When the Church Hoppers arrived at Freedom Biker Church they weren’t sure what to expect. In Church Rescue: Biker Church Reborn, their first impression was that the church décor was less biker bar and more elementary school. They redecorated, gave Pastor Greg Spurling some ideas on how to help build a bigger congregation and also learned a few surprise lessons about biker culture. So how are Pastor Greg, his wife Dakota and the Freedom Biker Church faring today? We checked in to see what he thought of his experience and what has been happening since filming.
What was the most challenging part of working with the Church Hoppers?
I guess the most challenging part would be they were out of their element in a biker church. They are not bikers and don’t know how to reach bikers or keep respect in the biker community. They meant well, but you have to build a relationship before you can get to a place where you can talk to them. You have to gain their respect first. I have been a biker the majority of my life. I understand the culture.
What was the best part of working with the Church Hoppers?
With the Hoppers and the film crew coming in we were able to make some improvements to our building that we couldn’t afford to do on our own. The church was a really great building when we opened, but it was getting a bit run down. The congregation loved the work they did on the church. They really loved the orange and black paint. It was really cool because a lot of our people were able to get involved in the work.
The Church Hoppers learned pretty quickly that reaching out to bikers takes time and a low key approach. Are you still doing outreach?
Dakota and I are always out in the community. In the months when the weather is good we go to bike nights and bars. We build relationships by spending time and getting to know the community. I introduce myself as “Greg” not “Pastor Greg” or “Preacher Greg.” We talk about Freedom Biker Church when it comes up. We never advertise the church. Everything has been word of mouth. Also our t-shirts are great advertisement.
Has your congregation been growing?
We opened in 2010 and started the church with six people. Now we average about 150. Some of the bikers come from 50 to 60 miles away to attend. Since April, we have baptized more than 20 people.
Do you have pretty steady attendance?
If it is a time of the year when a lot of rallies are going on, some people will be in and out. There is a majority who are always there.
It’s great that the congregation doesn’t feel like they need to miss out on motorcycle rallies. That is obviously an important component of biker culture.
I know. Sometimes I’m jealous because I’m not there. Still, Dakota and I will go and stay until Saturday afternoon. Then we ride back home at night so I can preach on Sunday morning.
How does your sponsoring church, Hull’s Grove Baptist Church feel about the work you’ve been doing? Are they happy?
Most definitely. I think they are surprised at our rate of growth. They are ecstatic. With the congregation growing, our finances have improved. We will definitely continue with our partnership into the future. Even without the financial need, Hull’s Grove will still to be a great support system.
What, if anything, are you still struggling with?
We don’t have any really large struggles. Nothing that I’m losing sleep over. God has been so good to us. He is blessing us more than we could even ask for and we’re running with it!
So what is the future of Freedom Biker Church?
Freedom Biker Church is a network of churches. The Hickory, NC Church will continue. In fact, we’re hoping in the springtime to move to a larger church. We are really close to outgrowing the building. I also envision us building more micro-churches, sending people out to do the same thing in other places. That way we can reach more people and grow.
Pastor Greg continues to grow his congregation and definitely sees a bright future for Freedom Biker Church. Tune in next week to Church Rescue: Full Gospel Resurrected on Monday November 25 at 10PM et/pt and check out who the Church Hoppers help next.