Marc and Sharon Christensen moved to the Key Peninsula a mere 18 months ago but they’re already getting connected with the community.
They’ve started a Christian Motorcycle Association (CMA) group to bring together fellow motorcycle enthusiasts.
Originally, Sharon Christensen said, they had planned to be involved with CMA “on the fringe” as a way to get together with Sharon’s brother and sister-in-law.
“They were involved with CMA back in Virginia and they had an RV and we thought we’d just hang out with them.
“But God had other plans,” she said.
The Christensens bought their first motorcycle in August of 2008 and two months later Sharon’s brother and sister-in-law had a terrible accident. Her brother was killed on his bike; his wife was injured.
They were about five hours from their home in Virginia, she said. “When we heard about the accident I got in touch with their CMA chaplain and he contacted the CMA chapter where the accident happened.
“The local CMA members stayed at the hospital with my sister-in-law until their son could get there from Spokane. Then the CMA members put up my nephew in their home for three weeks. They had never met him or my sister-in-law before that,” she said.
When the Christensens “saw how loving and kind those people were, God just told us ‘…any organization like that, you need to be a part of,’” Sharon said with a smile.
At that time the Christensens were living in Oregon, so they joined a CMA chapter and soon were asked to be involved on the state CMA level, Marc Christensen said.
When they moved to Washington, they connected with the Bremerton CMA chapter and recently volunteered to be involved in state leadership in Washington, he said.
Their first task is to form a Gig Harbor CMA group.
“We don’t even have any members yet,” Marc said. “But I think some of the Bremerton members and Tacoma members might want to join a Gig Harbor chapter. And of course we want to connect with the motorcycle folks here on the Key.”
CMA is a kind of ministry for the Christensens. “The focus is on ministering to motorcyclists,” he said.
“I’m not a pastor and never want to be one. But there are motorcycle events all over the place and we go to an event and serve there in some capacity,” he said.
It might be something like leading a morning devotion, or helping check in other riders at an event, Sharon said.
“We call it ‘earning the right to speak.’ Other people call it building a relationship. If you want to talk to people about coming to Christ, you have to build that relationship,” Marc said. “It’s a servant ministry. We go to serve.”
CMA works with many different kinds of groups, from kids who ride dirt bikes to the black leather guys who ride Harleys. Currently there are about 1200 CMA chapters in the U.S. and chapters in 30 other countries.
“I was amazed to learn how widespread their reach is,” Marc said. “Our CMA patch is recognized everywhere.”
“Sometimes this is the only church that some of these hardcore bikers are ever going to see,” Sharon added. “And if we can win someone to Christ, it’s a great thing.”
The Christensens are “doing something we love. We’re out riding motorcycles and talking about motorcycles. It’s kind of a natural thing –– you’re more out in nature. I find it really relaxing,” Marc said
“And the smells are so wonderful. You just cannot get that in the car,” Sharon added.
The couple emphasized that they’re not a church. “But if we’re able to reach somebody, we try to connect them with a local church so they can be fed by that,” Marc said.
They hope to draw bikers from the Narrows Bridge to Port Orchard and Bremerton. They’re working with local churches to spread the word about their new CMA chapter. And they’re planning to do events on the fourth Saturday of each month.
The next gathering will take place March 26 at the Gig Harbor Subway on Point Fosdick Drive.
“If you ride motorcycles and are a Christian or if you just have a heart for motorcyclists –– it can be Hells Angels or just families doing dirt bikes in the woods somewhere –– everyone is welcome.”