Gospel according to Harley
I really enjoy any novel method of preaching the Gospel and
therefore was very excited when I read in the Chicago Tribune, 7 October
2001, the headline: "Baptist pastor preaching gospel according to Harley -–
Wearing vests with 'Riding for the Son' embroidered around the image of a
Bible, Pastor Bob and June Youmans may not seem like motorcycle types.
'I can't get the bike out of the driveway without her on
it,' 70-year-old Bob said, explaining his wife's enthusiasm for their hobby.
The pastor and his 67-year-old wife are not only motorcycle enthusiasts but also
members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
The couple took up motorcycles about seven years ago.
'A lot of people ride, then they quit when they get older,'
Bob said. 'We've been riding about six or seven years. I let my kids ride
but we didn't feel, back then, that we could afford a bike ourselves.'
Now that their four children have children and even
grandchildren, Bob and June figured it was time for them to enjoy motorcycles.
They own a Harley-Davidson and a Honda Gold Wing, and though he admits others
feel differently, Bob prefers the Harley.
'Most bikes don't sound like a Harley. I like that sound,'
he said. 'And with the Honda, I feel like I'm riding on top of the bike. But
I feel like I'm riding in the Harley; like I'm a part of it.'
After a two-year wait for the special-order Harley, it
arrived in February, not known for biker-friendly weather. But Bob rode it home
from the dealership. 'The roads were dry,' he said.
The couple doesn't generally tool around town on a
'Getting ready to ride a motorcycle is a waste of time for
short distances. When I get on my bike I want to go for some miles,' Bob said.
They've taken motorcycle trips to the Straits of Mackinac
and the Upper Peninsula.
'Michigan is a great state,' June said. 'As we go by
the forests I think that God put every one of those trees there. He's created
a lot for us to enjoy.'
The couple likes to bike in Michigan, but one bike trip took
them to the Florida Keys five years ago. June said a motorcycle allows a person
to feel closer to the outdoors than a car does.
'Riding a bike is like taking a walk in the woods,' she
said. 'I used to love to ride horses, and this is the next best thing.'
The couple generally can't go on weekend motorcycle trips
because of the responsibilities at Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, which Bob
started in 1988 and still leads.
The couple had been riding motorcycles a few years before
they joined the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
The association is headquartered in Arkansas, but many states
have chapters. 'They're just like little families,' June said. Though Bob
started a chapter in Mt. Pleasant, he and his wife are members of the Bay City
'CMA is not a Harley group. It's a group of
motorcyclists, who are born-again believers in the Lord,' Bob said.
The Bay City chapter meets once a month. The members share a
meal, exchange news about their families, pray together, read from the Bible and
sometimes, Bob said, 'get together after the meetings and go get an ice cream.'"
I think this is exciting and encourage Christians to get
together to enjoy themselves as well as using their spare time to preach the
Gospel to those who many times equate Christianity with a boring lifestyle.
Never forget that Jesus said He came to give us life, and
life more abundantly.