Well, this is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Up until now, we've been talking about Iron Grace - basically looking at what it's about, how it operates and what is expected. Now, before we go any farther, we need to explore what it means to be a true missionary to bikers.
So, the first thing we need to do before we get started, is to make sure that we are all on the same page. To that end, let's start with a definition of what a 'true' missionary is.
What Is A 'True' Missionary?
A true missionary is one "called by God and sent by a ministry" as a volunteer to a definite people group, with a definite mission and with a definite message.
However, a true missionary is not only to tell everyone that God can so change their hearts to a point that they will delight to do His will, but they are to actually show them evidence of that, in their own life - by being a living example. Which means, a true missionary will not forget that they preach more loudly by what they are and what they do, than by what they think or say. In other words, a true missionary's life, is to be like a living sermon.
Furthermore, a true missionary knows that the daily trials that come to them are designed of God, as a means of showing His mighty power in, and through, a human life. Therefore, they know that nothing is impossible with God, not only for themselves, but also for others. Although sometimes confronted with walls of heathenism and superstition (that at times are very great), the true missionary trusts that they will be given the wisdom of Solomon, and the courage of Caleb and Joshua, in the face of every seemingly impossible obstacle - no matter how great it may be. Thus displaying the loving power, strength and provision of God.
In summation, a true missionary is not just a job title - it's much more than that - it's actually "a way of life".
So Then, What Is A 'True'
missionary to bikers?
A true missionary to bikers is like any other individual that is willing to answer the call of God to live and serve as a missionary, except that motorcycle missionaries, obviously focus more specifically on those within the motorcycling community. They are constantly doing what needs to be done, to earn the respect of the riders in their area, so that they may (in some small way), be allowed to minister to them.
This can be done in part, by prayerfully spending time traveling to where they are and just hanging out and talking. Sometimes, it's attending events put on by the local riders in a given region. Sometimes, it's visiting them in a hospital or maybe even a jail facility. And sometimes (whether ordained through this ministry or through another), it's marrying them and/or burying them. Whatever the case may be, the point is, the riders need to see that someone is willing to take the time and effort to go where they are, and not sit back and wait for them to come - because they won't - especially at first.
A true motorcycle missionary also knows, that just because they may have been riding for many years, and have attended many events and local organizational meetings for a while, it doesn't mean that they'll be automatically accepted into the local riding community as a trusted missionary to bikers - just like that. They know that it may take years, before they are even acknowledged - let alone accepted.
In addition, a true missionary to bikers, has an understanding of the 'biker culture', to a point that they are fully aware of the unwritten protocols (and their consequences) that govern how the biker community operates. They also have an understanding, that if just one of those invisible protocol lines is crossed, they may not see the next sunrise. Despite that, a true missionary to bikers is absolutely certain they are called of God, and therefore they're not afraid - even though they realize the full weight of the call, and that it is NOT a game - of any kind - EVER.
- Heart Check -
BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS
Speaking of the fact that this is not a game, we must take a moment here to talk about a very hard subject that is difficult to consider. It's one that ALL missionaries must consider.
To that end, below is a list of personal things for you to consider. These questions will help you assess where you presently stand in terms of "readiness" for such a calling. So, please look through the questions below and try to honestly assess where you presently stand regarding preparation for ministry work as a volunteer missionary to bikers through Iron Grace and under the overall umbrella of Iron Horse Ministries.
With everything that is going on in the world today, all missionaries must be ever vigilant and unafraid. In fact, God encourages us in His Word, "Be strong and courageous and firm; do not be afraid or tremble in dread and terror before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you" (Deuteronomy 31:6 (Amp).
With that, we as missionaries must trust our sovereign God implicitly, and hold on to our lives loosely. We must maintain an attitude of "Self-Sacrifice" - a "Martyr Spirit", if you will.
Now, please don't misunderstand. Missionaries are NOT expected to go out and look for trouble, but they are expected to be prepared for it, as they are in a constant spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). They must allow their lives to become secondary in importance - compared to the outcome of the battle. Their desire must be, to see the enemy (Satan) defeated and Christ victorious - even if it means their lives!
We realize that this isn't something any one of us would really look forward to. But, in these 'last days' before the return of the King, we must be mindful of these two things: 1) God has put us here on earth, for such a time as this, and 2) this is not a game.
With that having been said, you need to know that ALL of us that God has called into this ministry to serve as missionaries, are compelled to consider our answer to the very same question. That's why it is so very important that you be absolutely sure (beyond any doubt), that God Himself is the one calling you.
The words of our testimony are powerless, unless we are ready to prove them, by willingly giving up everything - even our lives if necessary. Jesus is our perfect example of how powerful that can really be.
Also, keep in mind that the Devil has NO counter weapon against a life that is willingly laid down for the sake of the King, the Kingdom and the Saints of God.
How Does One Know They Have
Been Called To Missionary Work?
That's a good question. Now that you know pretty much what a 'true' missionary is (more specifically a missionary to bikers), we need to dig a bit deeper, to see what it truly means to live and serve as a missionary. It may help to determine whether or not this is really what God wants for you.
First of all, the best way to know if this is for you or not, is through persistent prayer. Give God the time He needs to speak to your heart, so that you can know, that you know, with absolute certainty, that this is exactly what He wants for you. Please understand (though you may see a need and have a great desire to fulfill that need), the desire to serve as a missionary to bikers, MUST be a passion that comes from the heart of God alone - not from you. Otherwise, over time, the enthusiasm can diminish - making you less effective.
Another good indicator of God's call, is your pastor. He can often see fruit in your life and recognize God's leading. Of course a man can be wrong about God's calling - even a Pastor. However, if your pastor thinks that you are either not called or not quite ready, then you should take heed, and honestly and prayerfully take more time, to determine the Lord's clear direction. If it is not absolutely evident that God has called you, then what would be the point? Make sense?
Finally, if (after much time, prayer and consultation), you feel that God may indeed be calling you to live and serve Him as a missionary to bikers, then take a moment here, and consider the things in the following list. See how the aspects of living and serving as a true missionary, settle in your heart. If you find that this list begins to stir your spirit, then this may be for you. If not, then more time and prayer may be needed.
The following is a list of basic things that a missionary to any people group, in any part of the world, needs to know, and put into practice out in the field.
Understand the role as a servant.
When a missionary arrives at the place of service, he must come to understand that his role, as someone who has been "called by God and sent by a ministry" is to work toward; and to accomplish certain objectives.
A missionary can best be a humble servant/leader if they:
- Don't get carried away with eagerness.
- Develop a low-key, but genuine rapport.
- Are encouragers and true shepherds.
- Are positive, helpful, and supportive without being over powering.
Christian leaders have to understand that they are ambassadors for Christ. So, it would be good for a missionary to study the life of Jesus the Christ. It will be a most helpful devotional exercise.
Learn the culture.
The 'culture', in this instance, is loosely defined as "the way things are done by a group of people" (whether a motorcycle organization; a local church body; or a local community at large). Therefore, a missionary is to demonstrate that his interest isn't primarily directed to his own family, his own comfort or his own security - but rather, to the people he is there to serve.
A missionary should strive as much as possible to fit in with the local Christians, while remaining a living example of a humble, mature Christian, and a teacher. He must ask for God's wisdom in knowing what to accept as culturally NEUTRAL (and therefore not inherently sinful or wrong), but yet, know when and how to challenge something considered as anti-Christian.
A missionary must recognize that there are already enough differences between him and the people he is there to serve. No extra differences or barriers are needed. In other words, a true missionary doesn't need to wave a flag saying they are a 'missionary'. It should be evident to the people group they're living and working with, simply by the life that is led.
Learn to speak as the locals.
Most everyone is aware, that in every country and in every state or province within that country, all the way down to the local neighborhoods, there are subtle (if not obvious) nuances with the local languages.
With that in mind, if one wants to understand the "soul" of a people group (no matter who or where they are), one must be able to speak as the locals speak - or at least understand them.
Learning to speak differently is not always easy. Anyone who has attempted this, will remember that they initially underwent a somewhat awkward and outward personality change. That's because someone speaking a language or dialect brokenly, has great difficulties projecting their own true personality, while going through the language learning process.
Learning a language or dialect of a people group is a humbling experience that takes great determination. Yet, it is necessary. Unless the local language is learned, there will never be a complete understanding of the local people group (e.g., their mind-set; their thinking patterns; and their emotions). Without mastery of the language, things won't get much beyond the basic courtesies and pleasantries.
Keep a sweet and honest spirit.
This becomes important after a missionary has been in a given area for a while, and the first inevitable disillusionments have jerked him into facing reality. Unless the missionary can be accepting of the ways of the locals (which can be as different as night and day), he will have problems in his relationships with them.
It is a subtle temptation for the 'long-term' missionary to become somewhat cynical. This can manifest itself in subtle snide remarks or jokes about the local people, which will eventually shape negative attitudes when dealing with them. Thus, it becomes necessary to keep a sweet, open and accepting spirit, to prevent those attitudes from sabotaging the effectiveness as a missionary.
Adjust to a new environment.
The best advice here is to be respectful and noncontroversial (without compromising the truth of the Gospel). Blend in. Shop where they shop, live as they live, and within reason, do as they do.
It is quite acceptable for a missionary to maintain his own personality and culture within reasonable bounds. However, it is more important to build bridges, by developing interest in local enthusiasms as well. That's how relationships and trust are built - one step at a time.
Identify with the people.
A missionary needs to make a conscious effort NOT to speak about "back home" even if there needs to be a comparison made within a conversation.
In the same vein, if there is talk about "our" president, it needs to mean the one of the country in which the missionary resides. When there is talk about "our country" and "our law", again, it needs to be about the place of residence.
Once a missionary adopts the people and the region in which he is living as his own, new horizons will open up. As a result, the missionary will be accepted, and adopted into the local culture, as one of their own. And THAT, is not ever to be taken lightly.
Affirm a call to serve.
A missionary is not to expect others to do what he is not willing to do himself. One of the most subtle and demeaning excuses used is, "They are already used to doing it themselves."
There is nothing more discouraging and disrespectful to people, as to be given a task by a leader, because that leader is not willing to take on the task himself. So, a missionary should be willing to roll up his sleeves, and get his hands dirty - it will go a long way to earn respect.
Focus on the assignment.
Know God's direction. Be clear about what is expected. Know what He requires from a "partner in ministry" with Him. Have a clear picture of the assignment. A missionary must humbly let everybody see that there is a plan, and that he has set out to accomplish that plan, within a certain time frame.
Also, a missionary is to quietly let everyone see that he enjoys a challenge, and that he works with enthusiasm. He should think BIG, and get his fellow laborers to think BIG as well. After all, don't we have a BIG God?
Be accountable for decisions and actions.
A missionary is to be transparent in all his dealings, whatever they are. He must be ready to humbly give a reason for what he does, and why he does it "this way". He also must always make sure that there is a "report-back" or an "accountability" system in place. If people see that a missionary is accountable to someone for what he says and does, they will find it a lot easier to develop a trust in him.
Live close to the Lord.
A missionary should not neglect prayer - both public or private. He should be known as a person who is willing to give God's blessings, and His guidance. He should also be known as a person who always speaks the truth; who always answers a direct question, with a direct answer - no matter what the cost.
A missionary should not be afraid. He should not yield to the temptation to think that a problem could be too big, or too dangerous for him to handle. A missionary is to believe within his own soul, that God is truly in control, and as such, solutions exist for all problems. Even personality conflicts can be solved when people meet at the cross.
Finally, a missionary is to always give credit to others, and glory to God - never himself.
So, what do you think? Does all of this make sense? Does this kind of life stir you? Does it seem like something you can and would like to do? Do you feel that God is indeed calling you to live and serve Him as a missionary to bikers? If so, then please keep prayerfully reading, and let's see what else God may reveal to you, BEFORE you make a commitment to serve.
- Heart Check -
Things you will need to consider:
As we have mentioned, God has given us charge to be good stewards of His ministry. Therefore, as part of the vetting process, we need to help you to be absolutely certain that what this ministry offers, is truly for you - BEFORE you consider applying.
To that end, below is a list of personal things for you to consider. These questions will help you assess where you presently stand in terms of "readiness" for such a calling. So, please look through the questions below and try to honestly assess where you presently stand regarding preparation for ministry work as a volunteer missionary to bikers under the umbrella of Iron Grace.
These questions reflect the types of questions that are commonly posed to candidates by other mission agencies and organizations around the world.
A Personal Checklist For
All Potential Candidates
Biblical / Theological Readiness:
- Can you articulate what you believe about biblical doctrine? If so, does it line up with Iron Horse Ministries' Statement of Faith?
- Do you show consistency in studying the Bible? Is there evidence in your life that the Bible is foundational in your decision-making?
- Do you exhibit a pattern of prayerfulness?
- Are you committed to fellowship with and learning from other believers in a local church body?
- Is there evidence in your life of growth in the fruit of the Spirit and other Christian qualities, including humility and teachability - all of which are vital in the field?
- Is there evidence of Godly wisdom in your life?
- Is there evidence of an attitude of servanthood toward others?
Emotional / Relational Readiness:
- Are you willing to submit to God-given authorities?
- How likely will you work well on a team?
- Are you easily offended?
- Are you self-disciplined enough to pursue your calling, even if you wind up working in the field alone for a long period of time?
- Do you consider yourself self-disciplined enough to pursue your calling, in a setting where there might be a lot of stress?
- Are you willing to give everything to serve at the pleasure of the King - no matter what?
Marital / Family Readiness:
- Does your marriage (if married) show evidence of being a healthy relationship? What would your wife say to that?
- Is your family on board with you in wanting to serve as a missionary to bikers through Iron Horse Ministries?
- Have you shown faithfulness and effectiveness in ministry through your local church body?
- Have you pursued opportunities in serving on mission trips?
- Do you feel comfortable in sharing your faith anywhere, anytime, and in any circumstances with unbelievers?
- Do you feel that you are able to share your faith effectively with those who need to hear the Gospel?
Church Connection And Readiness:
- Are you & your family adequately connected to the worship, fellowship, and ministries of a local Bible-believing, Christ-centered church body?
- Have you shared with your pastor and/or church congregation that you believe God is calling you to be a missionary to bikers?
- Is there a prayer-support network in your church to pray for you and your family, as you serve Christ through Iron Horse Ministries?
- In general, is your financial house in order? That is, do you live within a budget; demonstrate regular habits of generous giving; reveal modest spending habits; and otherwise exhibit prudence in this area of life?
- Do you faithfully and consistently tithe to the Lord's work through His church?
Christian Character Readiness:
- Do you exhibit the characteristics expected of a Christian leader in 1 Timothy 3?
- Are you:
- Above reproach (so that the world cannot accuse you of known and obvious sin in your life)?
- A husband of one wife?
- Temperate (moderate; disciplined; not extreme in your opinions, speech, or overbearing in behavior and actions)?
- Able to teach/disciple others?
- Not given to addictions of any kind?
- Not violent, but gentle?
- Not quarrelsome?
- Not a lover of money?
- One that manages your own family well?
- A father that has his children under control, and sees to it that they obey both you and their mother with proper respect?
- Not a recent convert (new or immature in the faith)?
- One that has a good reputation with neighbors and other outsiders?
- One that shows generosity?
- Are there any areas that you think should be on this list, which God has shown you, that you need to work on?
- Because of the dramatic rise of Christian persecutions throughout the world, this question must be considered.
Are you willing to take a bullet for the cause of Christ? Are you sure?
Well, there you are, and there you have it. As you have just seen, these are very powerful questions. Anyone considering such a call into ministry, MUST honestly and prayerfully consider such things.
So with that, what is our wonderful, gracious and sovereign God whispering to your heart right now? Is today the day? Is it time to step out in faith, and follow God's leading to live and serve Him as a missionary to bikers? If so, then please prayerfully read the section below, and carefully follow the instructions.
May you be blessed beyond measure, for your faithful obedience to the King.
What Are The First Steps To
Becoming A Missionary
Through Iron Grace?
To begin with, we realize that even considering such a question means that God may be already speaking to your heart - which is something we DO NOT take lightly - EVER. So with that, lets take a quick look at what would need to be done to start the process.
Now, as was mentioned before, we are charged with being good stewards of what God has entrusted to us. Therefore, we must do everything we can do, to ensure that all who apply to be part of this ministry are truly called of God, and are screwed on straight - with no cross threading - whatsoever.
So to that end, this is what we would like for you to do. The first thing, is to be sure that you prayerfully continue reading through this entire web site. That way, you can better capture the whole thrust of this ministry.
Then, when you are ready, just come back here and click on the "Application E-Mail" button directly below. Once it opens, please introduce yourself, and prayerfully tell us (in your own words) why you feel you would want to be part of this ministry, and why you think that God may be calling you to live and serve Him as a true missionary to bikers. When you are done (to your satisfaction), then go ahead and submit it. With that, the vetting process will begin.
When your introductory Application E-Mail is received, it will be prayerfully assessed. Assuming that the call on your life is clearly and appropriately evident in your text, you will be contacted and directed to the official Iron Grace Application Form, for you to download and fill out.
If the application form is not filled out completely (as instructed), it will not be accepted, and you will be asked to clarify what is missing. So, in order to expedite things, please do all you can to follow the directions closely - giving full and complete responses on the form. We greatly appreciate your understanding and compliance.
As you are filling out the Iron Grace Application Form, you need to know that we consider it an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with such important information. Therefore, please be assured, that we WILL NOT sell or give away any personal information for corporate gain or otherwise - to anyone - for any reason - EVER.
Now, once the written Iron Grace Application Form is completed and submitted, it will then be prayerfully evaluated. When that process is done, you will then be contacted so that a meeting (either in person or by Skype) can be set up. At that meeting, you will be prayerfully asked some pertinent and very in depth questions, to help determine beyond a shadow of a doubt, whether God has truly called you or not.
Remember, God is not playing any religious games here. He takes His calling on the lives of His children very seriously. Therefore, we are obliged to do so as well. As such, only when it is prayerfully felt beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has indeed called you, and that you have a good understanding of the weight of that call, is when the formal training will begin.
Because our great God is not limited to one location, all applications and training will be done electronically 'on-line' (unless otherwise designated). In fact, most all communications are handled this way. As a result, it doesn't matter where God may have you currently living in the world, you can be involved.
During the time of training, you will be considered as a "M.I.T." or "Missionary In Training". You will receive a special pin (which is to be worn on the front of your vest, directly below the I.H.M. front patch), designating you as an Iron Horse Ministries Missionary In Training. When the course is completed and you pass muster, you will then be "Rolled Out" (or sent). When that happens, the M.I.T. pin will be replaced with the Iron Grace "Service Pin."
During the time of training, the 'trainees' as it were, are NOT EVER to be considered as, or called, "Prospects", "Probates", etc. They are to be known only as a "Missionary In Training" - NO exceptions.
So that's it. That's basically a thumbnail of how someone can become part of this ministry, living and serving as a volunteer missionary to bikers under the umbrella of Iron Horse Ministries. As you can see, our wonderful and gracious God has kept everything pretty straightforward. To Him be ALL honor and glory.
- One Last Thought -
Finally, we want to take just a moment here, to formally thank you for following God's leading to this web site. We are so very blessed and honored by it.
If you feel that God is tugging on your heart with regards to being part of this ministry, then we also want to thank you for your willingness to go through the application and training process. We realize that all of this will take a bit of time and effort, but we also know, it's well worth it. So with that, may God richly bless you - real good - BIG time - as you prayerfully continue to follow His leading.