Riding for the Son: Inside a Christian motorcycle club

·1 min read
Pastor Mozzy Delpeche (right) leads a prayer for a couple who had recently purchased a new motorcycle at a weekly CMA service in Johannesburg (EPA)
Pastor Mozzy Delpeche (right) leads a prayer for a couple who had recently purchased a new motorcycle at a weekly CMA service in Johannesburg (EPA)

Sitting astride their metal steeds they speed down the highway on the way to a church service in the nearby township.

Heads turn and people look up from their phones as the CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) ride to a small non-biker church for the inter-denominational Sunday church service to help spread the word of God.

Motorcycle gangs and clubs are often associated with the hardcore, often outlawed motorcycle clubs such as the Hells Angels, Bandidos and Warlocks.

A CMA member and his friend pray during a weekly church service in Midrand, Johannesburg (EPA)
A CMA member and his friend pray during a weekly church service in Midrand, Johannesburg (EPA)
Members of the Midvaal chapter of the CMA ride with other club bikers from their church in Vereeniging to a township church in nearby Sebokeng, Johannesburg (EPA)
Members of the Midvaal chapter of the CMA ride with other club bikers from their church in Vereeniging to a township church in nearby Sebokeng, Johannesburg (EPA)
A pastor leads a prayer at the funeral service of legendary local biker ‘Crusty’ Barnes at the CMA church in Midrand (EPA)
A pastor leads a prayer at the funeral service of legendary local biker ‘Crusty’ Barnes at the CMA church in Midrand (EPA)
A CMA member simply known as ‘H’ shows his Christian rings and armband during the annual CMA South Africa national rally (EPA)
A CMA member simply known as ‘H’ shows his Christian rings and armband during the annual CMA South Africa national rally (EPA)

In contrast, the CMA, which was founded in 1975 by Arkansas pastor Herb Shreve, aims to bring the word of God to the biker communities they ride with.

CMA South Africa started in 1980 and has more than 1,000 members in most cities and towns in the country. It is a multi-denominational, multi-racial ministry and uses ‘friendship evangelism’ within the biker community to try to reach out to bikers who may need help and who may ultimately give their lives over to God and become a member.

Members of the CMA Midvaal chapter listen to a sermon from a chapter member at their biker church in Vereeniging (EPA)
Members of the CMA Midvaal chapter listen to a sermon from a chapter member at their biker church in Vereeniging (EPA)
Three members of the CMA hug each other during the annual CMA rally (EPA)
Three members of the CMA hug each other during the annual CMA rally (EPA)
Township residents look on as members of the Midvaal chapter of the CMA ride from their church (EPA)
Township residents look on as members of the Midvaal chapter of the CMA ride from their church (EPA)
A CMA member sits astride her motorcycle as she prepares to ride (EPA)
A CMA member sits astride her motorcycle as she prepares to ride (EPA)

Part of their ministry also includes praying for safe riding, new motorcycles in the club, helping motorcycle delivery riders and riders in hospital, as well as travelling to motorcycle rallies to offer support at their stands.

By taking the Bible to the road and to other motorcyclists, the CMA aims to bring the word of God to an often misunderstood and feared culture.

Newly patched CMA member, Pastor Doctor Danny Molapisi (left), raises his arms in prayer at his local community church in the Sebokeng township (EPA)
Newly patched CMA member, Pastor Doctor Danny Molapisi (left), raises his arms in prayer at his local community church in the Sebokeng township (EPA)
Pastor Mozzy Delpeche guides a rider into a bath as he baptises her during a weekly service at the CMA Midvaal chapter in Vereeniging (EPA)
Pastor Mozzy Delpeche guides a rider into a bath as he baptises her during a weekly service at the CMA Midvaal chapter in Vereeniging (EPA)
People raise their hands as they pray (EPA)
People raise their hands as they pray (EPA)
CMA members say goodbye to a family as they start their 700km ride back home after their annual rally (EPA)
CMA members say goodbye to a family as they start their 700km ride back home after their annual rally (EPA)
A member jumps up to raise their hands during a performance of the church band at the annual CMA South Africa national rally (EPA)
A member jumps up to raise their hands during a performance of the church band at the annual CMA South Africa national rally (EPA)

EPA