When Doug Hixon, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Pampa, mentioned taking the gospel to a group of bikers who gather by the hundreds of thousands by riding in on their hogs every summer to a small town in South Dakota, several members of his church were worried.
But when the worry wore off, two men who had rarely shared their faith were on board to go.
Once there, the two layman who accompanied Hixon to the 68th annual Sturgis Rally Aug. 4-9 shared their conversion testimonies about 100 times each and were part of seeing a recorded 1,365 professions of faith.
“I took the chairman of my deacons and another one of my deacons. We had been told that they were not going to be open to us being there. But what we found was just the opposite.”
Working with the Dakota Baptist Convention, the men were briefed on how to share their testimony in three minutes or less. The convention hosted a tent on the main street in Sturgis where passersby could register their names for a chance to win a new anniversary edition Harley Davidson motorcycle.
The catch: they had to sit and listen to a brief Christian testimony.
“It’s wasn’t some canned evangelism method,” Hixon said. “They were telling the story of ‘what my life was like before Christ, and what my life has been since I met Christ.’
“It’s been an incredible thing just to watch those men catch that vision for sharing the gospel with others. And not just them, but other people from around the country?retired folks, people who had never sat on a motorcycle. But all of them were used by God.”
Hixon said the three-man team was “kind of a beginning for us,” but he said he plans to go again with perhaps more people from Cornerstone.
“Sturgis has kind of a wild reputation and we didn’t want to get up there and think, ‘Wow, we shouldn’t be here.’ I was prepared for hedonism at its worst. And there are some things there that are not good, but most of that was in another part of town.”
“What we saw for the most part were normal people. And many of them had no clue that they were lost; many of them were hearing the gospel for the first time.”
Hixon said about 5,000 went through the tent and heard Baptists share their stories in a environment “where the Holy Spirit was present in a powerful way.”
Across the street was a “What’s Next?” tent where those who were willing were given an opportunity to connect with a church in their home cities.
“They were told, ‘Here are some churches that are biker-friendly. And if you don’t have a biker-friendly church, ‘here are some churches in your town.'”
The SBTC is beginning a missions partnership with the convention there?something Hixon said he is pleased with.
“One of the things I’m excited about is people who are interested in church planting might be willing to say, ‘Hey, here’s a place where I can go.'”
Evangelist Ronnie Hill of Fort Worth and the Dakota Baptist Convention staff led training each morning at Black Hills Baptist Church in Whitewood, S.D., about 18 miles southwest of Sturgis.
“All of this would not be possible without the volunteers and partners who have taken this ministry from the vision of one leader to a group of leaders to a national level,” DBC Executive Director Jim Hamilton told Baptist Press. “Folks who are physically not able to be at the rally are obedient witnesses by praying and by giving to the Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program, which helped fund this through the North American Mission Board.”
“God has called all of us as a family of Southern Baptists to impact the lostness that we see here in Sturgis,” Hamilton said.
Volunteers from 14 states were involved in the effort, including a team of seven chaplains from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
?Baptist Press contributed to this report.