Sunday, August 5, 2012

Anderson Indiana Bike ministry provides fellowship opportunity for cycling enthusiasts




ANDERSON, Ind. — What started out as a weekly training ride turned into a ministry for Madison Park Church of God.

“After we finished up (training) we decided we were having too much fun and we thought, ‘Let’s keep doing this,’” said Bruce Jones, coordinator for Madison Park’s Bicycle Ministry. “And it is a great fellowship opportunity.”

Jones and Keith Stork, then associate minister at what was once known as North Anderson Church of God, started the group about seven years ago. There are anywhere from two to 13 on the ride that typically is between 14 and 27 miles, depending on the skill level and paces of the riders.

“We never leave anyone behind,” Jones said, pointing out that the group can adjust its pace or may split into two groups.

The group takes off from Madison Park’s parking lot after a group prayer at 6 p.m. every Tuesday between the summer and fall.

Pete Spoo, a Madison Park member who is one of the original riders, said a decades-long love of bicycles and Christian fellowship keep him coming week after week. He said the weekly rides also give him a chance to reach out to those who may be looking for a church.

An ice cream stop is part of most rides, Jones said, joking that some of them ride “just for the ice cream.” He laughed, saying their route often planned around dessert.

“I’ve become friends with several in the group,” Jones said. “I really enjoy cycling and it is something I can do with my family. I started out taking my daughter out with me on the back end of my mountain bike. Now, Bailey, who is 15, does her own riding with us.”

Pastor Gary Marcum, of New Beginnings Church, initially started biking to improve his health and has lost about 35 pounds.

“I feel better and really enjoy riding with the guys,” he said, joking that they do a lot of “yakking.” “Being with other Christians is good too. The language is clean and the company good.”

Kevin Barker, who has been riding with the group for about four years, said the fellowship is enjoyable and makes for a quick ride.

“People think they may not be able to do it, that it is too much, but if they come out they’ll see we ride at a conversational pace, there’s good Christian fellowship and it is a great place to be,” said Barker, who is a member of New Beginnings.

Jones stressed that while it is an outreach of Madison Park, the weekly ride is open to anyone.

 
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By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin - http://heraldbulletin.com/

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