Protocol and Politics in Christian Clubs
We see the Christian Motorcycle Club and MM scene for what it is; a group of brothers and (sometimes) sisters in the Lord who love to ride, fellowship, serve their communities, and share their faith. Secular and Christian clubs are growing at a rapid rate with new ones popping up all the time. I think the most important thing for people thinking about starting a new organization, is to search their hearts for the true motives for starting a new group or club, as opposed to becoming involved in something that is already established.
Starting from the ground up is not an easy task. Secular club protocol must be followed to the letter and it doesn’t end there. There are ongoing politics involved that you had better be ready for, with both the secular clubs as well as the other CMC’s. There are also bylaws to be written and adopted, as well as standing rules and thorough screening of potential members. These things are just the tip of the iceberg.
One troublesome thing I should point out for new or expanding charters is that some Christian clubs have actually taken on an attitude of territorialism, even becoming possessive of their “turf”. There can be good reasons for this as well as bad. Many established CMC’s have put in the hard work of networking their communities and are leery of newcomers who they know nothing about, coming in and tarnishing the precious name of our Lord by being bad or even phony “ambassadors for Christ”. This can set progress back and destroy relationships that are so fragile to begin with. I understand being protective of the fruits of our labors, but when territorialism becomes a “club mentality” thing I’m afraid that the CMC is drifting into dangerous waters. We must remember that the world is watching us and we must always question our motives and behavior in order to keep ourselves in check!
I think the proper, fair and respectful procedure, is for a new CMC to arrange for a “sit down” with the dominant MC in their area. This is standard operating procedure (although easier said than done). But also, it is respectful to introduce any new Christian club to the other CMC(s) already established in the area as well, and to be an open book about who you are and what you are about. All new secular MC’s have to do the same thing with the dominant secular club/s so why should Christian orgs ignore protocol with the established MC’s and CMC’s that have already paid their dues and earned their respect and privileges? And it doesn’t necessarily begin and end there. It takes a great amount of thought, prayer and effort. And for us Christians, when it comes to moving into a new area or starting a new charter, we have to “come in” with respect, through protocol, or we will simply be trampling the crops we came to harvest!
Overall, most of the CMC’s we have come across in our travels have been God-fearing, fun-loving, people who are happy to meet you and are willing to share what they have. They have been very supportive. But there have been a few who have actually threatened physical harm and even vandalized property to discourage another CMC from coming into their area. I know this because it has happened to us!
We have had enemies and we have prayed for them, as difficult as it is, but that’s what the Word teaches us to do. We leave vengeance to the Lord and go about the business we have been called to do. God will deal with those who come against His anointed. I never thought I would be writing about this topic but it is a factor that can’t be ignored because we have experienced it first hand. At times, we have been blessed by outlaws and cursed by Christians, go figure! I am happy to report that this is not overly common.
Whether we like it or not there will be protocol and politics in every social endeavor of life and we, as “Believers” in the mission field, will need to be shrewd as a serpents but harmless as doves (Matt 10:16), “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves …”