Ministry on the Margins at Oakview COG

Oakview Church of God and Riding to Reach Motorcycle Ministry

Submitted by: Pastor Steve L. Garay

Oakview Church of God is committed to reaching out to our community. One segment of the community that we have emphasized is the biker community. We have been working with Riding to Reach Motorcycle Ministry for the past several years. We have sponsored a biker breakfast at the Golden Corral in Roanoke at 9 am on the fourth Saturday every month for the past five years. We have services together at the Roanoke Rescue Mission and have had great success there. During the summer months, we ride our bikes to the mission and the residents enjoy looking them over, which gives us the chance to build relationships.

Our goal is to reach out to riders of all types. One of our methods is taking part in local biker events such as, Bikefest which is one of the biggest bike events in the state. Normally there will be thousands of riders from all over the eastern US come to this event. We set up a helmet and leather check station during the event providing a place for the riders to safely leave their helmets and other attire. We give Bibles and have a place for riders to pull up, so we can pray for them and their ride. This is called a biker blessing and we have been able to pray for and witness to multitudes through this. During this event, we also wander through the parking lot looking at all the bikes, greeting the riders, and seeking opportunities to testify.

When I began riding, I did not realize the many opportunities for ministry it would bring. I was riding for the fun and freedom. Some of us call it wind therapy. But God chose to use my riding as a door to ministry. Now as National Chaplain of Riding to Reach Motorcycle Ministry, I can look back and see how God has directed each step. My life and church have benefited and grown because of this ministry.

One of the first things we had to do is learn how to safely minister and reach bikers. There is a biker culture with its own rules. Bikers come from every walk of life: Doctors, Lawyers, Ministers, to the One Percenters. But all have some things in common when it comes to riding and they are important. Riding to Reach does a protocol seminar to help teach individuals how to minister in the biker culture. Learning the language and what to do or not to do are important. Knowing this will help make biker ministry safe and productive. We offer this seminar to churches and any group interested in this kind of ministry. If you would be interested in a seminar, please contact me at steve_garay@yahoo.com.