The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by New Church Starts

by Ron Bell, Director of Congregational Development and SBC21 for Peninsula-Delaware Conference (and Path 1 Associate)

He’s well over 300 pounds, stands 6 feet 4 inches high, with a shaved head, thick long greyed beard, dark soulless sunglasses, pitch black leather attire and riding one of the biggest, loudest Harley Davidson motorcycles’ you’ve ever seen. Oh and, he’s a United Methodist pastor planting a new faith community of motorcycle enthusiasts, prostitutes, and drug addicts in a warehouse near you. That’s the good.

The Bad is that there is an entire population who regard themselves as the one percent. People who see themselves as being so evil, that only 1% of their souls are redeemable. They live on the fringes of your communities, some homeless, some in drug-riddled, poverty-infected housing. They abuse their bodies as tools for income and their built up rage and anger as fodder for grabbing the wealth of others. Many of them ride motorcycles. Many more simply stand on street corners or at the backs of seedy motels and abandoned buildings looking for their next fix. That’s the bad.

Here is the ugly. When we finally found a warehouse space that would meet the needs of this new faith community, it wasn’t the county officials or neighborhood leaders who objected or had concerns to their presence. It was the local United Methodist pastors. These seated pastors expressed frustration and confusion.  Being unclear about the goals and vision for this new ministry, they feared that this new ministry would pull members, divide donor loyalty and cast a long shadow on their already established ministry efforts in the community. This confusion and lack of clarity led to a special meeting that included district and conference leadership as well as the planter alongside these seated pastors. The goal of the meeting of the minds was to explain in ginger terms the mission and vision of this new biker ministry moving into their community. What had originally been perceived as ugly gave way to thoughtful and engaged dialogue about the importance of reaching those who did not yet know Jesus Christ and who would never, at this point in their lives, cross the door thresholds of the established churches in the area.

And, now for the really good news! This new faith community within a few months has been responsible through the Holy Spirit of making a significant dent in the Kingdom of Hell. In just a few months families have been restored, drug addicts are getting help, prostitutes are finding shelter, homeless children are being fed, housed, and cared for, and many are beginning for the first time in their lives to come into a fresh relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who is the one percent in your community? Have you encountered resistance from others in the Church as you’ve tried to start a new ministry?

For more information on Last Call, its ministry, prayer, or desires to donate visit Last Call Motorcycle Ministry.