In my nearly six months as president of the IC3, I have had many conversations — in person, over the phone and by email — about our membership “dues” and the “real purpose” of our organization. Because of those conversations, I now understand that the true purpose of our “club” has ever been adequately explained. In an attempt to rectify that short-coming¬†— communicating our purpose — I have provided some thoughts below to not only communicate these ideas to our members, but also to be more accountable as leaders and stewards of God’s gifts.

For me, I have never had any sort of success talking to people about Christ without first getting to know them, letting them get to know me and having some bonds of relationship. The more I invest myself and my time into a relationship, the more I feel like “I have earned the right” — or, maybe better put: “I am given the opportunity” — to speak the truth of Jesus Christ into that person’s life. What the IC3 needs to become is more of a platform to create, foster and build those relationships with people. Currently, some Spokes do that well. Others do not. We all need to do it better.

In many areas, including the Twin Cities and our Nairobi Spokes, to site just two, we have specific programs to reach out to cyclists who are not familiar with who Jesus is — or even what a loving Christian really looks like. In both of those Spokes we are making real end-roads in 1) getting to know all kinds of cyclists, 2) breaking down typical negative Christian stereo-types that hinder a relationship with them and 3) being in a place where we can speak to them about how Jesus loves, forgives and offers them salvation. We need to be able to replicate those types of programs in many of our other Spokes and devise variations on those programs that would work for our members who do not live in or around a Spoke.

It should be noted that when I talk about creating deeper relationships I am referring to relationships with both our members [and other believers] so that we can better serve them and address their needs AND non-believers with which we interact. Our goal is to not only find more Christian Cyclists and to UNITE them, but also to be a LIGHT to everyone we meet [check out this brief article on our mission statement http://christiancycling.com/6847/unite-light/].

In practical terms, this could be as simple as some printed literature. It could mean hosting an event. It will definitely involve organizing our Spoke/members and providing some sort of training for our Spoke Directors and other members who want to be involved on that level. Also, the programs must take into account the “local culture” of where it is being implemented. While having set programs is convenient for us as humans [just follow these steps and …], that does not guarantee success in all situations. Thus, we need “program templates” that can be flexed and stretched to be most effective for reaching people for Christ in each local environment. It is not easy. It does not happen overnight. And, however we look at creating those opportunities and deepening relationships, we are looking at some sort of cost.

Thus, I challenge you to think of the IC3, not a riding club with dues, but a full-blown world-wide ministry that asks it’s ministry partners for a nominal donation to cover some of those costs. As a bonus, with the IC3, there are advantages that you can directly benefit from as you give to our ministry– like discounts from some of our sponsors [other ministry partners] or reduced rates [or free entry] into IC3 events, and many more. Therefore, think of your gift as the best of both worlds — you get the benefits of a club while changing of lives in a ministry.

So, here’s the best part: you don’t have to donate to ride with us. You don’t have to give us anything to read our website, go to our events or participate in our ministry. But, whether you pay or not, I want you to come along with us. I think you will appreciate the ride and where we are headed. I also think that [money aside] you have a lot to contribute to what we can do in the name of Jesus Christ.