Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How We Got Here: The Story of our Mission - Part 1

Six years ago, my wife and I were still recovering from the effects of a very bad decision that I had made. We had survived the time apart while I was in jail, and after a couple of years had managed to put our marriage back together and rebuild some of the trust that had been lost. Ministry was the farthest thing from our minds, all we could think of was rebuilding what we could of our lives and getting things as close to "normal" as we could get. I had resigned myself to being a supporter of other ministries, after all, I was "disqualified" from ministry, wasn't I? I was sure I had to be, so my wife and I accepted our lot as those who would work normal jobs, go to church, and support others in their work.

It seemed, however, that no matter how much I wanted to just be a bench-warmer, and watch others doing Kingdom work, I just couldn't hide in the shadows. Our church began experimenting with a new cooperative leadership model where the congregation and the elder board worked together on making decisions, and I was somehow talked into being one of the leaders of the congregational group and being a sort of go between with the church elders. One of the first decisions that the newly formed congregational leadership had to make was on allowing a group of bikers to use our facilities to start a biker-church. Since I was the only member of the group who owned a motorcycle, I was the natural choice to be the group spokesman to the bikers.

After quite a bit of discussion, and not a little concern, the group did decide to allow the bikers to use our facilities, and I spent some time talking with them about the kinds of work they were involved with. Through our discussion, my wife and I discovered that there was a need for warm clothing to be given to the poor and homeless so we went through our closets and made a pile of coats and warm cloths. Then we made some calls to a few of our friends and by the end of the day, our entire couch was covered with coats, warm clothing, and blankets. We called the bikers up and told them we had a pile of stuff for them and invited them over for dinner. Then came the invitation, "why don't you come down to the park with us this Saturday and help hand these out?" Well, I guess that seemed harmless enough, just handing out clothes and blankets, I guess I could do that.

That Saturday was one of the coldest days I can remember for a while. more than a hundred homeless people lined up to get a couple slices of pizza and a cup of coco. A half a dozen volunteers passed out the food and then the clothing, between stomping their feet and rubbing their hands to keep warm. I got tasked serving what was really warm coco out of a large cooler, and every time I spilled the coco on my hands it began to freeze almost immediately. I was not having much fun at all, I was cold and all I could think about was going home to my warm fireplace, then I noticed the bikers, they had ridden to the park, in below zero weather, and they were cheerily handing out clothes and talking with the people who came. I Asked one of the bikers about this, and he simply said "we experience a little discomfort, and it reminds us that those we are serving here don't get to go to a warm home after this". Ouch, talk about God knowing your heart, and rebuking you through someone who had no idea.

Despite myself, I did go the next week, in fact, I actually began to like going to the park with the bikers. I started building relationships with the people we were serving, and before I knew it, I even took my motorcycle to the park at least on the warmer days. Before I really realized it, they were giving me a patch and a riding nickname. Just a little more than five years ago, I became "FedEx" of the Men of Praise Motorcycle Ministry, a pretty normal guy who was just starting to see a new world of ministry, and who was completely clueless about the incredible journey that was just beginning.


"Charity" on Incarnating Love: The Story of our Mission - Part 4

What Have We Found Here: The Story of Our Mission - Part 3

What Are We Doing Here: the Story of Our Mission - Part 2

How We Got Here: The Story of our Mission - Part 1 

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