Baldwin County bike ministry distributes ‘wheels,’ gospelcomment (0)
December 8, 2011
By Brittany N. Ragon
Need some wheels? Call us.”
These are the words you’ll see plastered on fluorescent orange fliers in Baldwin County advertising free bicycles.
That’s because 26-year-old Zac Foerster, a member of Bethel Baptist Church, Robertsdale, in Baldwin Baptist Association, caught a vision in February to help fill a need — “We’re looking to show Christ’s love to all those in our community,” he said.
So Foerster gathered support from his wife, Amy, and good friend Jason Mann, former youth pastor of Bethel Baptist and current director of outreach at Women’s Care Medical Center in Robertsdale. He collected some old bicycles donated by family and church members. And he set out in obedience to make God’s vision to him a reality.
“One of our goals is shining light in dark places,” Foerster said. “The main purpose (of this ministry) is helping the needy.”
And they’re doing so through Ridden Word, a name they chose based on Psalm 107:20. It’s an apt description since each bicycle frame is finished off with a collection of handwritten Bible verses.
Before each bike is ready for Scripture, it is dismantled, sanded, painted their signature fluorescent orange, repaired and reassembled by a team of volunteers stationed in a shed outside the church.
Just before it is delivered to its awaiting beneficiary, the bicycle is taken into one of the Bethel’s services to be prayed over.
“We really have a big burden of being the Church to people who need help,” Foerster said. “But the most important part is that we are looking to advance the gospel and proclaim Christ to people in tough times, so that they will know they have always had someone who loves them whether they knew it or not.”
Take Ollis, for example, a homeless man wandering the streets of Robertsdale.
Foerster said he was “dumbfounded” with how happy Ollis was because someone had bought him food earlier that day. “I said, ‘I don’t have a burger, but I can give you a bike,’” Foerster recalled.
So he drove Ollis to Bethel, and they picked out a new bike that hadn’t even received its Scripture yet.
Foerster opened the Bible and told Ollis to pick out some verses.
“He could quote John 3:16,” Foerster said. “But there was another one he wanted to find. He said it was something about being naked and no one clothing him.”
Foerster opened to Matthew 25 and asked Ollis to read the verses as he wrote them on the bike.
“He was stumbling over his words a bit, but it was so powerful hearing him read, ‘I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you did not clothe me,’” Foerster recalled. “It was like I was hearing God speak straight to me about helping those who were needy.”
And that was only the beginning.
By the end of December, Ridden Word will have given away more than 35 bikes.
Although the ministry still has lots of needs — like a permanent facility, monthly supporters, bike supplies, mobile sheds for storage and a large air compressor — God continually supplies for it.
Mann said it has been incredible to see not only tools and donations supplied but also “to see how God brings people or families” to Ridden Word.
The hope is to become more than a distribution center, Foerster added. The goal is to set up a teen discipleship program.
“We have many juvenile youth facilities in our county for troubled teens,” Mann explained. “We … have hopes for those teens to come work at Ridden Word for community service, and while there, we will be able to share the gospel with them. That is an exciting idea to dwell on.”
For more information, call Zac Foerster at 251-599-6160 or email Amy Foerster at firstname.lastname@example.org.