Russellville’s Calvary Baptist goes hog-wildcomment (0)
September 5, 2002
By Lauren Brooks
Calvary Baptist Church in Russellville went hog-wild this summer. On July 14 they hosted Biker Sunday in an effort to draw motorcycle riders and enthusiasts to their church.
On this particular Sunday morning, the church parking lot was filled with rows of motorcycles, affectionately called “hogs” by their owners, a sight not often seen.
“We reserved a large section of the parking lot for the motorcycles and roped off a portion of the sanctuary for the riders,” Pastor Matt Hall said. “We had about 200 bikers from Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.”
Although the church didn’t alter its worship style or music format, Hall, 36, dressed for the occasion. He sported jeans, a Harley Davidson T-shirt and leather vest for the service.
Members at Calvary Baptist welcomed these guests to their church with open arms. After the service, Calvary provided lunch for the bikers and their families.
“We have conservative theology but not a conservative methodology,” Hall said.
“There was so much food left over from what the church members brought that we had supper after church that evening too,” he continued.
Barry Cummings, a church member and an avid motorcyclist, spearheaded the event.
“As Luke 14:23 says, ‘And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’ ” Cummings said.
“I took that to mean that we need to get folks to church and sometimes it takes creative ways to get people there,” he added.
“Barry gave his testimony and then I made a gospel presentation where I explained salvation carefully,” Hall said.
Several in attendance, including some bikers, prayed to receive Christ at the end of the service.
“Through the common bond we have of motorcycles, I can relate to them and get on their level,” Cummings explained. “People are often too quick to look and judge. We can’t see on the inside of other people like God can.”
Two heart surgeries
Cummings’ testimony includes the story of his quadruple bypass surgery in April 2001, which ultimately led to his becoming a Christian in September 2001.
Hall had heard about Cummings, 36, through people in the community, and visited him in the hospital. This visit began a friendship that helped bring Cummings back to church and to the Lord.
“I like to say that I had two heart surgeries,” Cummings said. “The first one was in April and the second one was in September by the Master Physician.”
Cummings, who grew up riding motorcycles, has become involved with the Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA) since becoming a Christian.
“We use motorcycles as a ministry,” he said. “We have different teams based on riders’ abilities and talents.”
Hosting a special church service geared toward motorcycle riders seemed like the natural next step for Cummings, who is always looking for ways to share the gospel with bikers.
Cummings said he received positive feedback from the riders. “Some of these people have never attended church,” Cummings said. “But they said they would do it again.”
Calvary Baptist plans to make this an annual event. They have designated the second Sunday of July as Biker Sunday.
“I believe it will be even bigger next year,” Hall said.
“We thank the Lord for the way this service went.”