Friday, June 29, 2007

Icehouse Ministry

Our church building is located on a Farm to market Road that is heavily used by motorcycle riders, especially on weekends. I would say that about a hundred pass by our church every Sunday, maybe more. (I am not pulling that figure out of thin air; it's basis is grounded in the number of people stopping at a new Icehouse a few miles down the road.

We have been burdened to reach out to these people whom God deeply loves. My first (satire) idea was to put up a roadblock and divert them through the church parking lot. I thought about trying to open up our gym as a place to stop and use the restroom or get a cup of cold water. I knew in my heart this would not work. We kept praying and looking.

Several months ago a new place opened up called Drifters Icehouse. We pass it at least every Sunday and every Wednesday on the way to church. Shortly after it opened we drove by around lunch one day and counted somewhere between 80-100 bikes there. We prayed and decided they were not going to come to us so we would go to them. Last Sunday Sweetie and I made our first trip to Drifters for lunch. We left our kids with another couple in the church and headed off to the new experience.

Our goal this first time was just to check things out (we figured we might stand out) and, if possible, to meet the owners and people working there. We did not stand out that much. We were not the only people in a car and most of the people were in our age range. many were dressed in the black and leather trappings of the stereotypical biker but some others were not. The truth is most of the people were from moderately upscale suburbs, white collar jobs during the week, black collar fun on the weekends.

We also met the owners. They were really nice down to earth folk and even hugged us when we left. I had a pastor friend who had a motorcycle ministry back in the 70's and 80's. He is in heaven and unavailable for advice. I do remember him telling me one time that bikers are very in to physical contact. They like hugging. I think he may have been ministering to a slightly different clientele but it seemed true for this crew as well.

To be completely honest I had some humanly concerns about this heavenly ministry. Jesus is THE role model. He hung out with prostitutes and tax gatherers. Most of the people I saw were just ordinary people. Nevertheless I had in my mind the question of what others would think when they saw us there. It is hard to overcome the pull of the flesh toward Christian legalism!

Our ultimate goal is to develop relationships, share the love of Christ and possibly start a Bible Study there before the regular opening time, even if it's just for the staff.

What do you think? What ideas do you have that might work for this ministry?

I Ain't As Used As I Young To Be

Last week Sweetie and I took a group to Youth Camp. I always said I was not going to be one of those people who could not hang with the youth in anything they did. Now I am one of those people who cannot hang with the youth in everything they do.

I prayed for three things: 1) That God would move in the lives of the kids. He did. 2) That Sweetie and i would come back sane. I did. 3) That our Rec Team would win!!! We did!!! Go Blue Crew!

If you have not been to a Student Life Camp pack up your youth and some earplugs and go. It was a great experience even if we did drive all the way to San Angelo TX to do it. (Directions to San Angelo: Drive about 3/4 the way across Texas than go on another hour.)

Thanks to those of you who prayed.

Anyway, the students and I had a good discussion. They were really impressed with the way the camp used so much multimedia to keep things going in an exciting and supercharged way. Worship times included drama, videos, praise band and speaker. They wanted to know why we could not do more of that in our worship services. I told them if they will come up with the skits we can do it. We were already looking at how to incorporate some videos on a regular basis. My fear is that anything we do will not live up to the professional standards they experienced at camp.

Someone once told me that we do camp the wrong way. We take the kids out and let them worship in a way that is very appealing to them then bring them back to the local church where things are as they were. I can see how that could be a problem but I still think everyone needs a way to worship God corporately in a way that draws them to God best.

What do you think?