I’ve been part of this amazing community since 2001 and I still engage in conversations around the question “what is Spoke Folk?” The canned answer from years past is that Spoke Folk is a bicycle, musical, relational ministry that bikes from church to church putting on worship programs.
Several years ago Spoke Folk, with God’s nudging, got a little more serious about what we are and what we do. While everything in the first description is still true, we now have a discipleship training aspect to tour that has proven to significantly help bring students along in their faith and their everyday lives back home. But what’s the deal with Spoke Folk? Why consider tour vs going to camp or another mission trip? All of these options are great! Here’s what keeps me coming back to Spoke Folk though.
Spoke Folk is where you can be “you” and where God brings out the best version of yourself.
One of the unique things about this ministry is the way its participants and counselors are instantly accepted and loved as not only part of the community as a distant acquaintance but as a close friend or even family member that you instantly pick up with after not speaking for months as if no time has passed. There’s something about the combination of miles on the bike, late nights, praise & worship, showering with garden hoses, and fluffernutter sandwiches at the lunch stops that God uses to bond Spoke Folkers together. It’s an experience shared and appreciated even between two alumni who have never toured together and only just met for the first time off of a Spoke Folk tour. In a world so socially “connected” but actually disconnected and experiencing record depression and loneliness, Spoke Folk is a glimmer of hope for positive human connection in a Godly way and with a Godly purpose. Afterall, we haven’t been called to simply make good friends and live out our days.
The mission and true underlying purpose of Spoke Folk is to train and create community with young people that they may become missionaries in their daily lives. While on tour, we hit home the daily habits of being in the word, seeking quiet time with God, and being in prayer. We also stress the importance of engaging in what we call a discipleship relationship back home; someone who can encourage, challenge, and bring you along in your faith. Many Spoke Folk alumni are active in their churches in worship teams, young adult groups, youth leaders, and pastors.
I thank God for this ministry and the impact it’s had on my faith over the years. I learned a new genre & style of worship music and how to play in a worship band through Spoke Folk. God called me to be more active in the Word and in prayer through Spoke Folk. I’ve been blessed with too many friends to count over the years; people that feel like my family. Now my wife, Allie, and I are honored and humbled to be running this ministry. We’re excited for the future of Spoke Folk and we hope our daughter Savannah (20 months old) and our soon-to-be-born son will one day get to experience tour for themselves.
I’d like to conclude my post by sharing my favorite bible passage. It comes from 1 John chapter 4 and tells us how God IS love. This passage often reminds me of Spoke Folk and how God works through this ministry because there’s few times in my life where I feel more loved and in the presence of God more than I do while on tour. If we all just loved people a little more like Jesus did, this world would look a lot better.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
1 John 4:7-13