God has used the previous pages of this web site to help introduce you to Iron Grace. As a result, you have learned of its purpose, its mission and its statement of faith, hopefully setting your mind at ease as to its validity. With that, let's get to the heart of the matter.
As you know, there is more to life than meets the eye. The same holds true for this aspect of motorcycle ministry. As such, we invite you to take a few moments here, to see for yourself, just what that means.
Why Was Iron Grace Started?
As you are most likely aware, there are quite a few "motorcycle ministries" out there. Some are made up of Christian riders that ride with members of their own local church body, and therefore, consider themselves a motorcycle ministry. The thing is, with all due respect, most of those 'ministries' are in actuality, more like ride groups (R/G's) of their respective churches, rather than true motorcycle ministries. Then there are those that belong to organizations that are considered to be bona fide 'motorcycle ministries' (M/M's or C/M/C's), with back patches and such. Finally, there are those that are independent riders that are 'Born Again Believers', doing what they can do, wherever they can do it, for the sake of the King, the Kingdom, and the Saints of God.
Now, please don't misunderstand; we are NOT trying to throw stones at anyone or any organization here. We realize that there are a lot of great folks out there, that are trying to do great things. The problem is (again with all due respect), many riders are unaware that every time they throw their leg over their bike and roll out, they are subject to the same unwritten protocols as ALL other riders - Christian or not; One-percenter or not; and everyone else in between.
As a result of that innocent lack of cultural knowledge, mistakes are inadvertently made that ripple out - making it much more difficult for others out in the field to minister to the biker community. And THAT, is exactly why God has established this ministry - to help keep that from happening.
We need to remember that members of the motorcycling community, are considered a "people-group" like any other people-group in the world. It is a subculture with its own rules (or protocols), language (or nomenclature), rituals, traditions, sensitivities, and taboos. Therefore, we need to be fully prepared, so that we can be as effective as possible.
So, with that having been said, let's take a moment here, and see what all that means. Let's look at what God has designed this rather unique ministry to do.
What Makes Iron Grace So Unique?
One of the most unique things about this ministry, is that it is rather like a 'college' or 'seminary' for bikers. That is, God has set up this aspect of the ministry explicitly for people that are not just motorcycle riders that happen to be Christians, but rather, for Born-Again Believers that are dead serious about their faith, and are willing to do what it takes to be all that God wants them to be, and to serve Him accordingly. The bottom line is that I.G., is for people that have the passion and dedication it takes to learn all they can; to prayerfully prepare themselves to be sent out; and to be willing to live and serve God as a true Missionary to Bikers.
In other words, God has set up this aspect of the ministry, to be solely dedicated to "preparing the called for service," and to be an encouragement to them, during their service.
So, if you are a fully patched member of I.H.M. and are absolutely serious about following the call of Christ in your life (going deeper in your relationship and service with Him; and feeling His call to serve Him as a true missionary to bikers), then this is precisely where you need to be.
How Does Iron Grace Operate?
Though there are some similarities with other motorcycle ministries, one of the most unique aspects of Iron Grace is that it's comprised solely of missionaries. Therefore, it's going to operate a bit differently from others you may have come to know. With that, let's take a quick look at the basics of how this ministry operates.
To begin with, Iron Grace (I.G.) is under the umbrella and full authority of Iron Horse Ministries. It is also considered as a Para-church organization. This means that it does not belong to any particular denomination; which further means, it can teach and follow the full counsel of God's Word, without the encumbrances of denominational traditions, that a local church body might have. This, coupled together with a policy of open accountability (of course), gives its graduates total freedom in Christ, to work with any and all kinds of ministries, churches, clubs, groups, organizations, etc.; and to go whenever, and wherever God leads.
Speaking of the 'full counsel' of God's Word, as you have read on the previous page of this web site, we believe that the Bible is the inerrant and totally trustworthy Word of God. As such, we consider it as our final authority and our ultimate set of bylaws. Therefore, Iron Grace operates solely by God's sovereign direction, loving provision and mighty protection, as laid out in His Word.
And by His sovereign direction, He has appointed the Board of Directors of Iron Horse Ministries to oversee this aspect of His ministry. Their job is in part, to prayerfully make all decisions of policy, membership, and finances, as the Holy Spirit leads them. In addition, they are responsible for encouraging the graduated members of I.G. in their appointed region, and keeping them accountable.
Now, about the membership. It has been made very clear to us that He alone is to draw the people He wants; by planting the vision and desire of this ministry into the hearts of the people He wants. Therefore, we DO NOT persuade, prospect, or proselytize anyone into this aspect of ministry.
At this point, we feel it is very important to stop right here for a moment, and make something extremely clear. Iron Grace is NOT a motorcycle club (M/C) of any kind; nor is it a ride club (R/C); a ride group (R/G); or a Christian motorcycle club (C/M/C). It is part of a straight up, no nonsense, motorcycle ministry (M/M). To be precise, it is a type of school. And as such, we are, and always will remain, NEUTRAL. In other words, this ministry is NOT here to try to take over any club, group, or organization; its members; or its territories - EVER.
Another one of the unique things about the operation of this aspect of the motorcycle ministry is the fact that (like I.H.M.), there are no chapters. The reason is simple. With no chapters, there are no politics to contend with - just God's work. Which is GREAT. However, the flip side of that coin is that the members of this ministry, could start feeling rather alone out there. Which is why we greatly encouraged the graduates to stay in touch with their fellow members of I.H.M., whether electronically, or in person. That way, NO ONE should feel all alone out in the field - which is a common problem for missionaries.
There are a few more details with regards to this ministry's general operations of course, but suffice it to say, these are the basics. As you can see, God keeps it pretty simple and unencumbered - and yet powerfully dynamic. To God be the glory.
How Does Iron Grace
Handle Its Finances?
This brings us to God's loving provision, on the financial side of things. There are two sides to this coin (so to speak). First, Iron Grace has no initiation fees; nor are there any registration or tuition fees required for the courses taught. As a result, this totally non-profit aspect of I.H.M.'s ministry, depends entirely upon the prayerful freewill love offerings of those whom God has called into this aspect of the ministry; as well as those that are not called into motorcycle ministry, but share in its vision (whether they ride a motorcycle or not).
All donations made to Iron Grace are gratefully and prayerfully handled with the greatest of care and with impeccable stewardship. In fact, we consider every donation a gift of love, and an investment in this part of the ministry. Furthermore, 10% of all donations that are not designated, are tithed to other ministries, in order to help spread the Gospel both locally and throughout the world.
On the other side of the same coin, it has been asked of us, "Since the graduates of Iron Grace are all missionaries, does I.H.M. financially support them?" Unfortunately, God hasn't set things up that way. Instead, this is how He wants it to work:
Iron Grace has been appointed to teach, train and equip those that have been called of God, to serve Him as true fulltime missionaries to bikers. As such, they are taught to live and work by faith in God's provision alone; through His people alone; as they (His people), are obedient to Him alone. As a result, the missionaries are living examples of God's perfect love and provision. In addition, they are showing that the word "missionary" is more than a job title - it's a chosen lifestyle.
Some have been asked, "How can you live like that?" This kind of lifestyle can only be accomplished in part by: 1) active prayer, 2) by remembering Who started Iron Horse Ministries and its subsequent ministries in the first place, and 3) by remembering Who actually called us to live and serve Him through this ministry as a fulltime missionary to bikers. With that, we have an unwavering trust, that we are where we need to be, doing what we need to do and that God has our needs covered. That's because we are told in scripture, 'we are not to be concerned about what to eat and what to drink, etc. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world. Instead, we are to seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and when we do, He will be faithful to give us everything we need' (Luke 12: 29-31 (Paraphrased).
We hope this has helped to make things clearer for you, setting your mind at ease. Hopefully enabling you to capture the essence of how God has set up this aspect of His ministry.
In What Ways Might
The Missionary Serve?
Actually, like the rest of the membership at large, there are countless ways that Iron Grace graduates serving under the umbrella of I.H.M., can serve within the community that God has placed them in. Most notably, they can minister to the riders at their point of need - wherever they are, and whatever that might be.
For example, by God's leading, a missionary can make themselves available to minister to the riders at various events or in their own homes; at organizational meetings or in bars; or by attending weddings or funerals. (Speaking of which, many of our missionaries, having completed a special course, become licensed and ordained and therefore are sometimes called upon, to actually perform biker-style weddings and funerals.) In any case, it doesn't matter where they are or what's going on; the missionaries are quietly and prayerfully offering the riders a loving hope, and through that, a new direction for their lives - all in the name of Christ.
In addition, from time to time, a missionary may be called upon to help another ministry get off the ground. At other times, God may call them to be a liaison, helping to build a bridge between one ministry and another. Which means, they need to always be prepared for opportunities to work alongside fellow believers, helping them promote unity; as in one effort, toward one goal, under one banner - Christ.
Also, a member may be given an opportunity to help a church establish a motorcycle outreach in their area. For a church to properly do that, they need to be prepared. This means, the missionary closest to that church, would need to teach, train, and equip the congregation; to bring about a better understanding of the riders, their culture and their machines. As a result, the church learns how to more effectively reach out, and love on, this sometimes feared and misunderstood group of people. It's a lot of hard work, but as everyone knows, any investment in the future of hearts and lives, is well worth the effort.
You need to know that the list of things mentioned here, is by no means exhaustive. These are only some of the things this ministry does - there is so much more to it. As missionaries, we strive to keep our hearts and minds prayerfully open to God's leading. As a result, we just never know what or where our next mission or assignment might be - and that's exciting.
- Heart Check-
Now, before we go on any further, there are a few things that we feel need to be mentioned here.
The first thing is prayer. It has been said, "Nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer." Which means in part, a missionary may be presented with many choices out in the field, but without persistent prayer, how will they know which event to attend, and which person to talk to? No one wants to miss God's blessings and direction, by stepping out of His will and timing.
The next thing is perception. You see, one of the most important questions for the riders out there (in fact for most everyone) is, "Is this just another weekend-warrior motorcycle ministry? Is the missionary the real-deal, or just a wannabe?" In other words, what do they see?
Do they see someone that's trying to do and be something they are not? Do they see someone trying to impress everyone? Or do they see someone that truly loves and cares about them - no strings attached - no questions asked? These are hard, and yet legitimate questions that people really want to know. This brings us to the whole point.
It is precisely because of questions like these, that it is extremely important for everyone to know and understand this truth. Missionaries are expected to actually 'live their faith'. Which is why it is said, "Living and serving as a true missionary to bikers, must be considered as a fulltime life-style, rather than just a part-time job title."
Is There Accountability?
You bet there is! Without accountability, all ministries will sooner or later drift and fall into the enemy's hands. So in order to help keep that from happening, God has assigned members of the Board of Directors, a region of the country to oversee.
What the Board members DO NOT DO, is hold anyone's hand. Rather (along with other duties), they periodically contact the missionaries out in the field, to encourage them, and to help keep them accountable. In addition, all missionaries are required to submit a brief newsletter each quarter to their overseeing board member. This not only helps with a personal on-going accountability, it also helps to encourage the other missionaries around the country, as they learn of God's great work in other places.
Accountability is not only for the missionaries out in the field, but for all of the other aspects of this ministry as well - which also includes the financial side of things.
In other words, we consider accountability to be paramount. Therefore, we do all we can, to ensure that everything stays screwed on straight - no cross threading - no matter what.
Is There An Iron Grace Patch?
As a matter of fact, there isn't. But before we get into that, we need to make sure that everything regarding this part of the ministry is screwed on straight.
With all due respect, many Christian riders feel it is necessary to wear a set of pins and patches representing the 'motorcycle ministry' they ride with, in order to be more readily accepted in the riding community. The fact is, God does not really need us to wear a patch or pin of any kind, to do His work. However, to many of the people we minister to, it is important that we do. For them, it is a subtle way to get to know what we are all about - without any words being spoken. This can also be a means of quickly and quietly opening many doors - saving precious time.
With that having been said, this is how God wants everything to be handled. Those that complete the appropriate courses and graduate, and are "Rolled Out" (or sent) into the field as a true missionary to bikers, MUST be first and foremost "fully patched" members in good standing, of Iron Horse Ministries - with all of its rights, privileges and responsibilities. Then as true missionaries, they have the honor and privilege of wearing the Iron Grace service pin, out in the field.
The elegant service pin is to be attached onto the I.H.M. front patch (please see the image), located on the upper-most left portion of the front of the vest (or jacket). With the Iron Grace service pin actually attached to the I.H.M. front patch, it is saying so much on so many levels. One of which is that you have completed your education and are ready to minister to the riders on a deeper level. In addition, with the pin in that location, when speaking face to face with someone, it is quietly obvious to them, Whose you are and what you stand for.
You may ask, "Does that mean, all there is, is just a pin?" That is correct. You may further ask, "Why is that?" The best way to answer that question, is to take a moment, and look at the call of a true missionary to bikers.
As most everyone knows, a true missionary is one who is called to actually live God's word; to blend into a culture that may be somewhat hostel to the gospel; and to unconditionally demonstrate God's love to those in the field to which they have been called.
Because of the inherent nature of this particular call, a missionary to bikers is frequently entrusted with very confidential information, which will require them to work discretely behind the scenes. As they get deeper into this part of the ministry, what they are wearing can become a major stumbling block to both believers and non-believers alike. Therefore, they MUST be aware of what they are wearing. Is what they are wearing telling the "biker world" that the wearer belongs to a particular organization, which may or may not be readily received by the ones being ministered to at that moment? If so, the missionary may be misperceived as betraying the imperative need, to be considered as absolutely NEUTRAL. Thus jeopardizing the ministry efforts up to that point, which can even put them in grave physical danger as well.
With all of that having been said, the reason why God wants just a service pin for this aspect of the ministry, can be summed up in one word - "freedom". With only a relatively subtle pin attached to the front I.H.M. patch, there's nothing gaudy, thus distracting us from the freedom we have to go wherever God wants us to go, and minister to whomever He wants us to minister to - whether they ride a motorcycle or not. Thus giving us the absolute freedom, to serve at the pleasure of the King.
We hope this helps with regards to the service pin. Especially, when it comes to serving through this ministry. We must remember that although there is an elegant pin involved, it must be considered as secondary to the work that God has called us to do. In other words, it must always be about answering God's call on our lives, and bringing the light of Christ to the captives in dark places. Amen?
Finally, not only does the service pin speak to the riders out in the field, but for us, the honor of humbly wearing it, also quietly reminds us of God's call on our lives, and of our unconditional commitment to that call.
- To God Be The Glory - Amen -
So, as mentioned before, if this kind of ministry is beginning to twist your throttle, then as you continue to read, please consider praying about whether God would have you become involved.
So What's Next?
Well, here you are. You have taken the time to read through all of this stuff, and perhaps while you've been reading, you've been feeling something (or someone) whispering to your heart with regards to this aspect of ministry. Maybe the vision you were given, is becoming clearer. Perhaps you are sensing more clearer than ever before, that God wants you to live and serve Him as a true missionary to bikers. And perhaps, there is now a feeling of needing to be better prepared. If that's the case, then where do you go from here?
What we suggest is that you take a few minutes, and prayerfully consider what you have read thus far, and the depth of the call you may have been given. Then, when you are ready, go to the next page of this web site, and see what God may reveal to you there.