The roar of the engine, the wind in your hair, the feel of the leather grips on the handlebars and the word of Jesus Christ. One of these is not like the others, or is it?
Members of the Flowery Branch chapter of the Chariots of Fire motorcycle ministry hope to combine the word of God and choppers to promote camaraderie and witness to others.
“Our desire and our goal is to reach out to other bikers,” said Pastor Robyn Martin, a member of Chariots of Fire. “Anytime we see another biker, it is just an amazing bond.
“You pull over at a convenience store and another biker pulls up and we are all on the same team.”
The group operates out of Covenant Connections Church in Flowery Branch and is a chapter of the Chariots of Fire motorcycle ministry, which is based in Mount Airy, N.C. The local chapter was started after Covenant Connections Pastor David Edmondson visited North Carolina and met with Pastor Larry Johnson of the Fire House Ministries.
“Pastor Larry Johnson began to tell me about his ministry to the biker community and how it has brought the message of Jesus Christ to hundreds of people and their church is seeing amazing growth,” Edmondson said. “So I asked if I could start a chapter in Flowery Branch.
“He not only said yes, but he blessed me with a custom 2001 Fatboy Harley Davidson to start our ministry with.”
The chapter officially started March 23 with a “Bless the Bike” service in which the church’s congregation went out into the parking lot and prayed over the motorcycles. The group started with about three or four members, but has ballooned to around 25 men and women.
Chuck Crotzer, the lead pastor of the ministry, first became acquainted with motorcycles when he was 18 years old and joined a motorcycle club. Later, he became a born-again Christian and shied away from motorcycles for several years. That changed when Edmondson asked Crotzer to become the lead pastor of the newly formed Chariots of Fire.
“When we started this, it gave me the opportunity to get back into motorcycles for the right reason: to reach people for Jesus,” Crotzer said.
Bikers are an underserved community, according to Crotzer, and the ministry allows the spread of the Gospel among them while promoting openness among the congregation at Covenant Connections.
“A lot of churches don’t like people with tattoos or long beards, we love them,” he said. “That is how Christ accepts people.
“He accepted the disciples how they were. He didn’t judge them on how they dressed, how they looked or how they smelled.”
The group meets every Sunday for church services, twice a month for small groups and once a month for breakfast and a ride.
Chariots of Fire is attempting to become certified by the Georgia Department of Corrections to go into state prisons and minister to the inmates. In the future, the group hopes to conduct more outreach programs, work with charities and become involved in community events, Edmondson said.
“We want to get involved where there is a need in our community,” Martin said. “We’re really excited about that.
“Now we’re just building the base, and the momentum has really kicked in for all the possibilities of how we can be a positive influence on our community.”
For information on Chariots of Fire, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChariotsofFireMotorcycleMinistry.FloweryBranch.GA or call Covenant Connections Church at 770-965-6055.