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MAG bikerchurch Members of Heaven’s Highway Biker Church in Oregon place their hands in prayer on Tanya Zam of Oregon, who recently had knee surgery.
Members of Heaven’s Highway Biker Church in Oregon place their hands in prayer on Tanya Zam of Oregon, who recently had knee surgery.
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Published: Sunday, 12/1/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago


Riding with God

‘Biker church' aims to transform lives


Rob Curtis still wears his rings, leather vest, and answers to his old outlaw motorcycle club name: "Bam-Bam."

But underneath the tough exterior he's a transformed man.

A year ago, the Toledo resident helped found Heaven's Highway Biker Church — the area's only congregation for Bible-bound bikers in black.

PHOTO GALLERY: Heaven's Highway Biker Church

Mr. Curtis found redemption through Christ in 2008, leaving his old rabble-rousing life behind after reading scripture. He wanted to join a church but was met by funny looks when he strode in wearing a bandana, Harley shirt, and jeans.

People used to scatter when he walked into a bar and "it started to get like that at church," he said.

After prayer, he and others decided to start a church that welcomed outsiders, outlaws, and anyone on the fringe or wearing fringe.

"We're called to be a little different," he said. "We're there to minister to those who are still broken and lost."

Anywhere from 25 to 75 people might show up for a Wednesday night service, and the support group Celebrate Recovery meets Thursdays to help those recovering from addictions.

"We call it a biker church, but you don't have to be a biker to come," Mr. Curtis said. "We're here to love on anybody."

That includes former outlaw club members, ex-convicts, and ex-prostitutes who meet for services and fellowship at Hope Ministries of Toledo, 525 S. Coy Rd. in Oregon. It's a place for people with a past who have turned to God for their future.

The goal: Transform lives through the gospel. It's not about being moved by emotion or momentarily swayed by a preacher who "tickled the ears a little bit."

More and more, Mr. Curtis answers to another name: Pastor Rob.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.

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