactly the right direction. We pray by blind faith and the Lord reckons our prayers of faith as righteousness. He then provides the best outcome. The Apostle Paul learned to pray “unceasingly”, why, because he found that God heard and answered his prayers.
Example Prayer: “Lord prepare the way, guide us through any snares and minefields the enemy might have set for us. Help us see and perceive any trips and traps against our efforts to serve you Lord God.” If you don’t pray for God’s help, direction and blessing, you are trusting in your own abilities and the odds of sheer luck. Well, after my involvement over a long period of time I started processing and analyzing the whole club culture/biker-world thing and trying to find another option to bring to the table for our fellow Christian bikers. It would be easier to put this all into a book rather than a magazine article! But I’m going to try anyway.
As the years passed, the analyzing and the learning never ceased. But the basics of our ministry has always remained in place. In addition to frequent prayer, always remember; when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone “simply keep the main deal the main deal”! CMA may not only be a pioneer of motorcycle ministries, but they were likely the first ones to use those words. Let the Holy Spirit and common sense lead the way. But do it gently and always with respect and compassion. Even a little humor can be helpful to set a nervous person at ease.
As we grow in our ministry desires, many of us want to do “it” in a bigger, maybe cooler or more challenging way, frequently with a “support crew” for a plethora of reasons, several of which are fellowship, security and brotherhood. But again, not everyone will fit the groove. There may be some humility learning, as well as training for the best chance of safety, success and satisfaction. You, me, nobody knows what they don’t know! Maybe a season for new options is overdue. We must often overcome a World of resistance out there before we can be safer and more effective. That may require some Tactical thinking. I have even read “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu seeking warfare tactics of ancient times which may jointly apply to the spiritual warfare of our current times. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our real enemy is in the Spiritual Realm and that “enemy” motivates resistance to good, which is manifested in the flesh, by evil men.
So, with that in mind, we took the dilemma to our Last Disciples “Think Tank”. How do we battle the real enemy? Well, maybe we need to add options to our usual tactics, to get through some of the hazards of our mission field. Yes, everything should be done through seeking wisdom and serious prayer! But, if we never try anything different, then maybe we are destined to getting the same results. We want more than the same results! This is becoming more urgent as time gets shorter. Is there a way to come in “under the radar” of all the politics and club mentalities? There may be another option.
Pick up the next edition to find out! See Part II!