Several weeks ago, Snoopy and I had the pleasant opportunity of meeting a patch holding biker named Wild Man from Wichita Falls. He was about 20 years our junior (remember, we’re great-grandparents). Wild Man was very well spoken, savvy and polite.
He spoke honorably about his club and then started talking about his family (wife and children). It was such a delight to see the sparkle in his eyes and his sideways grin as he fondly described his wife.
Somehow, we got on the subject of property patches and the disdain citizens have at the thought of marking one’s wife as property. We all understood the true meaning and purpose of a property patch but he was verbally re-enforcing the intended honor behind the patch.
“Its purpose is to protect her!” he said with great passion. “Its presence says ‘If anyone harms this woman, he won’t only answer to her husband, but he will answer to the entire biker nation that her husband is patched with’”. He said.
His mindset was in agreement that the property patch is equal to a queen’s coat of arms that is backed by an entire nation’s armed forces.
The first property patch I ever saw was 1986 in Sturgis. My reaction to it was typical of most motorcycle ministries. I was disgusted that any woman in today’s free America would allow herself to be branded as property and was much akin to seeing a woman being led around with a dog collar and leash.
Of course, I was looking through traditional, religious, uninformed eyes. Bottom line, I was new to Motorcycle Ministry and was totally clueless.
Unfortunately, many Christians think they can buy a motorcycle, wear a vest with a cross on their back and that makes them a motorcycle ministry. While showing up at a motorcycle gathering and handing out tracts is a way to honor God and display your Christianity, if you don’t educate yourself in the biker culture, you will only scratch the surface.
I’m not saying that God can’t bless that kind of ministry, because God’s Word is never without His anointing. The Word will accomplish what It is sent to do and will not return void. However, scripture in Romans 1:13 says “I would not have you ignorant, brethren” . . . and then goes on talking about ministry to Gentiles - - which was as foreign and disdainful to them as outlaw bikers are in many churches now days.
Think about it! We train missionaries in the language and cultural differences of the mission field they feel called to. Our Christian Colleges train them before sending them out.
It would behoove anybody with the passion for biker ministry to seek education in the foreign culture of outlaw bikers before putting on Christian colors. Unfortunately, most motorcycle ministries don’t understand the serious missteps that can be made by untrained motorcycle ministries.
Also, get familiar with the language (biker lingo) so you don’t wince in their face when you hear something unfamiliar or uncomfortable. Oh yes . . . they’ll hone in on that wince you tried to hide. In this culture, one’s ability to read body language can mean life or death and they can read you like a book.
Since the Bible tells us “I would not have you ignorant, brethren” it would seem God doesn’t want us to ‘stay ignorant’.
So if you want to minister to outlaws, find someone that understands the language and culture and stay as close to them as possible. You’ll not only get ‘head knowledge’ about the culture; you’ll come away with a new found respect and love for them.
You’ll find yourself waking up in the middle of the night praying for their safe return from their National Meeting. You’ll sit on the floor of the hospital when one has gone down on their bike. You’ll bury their mothers, brothers, sisters and sons and comfort them while doing it. But it will be a ride you'll never regret.