On Friday nights and Sunday mornings, a line of motorcycles stands outside Church in the Wind. Inside, about 40 bikers gather for worship.
On Friday nights and Sunday mornings, a line of motorcycles stands outside
Church in the Wind. Inside, about 40 bikers gather for worship.
“Its difficult being a Christian,” says C.C. Gower, pastor
and former biker-gang member. “Aint no wimps called to be Christians.
When I was an outlaw, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my club for backup. Now,
I have the best backup in Jesus.”
The church in White Oak, Texas, penetrates a biker culture that often is based
on intimidation, fear and harsh punishment. The East Texas congregation has
served as many as 300 people at a time through its evangelistic outreach, which
takes members to motorcycle runs and rallies.
Members do not curse the biker lifestyle but have retained some elements of
it. Many sport worn bandanas, leather vests and elaborate tattoos. They talk
about motorcycle mechanics as freely as Bible verses.
Gower does not lament the empty seats in the makeshift sanctuary – he
sees that as a positive sign. “I have to praise God our people arent
here,” he says. “Theyre out spreading the word of Jesus.”
Members continue to relate to their former biker comrades and boldly share
their testimonies, Gower says. Bikers listen, because the Christians speak from
experience, he adds. And the stories have credibility, because those hearing
the new believers knew them before their conversions.
Church in the Wind also maintains the closeness found in many biker clubs,
Gower says. People join the clubs to find the love and acceptance lacking in
their homes, so, the church aims to turn peoples attention to Christ by
giving them the support they seek.
That support revitalized George Pliler. He entered the congregation almost
a year ago after his wife left him and he lost his job.
The church welcomed and loved him from the moment he entered the door, he says.
Since then, he has become a devoted member who proudly wears a large Church
in the Wind patch on his leather jacket.
God works “when you get to your lowest point a lot of the time,”
“God makes all the difference.”
The frankness with which the bikers tell of their faith is part of the appeal,
member Rick Watson says. “Were ordinary people. We obviously fail,
and we admit our faults. People are attracted to that.”
Services at Church in the Wind begin with a few classic rock numbers that have
spiritual aspects. Then, the congregation launches into extended prayer time.
Participants give three or four impromptu sermons as they ask for prayer or
praise God. Members join hands and pray for the requests.
Services usually take a break after the prayer, and worshippers visit and discuss
issues in their lives. They sing several praise choruses before Gower gives
The caring environment attracts more than bikers. People with no connection
to motorcycles frequently visit the church, and several have become members.
Even so, outreach to bikers remains the cornerstone. Church members remember
their former lifestyles and are passionate about helping others find joy in
“How could we turn our back on them? Theyre hurting,” Gower
says. “Theyre holding on to the club instead of Jesus. This place
belongs to Jesus. Who am I to tell them they dont belong?” (ABP)