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Bikers, ‘strongman’ competitors find place in minister’s heart

ST. LOUIS (BP)–Randy Windham knew God wanted someone to share the gospel with people who sport tattoos, ride motorcycles and hang out in “biker” bars. He just didn’t know it was him.

Windham, education and family minister for Cross Keys Baptist Church in St. Louis, was not eager to find bikers. “I pictured ’em wearing all their leather stuff and picking their teeth with a switchblade.”

But his friend Jim Davis, a biker who had joined Cross Keys after making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ in 1994, encouraged him.

Davis felt concerned for his lost friends after the way they responded when his girlfriend was murdered. So many turned out for a benefit event for her children that they raised $17,000.

Davis thought, “Look at these bikers here. Look at all my drunken buddies, look at all my dope-addict buddies. Those are the people who need to be saved, because they deserve to be in heaven.”

Windham started a Bible study in the spring of 1997 in Davis’ home. On the first night, 10 people attended and three made professions of faith.

The group continues to meet monthly.

Next, Windham organized a bikers’ rally. To advertise it, he went to nine bars, two Harley-Davidson dealers and a tattoo parlor. When the tattoo parlor manager had a crisis involving a friend’s suicide attempt, he called Windham. The minister began to visit the business weekly. Soon, owner Tim Lococo, though skeptical, agreed to let him lead a Bible study there. “Personally, I thought Randy was barking up the wrong tree,” Lococo said.

But since the first Bible study in June 1998, seven people — some of whom were in the shop to get tattoos — have made professions of faith.

In a December session there, Windham taught from the Christmas story. “Just as the angel directed Joseph to take his family to Egypt, God will direct your paths,” he told the four men and three women present.

Windham and Davis also have shared the gospel at “strongman” competitions — two so far, both in the parking lots of bars. Competitors try to outdo one another in feats of strength such as pulling an 18,000-pound dump truck.

Operating a “Bible quiz booth,” Windham lets people who take the four-question quiz choose the gift of a water bottle or a “Jesus” video.

As a result of one such contact, a woman went to the biker Bible study and made a profession of faith.

Of his approach to sharing his faith with those in the biker/bar lifestyle, Windham reflected, “You go in, you get a rapport with people, and through that relationship, they open up to the gospel.”

He has seen hearts soften — hearts that had been cold as ice toward spiritual matters. “I have earned the right to talk to them about the gospel. That’s what Jesus did when he was here.”

Another outlet for Windham’s ministry is a wildlife conservation organization. “I like animals, but that’s not why I joined it.” The group’s mostly non-church-going members see him as their pastor or chaplain. He has done two funerals and a wedding for them.

Windham said Cross Keys Baptist Church and pastor Jim Savage have been supportive of his ministry, which he calls “Have Bible, Will Travel.” Member Sue Lail said of Windham, “He is a low-key, hardworking man of God.”

Jim Davis thinks there ought to be more people like Randy Windham.

“Too many Christians bury their nose in the fact that they’re Christians, and they just cut it off right there,” Davis said. “It’s easy to go to church. It’s hard to approach a person you know doesn’t believe in God or have a Savior.”

    About the Author

  • Tim Palmer