DAVIS—“Bikes are an attention grabber, but our main goal is to share the Gospel” says Brian Brawley, regional and chapter director of the F.A.I.T.H. Riders.
The F.A.I.T.H. Riders began in Florida in 2002 as a small group of people who were obedient to the Lord’s calling. They combined their love of motorcycles with their love for the Lord to found a motorcycle ministry that has been effective in sharing the Gospel. Since then, the ministry has grown to include nearly 300 chapters nationwide, with more than 70 of those being in Oklahoma. This is more than any other state. Each chapter is a ministry under the local church and, therefore, each new chapter is commissioned by their church and sent out to proclaim the Gospel.
Every aspect of their patch and ministry points to the Gospel, says Brawley. Using either their patch or name alone, they could walk someone through a salvation prayer. For them, motorcycles are simply a way to draw people to the church who normally wouldn’t just walk through the front doors and sit on a pew. This mindset has taken on a unique form as they have sought to reach the youth who attend Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center each summer.
For the past four years, the Oklahoma F.A.I.T.H. Riders have been participating in what they call “Falls Creek Fridays.” This side of their ministry is focused on sharing the Gospel with the youth who attend camp all summer. They set up a tent outside of the Ada Lodge by the bus stop, and offer shade and conversation in the middle of the hot afternoons at camp.
The ministry has also designed a unique F.A.I.T.H. Riders Trading Pin for Falls Creek campers. While this pin costs campers no money, they do have to listen to a short three-minute testimony from one of the bikers to receive it. Over the past seven weeks of camp, the Gospel has been presented 2,700 times, and there have been 215 decisions for Christ.
Brawley says, “With youth, there is something about motorcycles that makes age differences disappear.”
The Riders park their bikes near the tent and have many admirers as the youth pass by on their way to different camp activities. These men and women are truly passionate about sharing how God has saved them and changed their lives and as a result, the youth are eager to listen and respond.
The F.A.I.T.H. Riders use a model stemming from Acts 26, in which they present what they were like before Christ, how they came to know the Lord and how their life has changed since. Brawley says, “We (Christians) try to make it (the Gospel) so complicated, but God says, ‘Go’ and we simply follow that.”
Not only is this a gospel presentation to unbelievers, it is also an opportunity for the bikers to strengthen and challenge believers.
If a camper claims to be a Christian, the F.A.I.T.H. Riders ask the student to share his or her testimony with them. This gives students experience in sharing their faith and lets the F.A.I.T.H. Riders address questions that the campers may have regarding evangelism, discipleship or spiritual growth. Each camper also fills out a decision card that is then given to their youth minister so that decisions and questions do not go without follow-up. This stems back in to the ministry’s dependence on the local church.
Recently, the bikers have even had some spiritually mature campers help them on Friday afternoons. These campers give up their free time to help the F.A.I.T.H. Riders in whatever way they can. They have opportunities to share their faith with other campers and to step out in obedience to the Lord.
Part of the F.A.I.T.H. Riders’ mission states, “This is a ministry, not a riding club or gang, and our sole purpose is to share the life-changing Good News by equipping the saints to engage in practical ministry opportunities.”
So, if you see a group of Christian men and women standing around their motorcycles at Falls Creek on Friday, stop and ask them to share their story with you because it might just encourage you to share your story, too.
Brawley and the rest of the F.A.I.T.H. Riders ask that Oklahoma Baptists pray for the physical safety of the bikers but more importantly, they ask that you pray that they would have boldness of faith as they seek to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen.