WORTHINGTON -- In its first two years, the Motorcycle Rally at Solid Rock Assembly, 1730 Diagonal Road in Worthington, "exceeded expectations," according to Pastor Scott Peterson. And this year, with a dynamic speaker and an added wow-factor -- the Team Faith Extreme Freestyle Jump Show -- the event should far surpass the original concept.
"There were some individuals who had been talking about a bike blessing, and one thing grew into another," recalled Peterson about the rally's origins. "Why don't we have a whole day geared toward motorcycles with a blessing and combine it with a Sunday morning service so everything is geared toward motorcycle enthusiasts?"
The rally gets under way Sunday morning, and motorcyclists can start lining up their bikes at 9 a.m. A celebration service begins at 10 a.m., followed by the bike blessing at 11:45 a.m. The cyclists will participate in a Victory Ride that includes a loop around Lake Okabena. There will also be a free hog roast, games for children and the Team Faith show.
Speaker for the service will be Mac Gober, a former "motorcycle hoodlum" from Alabama who founded Canaan Land Ministries, a non-profit, non-denominational home that provides a one-year program for troubled men, often as an alternative to prison.
"I'd heard his story -- I don't remember which program it was on -- on television and bought the videotape of his testimony," explained Peterson. "I have used that at least 50 or 60 times over the years up at the jail. It has one of the most powerful life-transforming testimonies that I have heard."
When the Motorcycle Rally idea was initially conceived, Peterson immediately thought about having Gober speak. When the congregation began dedicating funds specifically for the rally, it allowed that wish to come true.
"I think people will be blessed by what he has to share. I've never personally met him, but I've heard his tape so many times, it's almost like you know the guy," Peterson said.
Gober will fly his own plane from Alabama to Worthington, then will continue on to Elk River for another engagement on Sunday evening.
Also coming a distance to take part in the rally is Team Faith, a multi-faceted outreach ministry that impacts people who are enthusiastic about action sports. It started in 1994 in the pro personal watercraft racing industry and has migrated to the pro motocross racing and freestyle motocross industries.
"God has given the members of Team Faith a vision to use their talents for racing and riding to glorify Jesus and positively influence others interested in racing and extreme sports to know Him and grow in their walk with Him," states the Team Faith Web site.
A member of Solid Rock Assembly encountered Team Faith at the Life Light Festival in Sioux Falls, S.D., and suggested bringing the show to the rally.
"We'll get together with a team of people and talk about different ideas and thoughts about the rally, what can we do to make it better?" said Peterson. "Team Faith was brought up, and I contacted them to see if it would be a possibility. They're coming in from Tulsa (Okla.) for this event. They'll be coming in on Saturday and setting up, getting ready for Sunday."
Team Faith will present its program Sunday afternoon on the grassy area in front of the church. The congregation is also expanding its cement parking area to accommodate the large number of motorcycles that are anticipated for the rally.
"People can come and go as they need to," Peterson stressed. "We'd love to have them come in the beginning, stay all day and make it a fun day. But we have some that will come just for the bike blessing, or some that will be here for the service and bike blessing and have to go, but will be back later. If you can only come to a portion of it, that's fine, too."
And while the event is definitely geared toward motorcyclists, owning a bike is not a prerequisite for attending.
"There will be a lot who come in who don't have a motorcycle," Peterson said. "Many people just enjoy coming and looking at all the bikes that are out there. It's amazing to see what all people have."
Congregational members all pitch in as hosts for the event, helping in whatever way they can, including praying for nice weather, which is certainly a factor in how many cyclists show up.
"This isn't for us as a church," Peterson said about the rally's mission. "This is for everybody else. There are people working down in the kitchen who haven't seen any of the rally or maybe they just sneak up for a couple minutes to take a peek. Each one is here to be a servant."
For more information about the Motorcycle Rally, contact the church, 376-5770.