Glad Tidings Assembly of God is not only a biker-friendly church, but it gives motorcyclists the best parking spots in the church.
Rough-looking, leather-clad bikers are a familiar bunch at the Pentecostal church in Decatur, Ill.
"Someone comes in looking rough, and people automatically assume they're one of pastor's friends," B.G. Nevitt, pastor of the church and also a biker, said with a laugh, according to the Assemblies of God News Service.
Nevitt has a "true AG (Assembly of God) original" – a custom chopper with AG and "Light for the Lost" logos, a seat that has "Heroes of the Faith" and AG logos embroidered into it, a hand-painted "Light for the Lost" logo and AG World Missions and U.S. Missions scrolls, and other custom touches. The motorcycle was designed and built by Ron Masten, executive pastor of First Assembly of God, McAlester, Okla., along with members and friends of the church.
When bikers, or the pastor's friends, enter the church, congregants are quick to welcome them as they help them find the best seat or buy them a cup of coffee – "whatever it takes," said Nevitt.
Glad Tidings plans to work with the local Harley-Davidson dealer to host "Blessing of the Bikes" on Sunday, Apr. 22. Nevitt expects to see more than 1,500 bikers and bikes at the weekend event to receive a prayer of safety.
Just last month, Greenville Church of God in North Carolina saw more than 500 people attend a bike show and blessings at the church's first "Biker Sunday."
Participating motorcycles in Biker Sunday were marked with blue stickers that read "I was blessed in '07: Jesus loves you."
"There has been nothing in this area like this before," said Eddie Moore, who organized the event, according to The Daily Reflector. "Lots of churches are looking at it."
Derek Bossolono, senior pastor of the church, alluded to a passage in the Bible that teaches people to be fishers of men.
"There is more than one fish in the water, and you are going to have to use different bait to catch them. My policy is, if it's not illegal, and it's not immoral, then I'll do it to get people saved," said Bossolono, according to the Reflector.
At Glad Tidings, the head pastor expressed similar thoughts. "All of this, the bike, the events, we use to build bridges to reach people who aren't walking with the Lord."
Nevitt hopes to get his new chopper ready to ride for the first time on the road at Blessing of the Bikes.