Personal appearances and first impressions often can be deceiving, especially if you're a biker. Take, for example, members of the Bond Slaves M.C. (Motorcycle Club) headquartered in Princeton, Minn.
They receive plenty of stares and scowls, even from fellow Christians who misunderstand their demeanor and purpose. Although many of the club's members have full beards, shaved heads, long ponytails, and bodies that are tattooed and scarred, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more docile and loving group of men.
Yet they are hard-core bikers with obligatory nicknames such as Bulldog, Horse, Blade, Hippie Jim, Bear and Quasimoto. Most of them were redeemed from a life of self-destruction that centered on their outlaw-biker way of thinking.
While their personal histories and current appearances tell much about who they were and are, their expressions of love and service for God and their fellow man reveal the powerful spiritual transformation that has occurred in each of them. As "bond slaves for Christ," a moniker based on Romans 6:22 that they proudly accept and model, they not only embrace the name, but they also attempt to live the lifestyle it portrays.
"We're pretty strong on this idea of living a holy life to the best of our ability to God's calling," acknowledged Mac Stone, an ordained minister and one of the founders of the club.
A review of the club bylaws reveals a stringent and biblically based life to which each member is called. They have formed a brotherhood in which members are accountable to one another, the club leadership and bylaws, the local church, and to Christ. They follow the rule of grace and have learned the importance and freeing power of repentance and forgiveness.
"As far as [being a biker], I'm the real McCoy," said Jay K. "Scrounge" Kester, who serves as the club's national chaplain. "I'm a biker born-again.
"I'm still the [motorcycle] tramp," he added. "I just don't steal, do drugs, run dancers, run massage parlors and shoot people. But the rest of it--the riding, the camaraderie--I only feel comfortable around my kind."
They are driven by a passion for Christ and to bring the redemptive knowledge of Him to those they left behind in prisons and among the hard-core bikers--particularly the outlaw clubs, also called the "1 percenters" of biking enthusiasts, as the media dubbed them more than 50 years ago.
"We have to be what we say we are," said Bond Slaves' National President Larry Stark. "We're not 1 percenters; we're 100 percenters for Jesus. We have to walk the talk. The other clubs are watching us."
The Bond Slaves M.C. is the only Christian motorcycle club in Minnesota, as well as in other states where they have chapters, that is sanctioned officially as a "1 percenter club." This means they have received approval as an official club by the outlaw club that controls the state in which they are sanctioned. Individual riders can form motorcycle associations or ride groups, but to be a "club" they have to be recognized by the controlling outlaw club of a state.
For Bond Slaves M.C., such approval has opened many doors to share the gospel with members of non-Christian biker clubs.
Club membership is interdenominational but free of doctrinal creed or strong denominational influence. There is, however, a strong Pentecostal-charismatic belief and practice.
The biblical custom of anointing with oil as they lay hands on those needing deliverance or a healing touch from God is commonplace. They also are prayer "warriors," often stopping in mid-conversation to gather around and lay hands on a brother, friend or stranger who needs prayer.
The majority are also involved in the ministries of their local churches or in their own ministries such as the inner-city church Kester pastors in Terre Haute, Ind., and the halfway house Jesus Christ Eternal Ministries in central Minnesota run by Jon "Hallelujah" Hall.
The club is a member-supported ministry. Each member must pay a small amount in club dues and pay their own way for all club events and ministry opportunities.
There are no paid positions in the club. Every dollar that comes in goes back out for ministry, and they neither solicit funds nor receive financial support from any other source.
--James F. Gauss
For more information on the Bond Slaves M.C., visit their Web site at www.bondslavesmc.com.