These bikers love Jesus

Published 7:45 pm Friday, March 30, 2012

DEWITT PHILLIPS, the chaplain of the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists’ Association, talks to Rotary Club on Tuesday about the special CMA patches (hanging at right) as club president John Dowdy turns to look at the patch.|Justin Schuver

The word “motorcycle” might not convey images of The Bible or the work of Jesus Christ, but a local group is trying to change that image.

Dewitt Phillips, the chaplain of the local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA), told the Bainbridge Rotary Club on Tuesday that the group’s work is a calling from God. He said that members of the CMA work to bring the gospel to fellow motorcycle riders that might not be interested in conventional religion.

“A lot of these guys won’t go into a normal church,” he said. “Maybe they had a bad experience with it in their lives, or they just aren’t interested in organized churches. But because we’re out on the road with them, we can bring the good news to them.”

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Phillips said that the CMA began in 1974 when Herb Shreve attended a motorcycle rally and began to witness to many of the bikers there. In the spring of 1975, the non-profit CMA was born. Today, it has more than 1,000 chapters in the United States and more than 150,000 members.

The CMA partners with three other ministries — The Jesus Film Project, Missionary Ventures and Open Doors — to help spread the gospel. In 2010, the CMA donated $806,841.65 to each ministry, thanks to support from its annual “Run for the Son” fundraiser, according to the CMA website.

Phillips said locally the CMA chapter is involved in a variety of events, including serving as a positive presence at the annual Bainbridge Bikefest.

“We stay at the front gate, and we’ve asked people to take their children home rather than into the Bikefest,” he said. “We’ve also gotten prayer requests; last year we had 52 prayer requests. We are all called to be ministers and to reach out to people.”

Phillips said one year at Bikefest there were two motorcyclists who were injured in an accident on the bypass. Phillips and other CMA members visited the injured riders in a Dothan, Ala., hospital.

“I still seem them from time to time and they always give me a hug,” he said. “We can really make a difference in people’s lives.”

He noted that it takes a person of high character to be a CMA member. Members have a special patch that they wear on their jackets, and Phillips said he would be the “first to remove it” if any member performed a non-Christian activity.

“Everyone you see out there knows about the CMA patch,” he said. “And a lot of riders will tempt you. They’ll hold up a beer and say, ‘Come on, have a drink.’ But then once the CMA member refuses, they’ll hold up a soda instead and say ‘I knew you wouldn’t take it, I just wanted to see what you’d do.’

“We’re tempted out there every day, but we have to be true to the gospel and be a good example. We can tell them that God is the answer, no matter what troubles people might be facing.”

For more information on the CMA, visit online at