Hello RockMTB,Wow, it’s been four years RockMTB started as a ministry!
I’ll never forget the day RockMTB germinated into a ministry. The parable of the mustard seed becoming a large tree comes to mind.
It stated one night at the Rock before service. I was speaking to Pastor Matt Chavez regarding this awesome ride. Matt was cool and not the type of Christian I expected. He was fun, loved crazy stuff and talked like a normal person. Matt was a guy I respected and understood, he was a guy who earned my trust. While I was talking about the ride, he asked me to pray about forming a Mountain Bike ministry. I thought he was joking! I was a new Christian and could not fathom what mountain biking had to do with ministry or Jesus? We were a bunch of crazy, loud, smelly guys pushing the envelop looking for the next adrenalin rush. Glorifying God through dirt and sweat – insane! That was winter 2002.
Looking back today – over four years ago – I can truly say this ride is something I never envisioned. RockMTB leaders cherish a small story called ‘Pedal’. It’s about a tandem bike (bicycle built for two) with two riders. One rider is me (you) and the other is Jesus. In the beginning I am steering and guiding where to go. Jesus is behind giving guidance, support and encouragement. Somewhere on that awesome trail Jesus takes over and I am in the back. This is when the ride gets interesting! Jesus takes me up impossible mountains and down suicidal faces. We’re wheelie dropping off ten foot ledges and hugging cliffs at tremendous speeds. The ride is insane yet exhilarating. When I start doubting, Jesus just simply instructs me to ‘Pedal’.
That is what RockMTB has been like. That first year had me trying to control everything. We took on leaders. The idea of a website took hold and we planned way too many rides. Unfortunately, I had this false need to control things, thereby stiffly the growth of the ministry. God was telling me to back off and let him lead. If you know me, ‘stubborn’ should be my middle name! That first year also saw my wife go though a miscarriage. To make matters worse, I honored my commitment to RockMTB and took the ministry to Zion National Park and Gooseberry Mesa two days AFTER the miscarriage. Yeah I was stupid, and clearly did not ‘get it’. That summer we saw the lowest turnout ever and RockMTB almost imploded. God had enough and in August sidelined me for three months with an injury on Nobel Canyon. That crash saved the ministry and grew me as a leader.
The beginning of our second year had us fired up. It was now fall of 2003 and the three months off rejuvenated the leaders. A few moved away, but God put others with amazing gifts in their place. www.RockMTB.com turned into a portal with high visitation. I also had an epiphany on what a knucklehead I’d been the following year. I therefore dedicated that year to delegating responsibility to the leaders. We also cut down on rides to twice a month. This changed rides from an obligation to a joy. The friendships formed were becoming the bedrock of our lives with weekly prayer among the leaders. That was a fantastic year and the year my wife – Sylvia became pregnant again.
The beginning of our third year started with the birth of my daughter – Bethany and two pound hamburgers. My wife was apprehensive about the ministry, but RockMTB leaders were now highly tuned into the ministry. I dedicated more time to my family and enjoyed watching this amazing group of leaders push the ministry to new levels. The two pound hamburgers came to me as a theme. If you’ve never seen two pound hamburgers, they are hard to describe! Eating one is just about impossible. That is what I envisioned for RockMTB! I wanted Christ to use the ministry in such a large way, it was impossible for us to imagine. Nothing was too large for us! It became the biggest year for RockMTB. That was also the year of the Silent Ride. Fox news showed, but we never made to TV. All-in-all, that ride drew 125 people in Mission Bay. We had jerseys made, were in races and our website was generating traffic from all over the world. Membership pushed up near 300 people and individuals around the world were asking how to set up mountain bike ministries! What a blessing, who knew any of this would have happened? Yeah, well, God of course!
The beginning of our fourth year was the year of the ‘Ploos’. Ploos in Greek means travel. Paul did a lot of traveling and was used in a mighty way. I thought it would be great if RockMTB did this as well. We thought we could do this by getting involved in secular events and groups. This was also the year I served the least with RockMTB. With Ploos in mind, I became elected to the board of directors for the San Diego Mountain Bike Association. I was also elected onto the Board of Directors for the Penasquitos Canyon Preserve CAC. Both of these are excellent and important secular organizations. Unfortunately, time is limited and time spent with them was time taken away from RockMTB. We did a few road trips which were successful (Zion, San Juan, Mt Wilson and others), however some leaders felt disconnected. I too felt like I’d lost my focus and was no longer effective. Once again I’d taken a good idea and did not see the forest through the trees. It was only a few months ago I saw my mistake. It took a blown ride and some very high emotions to open my eyes. While RockMTB did not need me; it needed a full time leader. A choice needed to be made. Either I was the primary leader, or I needed to step away – it was pulling down the ministry. A few days later I resigned from SDMBA and the PQ CAC. I’ve never been happier! Two weeks ago RockMTB leaders had a BBQ sharing a wonderful time enjoying our deep friendships.
There are eight leaders now and all are strong friends commonly rooted in our love for our Lord and Savior Jesus. We pray for each other, ride with each other, get advice from each other and know we can count on each other. These are some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life. We’ve also met and formed strong friendships with many members of RockMTB and traveled to wonderful places – what a blessing! Ever since that day with Matt, my life has changed. The places I’ve seen and people I’ve met will never be forgotten. The lives I’ve seen touched by Christ strengthen my faith and walk. I’ve had the extreme honor to walk several people to Christ due to RockMTB. Amazing.
Four and a half years ago Matt Chavez planted this little mustard seed. Lots of people helped nurture that seed and God added the water and light. Today that seed has been harvested into a wonderful tree giving shade and comfort to many people. There is no way I could have imagined anything like this. My life is so much better because I took that one little step of faith. More importantly, due to taking that step, RockMTB has made a difference on people’s lives! How can God use a bunch of sweaty, smelling guys on mountain bikes? Indeed!!!!
I want to thank all of you for your prayers, support and participation. If God is asking you to take a small step of faith, perhaps you are reading this for a reason! He may be telling you to PEDAL!
RockMTB shuts down for the summer but will be back in the fall! Please keep us in your prayers and I’ll see you on the trail!
God bless and keep the rubber side down.