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Connecting the JESUS Film Project® to a group of Christian bikers might have seemed unlikely. However, a wonderful relationship has blossomed out of a handful of "chance" meetings.
A small group of men saw a need among the motorcycling community to hear about Jesus. Often overlooked by the body of Christ for being "different," these bikers used their common ground to build relationships with others and ultimately point them to Christ. In 1975, their prayers and vision led to the founding of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, or CMA.
Not content to be just another recreational group traversing America's highways, this ministry's vision became to "change the world, one heart at a time." Represented in over 20 countries, CMA also annually raises funds for other select ministries.
"We partner with ministries with world-reaching potential," says Holly Ogden, assistant to CMA president and chairman of the board, John Ogden, Sr.
These ministries also sponsor and host several CMA members to participate in international mission trips.
It was on these mission trips that CMA became aware of the JESUS film. "Everywhere they had gone in the world, they had kind of run into the JESUS film being shown," says Chris McQuirk, a JESUS Film Project regional manager.
Chris remembers his first encounter with CMA fondly. "They gave a gift of $10,000 to the JESUS Film Project. I called them and thanked them. They called me back later and said, 'We want you to come to one of our rallies.'"
Not familiar with the motorcycling community, Chris decided to face his own stereotypes and make the trip from his home in Texas to neighboring Arkansas. He learned about how CMA already regularly supported 2 partner ministries with funds raised at their annual Run for the Son event.
To his surprise, they were about to have a third.
"On stage, they asked me in front of everybody how I'd feel if they would commit to give $200,000 [to our ministry] that year," says Chris. He, of course, accepted.
And CMA didn't stop there.
Since 1997, they have raised and donated over $4 million to the JESUS Film Project. In November 2007, 4 of their members traveled to Mali in Western Africa with a translation of the film they had helped fund.
For Randal Tebeau, a CMA staff member, traveling to Mali in person gave a fresh perspective of why the JESUS film is such a worthwhile investment.
"There's no way the team could have talked to that many people, especially not knowing the language," says Randal of the nearly 2,400 people who viewed the film during their 13-day trip. "The film makes a big impact because it shares the gospel in a non-threatening way."
CMA has shown that even though their heart is for a specific part of society, they desire for all people of every walk of life to have the opportunity to meet Jesus.
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