What does a SBC pastor do after retirement—find a hobby?
Tommy Purvis, retired pastor of Ballardsville and DeHaven Baptist churches, bought a Harley Davidson. Soon after, he read an article in the Western Recorder on the Dakota Baptist Convention’s annual ministry to bikers at the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D.—the world’s largest.
“It was like a ‘light bulb’ suddenly coming on, and I called Buck Hill, missions director,” Purvis recalls.
After explaining the need and methodology, Hill invited Purvis to participate, and he immediately responded.
“Now I understood my sudden urge to ride, and how a hobby could be used to spread the gospel, “Purvis said. “Thousands of people ride motorcycles, many wish they could, and others are intrigued. Therefore, it’s a natural conversation-starter.”
Since talking with Hill in 2012, Purvis has returned to Sturgis five times.
This year. Dakota Baptists gave away their 11th. new Harley Davidson. The project is funded through the Dakota Baptist Convention, churches, and individuals, including volunteers who come from all over the USA. Local churches provide housing and some even provide meals.
People are invited into the ministry site on Main Street, next door to a major tattoo parlor and just down the street from a bar frequented by Hell’s Angels, Purvis said. Once inside, they are warmly greeted and invited to listen to a three-minute story of how the Lord changed the volunteers’ lives, he explained.
The listener then is invited to pray to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. “Some are uninterested and only want to register for the bike,” he said “Others move toward the Lord, but walk away—yet have a germinating seed planted in their lives.
Others accept the Lord as Savior, and those who become believers are connected with a church in their hometowns for discipleship, he noted.
This year 3,085 stories were shared with 242 people professing Jesus Christ as Savior.
Blessed by his service of volunteering in the ministry, Purvis observed: “A hobby you love is an effective way to share the story of God’s love.
“Rather than planning a ‘big church event,’ we take the church to the world,” he said, adding. “Your mission field is the one where you’re standing at the moment.” (WR)