Twenty-six motorcycles lined the parking lot of First Christian Reformed Church in Chatham, Ontario, when the congregation hosted their first annual “Ride to Church Day” on June 26.
The idea came from Gary Nydam, Albert Postma, Gerry Lankhof, and John Lankhof—all motorcycle enthusiasts and members of First CRC.
“It seems like hobbies are taking people away from church,” said Nydam. “They can take a lot of time, energy . . . so we thought, why not use them to get them into church?”
“Our church has been talking about how to reach more people,” added Gerry Lankhof. He mentioned a biker event in Port Dover, Ontario, that attracts up to 80,000 visitors to the town.
“We decided, why not do something similar, but for church? If we invite Christians who ride [motorcycles], they can invite their unchurched friends.” They invited every church in Classis Chatham (their regional group of churches) to the event and advertised in grocery stores, workplaces, and on local radio stations.
Riders came from towns as far as 200 kilometers (124 miles) away. “We’re very happy with how many showed up for the first year. We hope to do it again next year,” said John Lankhof.
The event started with time outdoors to enjoy refreshments and to admire the motorcycles of other riders. This was followed by a church service, then a barbecue.
Since many bikers appreciate the freedom afforded by motorcycles, Rev. Jack Kerkhof brought the theme of liberty into his sermon, looking at the risks but even more at the call—even the command—to freedom in a Christian’s life.
Biker Ed Hofland appreciated the event. “It was great—a good service, appropriate sermon—not too long,” he laughed.
Peggy Nydam agreed, “I loved it! It was wonderful—a good service. It was nice seeing all the bikes. . . . It’s nice both ways: for Christian bikers to get together and for other bikers to see that Christians are OK. . . . We brought two people with us. We spent the day biking, then came here.”