Eddie Gill met his wife Patty at a divorce care group at Christ United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Patty's multiple sclerosis made it hard for her to move and Eddie said he was going to get her on a "hawg." She heard "hog" and told him "No thanks." But once he convinced her to try the Harley Davidson bike, her life changed and the two of them became modern-day circuit riders. Now they lead the United Methodist Motorcycle Association, a group filled with friends who found Jesus outside the four walls of a church. In 2015, we followed them as they held a fundraising ride and retreat, and shared their faith stories.
Patty Gill: I didn’t want to do anything until he got me on the back of a motorcycle, and I felt the freedom of the road.
Eddie Gill: All right, you in there? Okay, baby.
Patty Gill’s husband, Eddie, has to help her onto their motorcycle. She has multiple sclerosis.
The Harley Davidson--
Eddie Gill: Ha, ha, look at that smile!
…their mission…these things are all therapy, for the two United Methodists from Oklahoma.
Patty and Eddie ride with Jesus, and anybody else who wants to join in as they pursue their “Million Miles For Christ” ministry...helping and organizing other bikers…and raising money for children’s charities.
Eddie Gill: We really truly want to be the 21st century circuit riders.
In early America, Methodist preachers would travel a territory on horseback. Eddie and Patty use horsepower.
Group prays: Lord we thank you...
Some may look like outlaw bikers. And, actually have lived such lives.
Tim Lawson: I’ve been stabbed twice; I been shot twice; been in prison twice; and look where I’m at now, riding a motorcycle for Jesus and we’re doing a retreat today to send disabled kids to camp. How? He’s got a purpose, he’s not done with me yet.
These riders do not all come from a similar past. But they do all share an abiding appreciation of what they describe as the spiritual effects of riding in the open.
Percy Brown: You can feel the difference in temperature from one section of road to another. In the morning, you can feel the warmth of the sun. If you can’t feel the Creation, the wonder of God on a bike, your wood is wet, that’s all I can say.
Eddie Gill: A lot of people we encounter have given up on the church. And we just plant the seed.
Patty Gill: When I first got diagnosed I was mad, like anyone would be. My attitude now is, if this is the way God wants to use me, I’m here for him. On the back of the bike, I’m part of the party. I can minister to people when we stop and get gas at rest stops and campgrounds.
Eddie Gill used to be a barber. He describes this new life’s work as having come to him straight from God- literally.
Eddie Gill: He said I want you to put Christ on the front of that motorcycle. I want you to go a million miles for Christ. I want you to go coast to coast and start the United Methodist Motorcycle Association. I really thought, “Are you talking to me God!? I don’t have tattoos or long hair, how can I be an influence in this ministry?”
Eddie Gill: A lot of people are dying just to be asked to come back to church.
Tim Lawson: I didn’t grow up with a church background. It never crossed my mind to go to church. I was partying on the weekends. It’s just been a blessing. The motorcycle ministry has really brought a lot of people together that have struggled the same struggles. You’re not alone.
For more information, contact the Million Miles 4 Christ Ministry.