On July 31, I began a journey; some might call it the journey of a lifetime. I joined a group of 11 other bikers that, over the next nine days, would travel over 4,000 miles as we rode our motorcycles to the 74th Annual Black Hills Motor Classic, aka Sturgis. Our group would be joining other volunteers from across the Southern Baptist Convention to work with the Dakota Baptist Convention (DBC) in that convention’s annual evangelism effort among the bikers attending the rally.
Attendance at this year’s rally was estimated at just over 400,000, which is slightly less than recent years. However, next year’s estimated attendance for the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis rally is projected to approach one million. I hope that you will begin praying now for the effort that will take place at next year’s rally.
Our group consisted of convention staff, associational staff and church members from a variety of North Carolina churches.
After riding three and one half days to the rally, we worked for three days and returned to North Carolina in just three days. The final day involved riding 16 hours through heavy fog, light rain, hot sun, with the day ending with heavy rain and downpours.
However, all of that was well worth the effort as we watched God work among the bikers in an amazing way. The approach used by the DBC is very simple and has remained virtually unchanged for the last nine years. The DBC purchases a new Harley Davidson to give away in a drawing; this year the bike was a 2014 Road King. To register to win the bike requires three minutes of a person’s time in order that a volunteer may share the story of how Jesus Christ has changed their life. Only after the volunteer has shared their story may an individual register to win the motorcycle.
Amazingly, thousands of bikers gave volunteers the three minutes required, and as a result 513 souls were added to the Kingdom this year. Throughout the nine-year history of this outreach, more than 6,000 bikers have become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The DBC is not the only Christian group engaged in ministry at Sturgis. One group was seen providing free oil changes – and sharing the gospel while the bikers waited.
Another group provided free bike washes, followed by the opportunity to have a picture made with your clean bike – and the gospel is shared as bikers wait. A local church provided free breakfast, and free parking while the bikers are enjoying the meal – and the gospel is shared during the meal. Other groups were also engaging bikers in many other effective ways.
The value of each of these ministries was driven home during our team’s first work session. A young man tentatively entered the tent, looking intently at the motorcycle.
Volunteers began to engage him in conversation only to quickly hear him say, “I’m not here to register. I only wanted to come back and say, ‘Thank you.’ I got saved through this ministry last year.”
If you are interested in volunteering in 2015 for the 75th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Classic, visit www.sturgisbikegiveaway.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brian Davis is associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)