WORTHINGTON -- Vrrrrrroooooooommmm!
Motorcycle engines will "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" Sunday when Solid Rock Assembly once again hosts its annual Motorcycle Rally. This is the eighth year for the event, which draws motorcyclists for a day of worship and fellowship, according to Pastor Scott Peterson.
"I had an individual who asked me if we would be willing to have a bike blessing," explained Peterson about the genesis of the idea. "So we talked about it, met with a group of people, and that has grown into the motorcycle rally. Actually, that first year we did a lot more than just a bike blessing. We had a hog roast like we still do, and a service combined with it, so a lot of what we're going today did start that first year."
The day's events kick off with the bike lineup at 9 a.m., followed by the worship service at 10 a.m.
"People start arriving between 8:30 and 9," Peterson said. "There's usually a lot of people in the parking lot, walking around, looking at all the motorcycles. It's a great time to come early and look at all the great bikes."
Featured speaker at the service will be Jeff Warner, pastor of The Rock Church in Burnsville. Finding a different speaker with a message that relates to the rally's audience can be a challenge, noted Peterson.
"His son plays for the Stampede hockey team in Sioux Falls, and Jeff was coming back from one of his son's games and just happened to take this exit" off Interstate 90, Peterson related. "He pastors a church with a name that is very similar to Solid Rock, so he stopped in."
The Power Team -- a strength-based ministry presented by world-class athletes -- was visiting Worthington at the time. Warner is himself involved in a similar ministry and sometimes works with The Power Team.
"He knew all the Power Team guys and was talking to them, and he started telling me the story of his past, what he's gone through, where he's at today," Peterson said. "He's also an avid motorcyclist, so I thought it would be a good fit for our motorcycle rally, and he was very open to that."
According to his biography, Warner currently holds five world records in breaking bricks using his forearms, elbows and sometimes his head. He believes the breaking of bricks is symbolic of the "breaking of the bonds holding one back in life."
Warner's own story begins with a childhood of abuse and poverty. He excelled in sports but had learning disabilities and was placed in special education classes. He eventually became a professional wrestler, using the name JW Storm, but threw his success away through the abuse of drugs and alcohol.
The woman who helped turn his life around eventually became his wife, and today, he and Jennifer are both pastors at the Burnsville church and have four sons. Warner and his Ultimate Power Team travel the region conducting assemblies for middle school and high school students as well as power ministry presentations.
The rally will continue with the bike blessing at about 11:45 a.m. and Victory Ride around Lake Okabena at noon. For a third year, the motorcyclists will stop to honor veterans at 12:15 p.m. at Freedom Shore Park. The rally will conclude with a hog roast at the church. All participants will be eligible to win cash prizes, although they must be present to win.
"People can come for as much or as little as they desire," said Peterson. "Some people might just want to come for the bike blessing.... If some people have earlier church services, they can go there and come here later in the morning when we have ours. It's whatever works with their schedules. I just want everyone to know they are welcome. You don't have to have a motorcycle to attend."
Solid Rock Assembly is located at 1730 Diagonal Road in Worthington. For more information, phone 376-5770.