CHICAGO -- Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. -- Matthew 22:8.
David Ikert is not your usual holy roller.
Although the 39-year-old father of two has been a Christian for 18 years, he does more on his weekends than bend a knee at his local house of worship.
With his dark blue Honda Nighthawk motorcycle, Ikert is one of a growing number of weekend Christian warriors who hop on their bikes to spread the gospel.
To some, Ikert said, the idea of Christian motorcyclists is a contradiction in terms.
"There's an idea that Christians are dull people," Ikert said. "There's the perception that since there are so many 'do nots' in the Bible, that Christians don't have any fun. It's really a witness to people that there are motorcyclists who are Christians and upfront about it."
Ikert, of Villa Park, Ill., long searched for a fellow Christian to ride with. About five years ago he heard about the Christian Motorcyclists Association.
The group was founded in 1975 by Herb Shreve Sr., a Baptist preacher who started motorcycling to spend more time with his rebellious teen son. Now, 15 years later, that son, Herb Jr., 33, has become the leader of the CMA and the group has grown to 33,000 members in more than 300 chapters in the United States and Canada.
Ikert, a deacon at the Suburban Assembly of God Church in Downers Grove, Ill., helped organize an Elmhurst chapter of the association, the Redeemed Riders, in 1986. The chapter has 15 members of all denominations, according to Ikert, who is the president.
Some of the Redeemed Riders are simply biking church folks looking for other Christian motorcyclists, Ikert said. Others are more concerned about the evangelism aspect of the ministry.
These Christian bikers hold worship services and witness at secular rallies attended by other biker groups, including hardcore bikers such as the Hell's Angels.
For those not comfortable attending secular rallies, CMA provides its own events that feature Bible study, gospel music, seminars, services and witnessing workshops.
Everett Hines, 47, and his wife, Naomi, 45, joined CMA six years ago for witnessing and recreation.
"I was interested in finding someone to ride with that didn't drink and all that stuff," said Hines, who is the vice president and road captain of the Redeemed Riders.
The owner of a 1979 Goldwing Honda, Hines has been a Christian since 1958 and a motorcyclist on and off for 20 years. Being a CMAer is a conversation opener, said Hines, who is a truck driver. "It gives me an opportunity to express my feelings toward the Lord."
But sometimes Christian motorcyclists receive more trouble from fellow believers.
Gerry Mestek, 39, of Elmhurst, has driven his motorcycle more than 150,000 miles ministering to motorcyclists.
"Some Christians have a hard time understanding why we want to reach out to some of the characters that ride bikes," Mestek said. "But somebody has to take the Word of God and message of salvation to this group of folks. Why not me?"
Mestek joined CMA in 1984 and became a minister a year later. Now he's starting his own evangelistic ministry, New Covenant. Ikert said some ministers have preached from the pulpit, "you need to get off that motorcycle." But God uses different ways to reach out to different people, he said, motorcycles included.
"You just can't put any limits on how He's going to do that."