Evangelism on wheels
As president of the Peacemakers No. 674, the local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association established in the late 1990s, Critcher is able to enjoy the best of both worlds -- especially when accompanied by his fellow riders on their mission to share and show the love of Jesus Christ to others.
"The fellowship of a group of Christian motorcycle riders can't be beat," Critcher said, "but telling others about Jesus and seeing someone come to accept the Lord as their personal savior, is priceless."
Not only do the Peacemakers share the "good news" with strangers in a variety of settings on a regular basis, but they also serve as a source of encouragement for each other, Critcher said.
Easily recognized as evangelists on wheels, the Peacemakers, as well as the other thousands of CMA chapters across the country, seek to change the world, Critcher said, "One heart at a time."
While their evangelism outreach is geared primarily to the motorcycling community, their service to humanity is without borders.
"Whether in the secular world or in a church setting, we are there to lend a hand -- whenever and wherever we can, " Critcher said.
First and foremost, membership in the nondenominational group requires a testimony of faith in Jesus Christ, but secondary is a servant's heart and attitude toward doing good for others, he said.
It's common to see members of the Peacemakers serving water to marathon runners or popcorn and cotton candy to youngsters at a church or community event.
Heading to a biker's rally? Don't be surprised to see the Peacemakers directing traffic, helping with parking, providing first-aid or standing at the side of a hurting individual in need of emotional or spiritual comfort.
Planning to participate in the High Country Toy Run on Oct. 13? You'll see them in action as they assist fellow members Kris and Becky Fowler raise money to buy Christmas gifts for the area's less-fortunate children.
The Peacemakers also attend numerous state and national CMA events throughout the year and travel to other gatherings, such as the annual ride to honor veterans in Washington, D.C., known as "Rolling Thunder."
"That is such an awesome event," Critcher said. "We get to pass out water and walk around sharing our faith with thousands every year."
One specific highlight for Critcher, personally, is the "Blessing of the Bikes."
"We do this almost everywhere we go -- praying over the bike and its rider, but it's something extra special there among all those veterans," he said.
Once the bike is blessed, an identifying sticker is placed upon the vehicle, with the owner's consent.The Peacemakers have numerous accounts of how their "blessings" made a difference in many lives.It is vital, Critcher said, that members of the easily recognized group conduct themselves in a way that upholds biblical principles.
"When people see us wearing our vests with that CMA patch on the back, we need to be representing Christ and to be seen as men and women of integrity -- no smoking, drinking or cursing, especially," he said. "Most people respect us for that and know that we can be counted on to help and not cause any problems, wherever we are."
The Peacemakers gather at the Dan'l Boone Inn in Boone on the first Saturday of each month for breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a business meeting at 9 a.m.
In addition to Critcher, officials include Hunter Birckhead, vice president; Keith Honeycutt, chaplain; Gail Presnell, secretary; David Bickel, treasurer; Wayne Scruggs, road captain; state coordinators David and Lorri Richey; and Laurie Snyder, newsletter editor.
"We have a great group of officers," Critcher said. "I couldn't -- and wouldn't -- do a thing without them or make any decisions without their input."
According to John Ogden Sr., CEO and chairman of the board of directors for CMA, headquartered in Hatfield, Ark., CMA was present in 30 countries as of 2011; more than 170,000 people were ministered to by CMA members around the nation and more than 16,000 salvations were reported by CMA members and chapters in the United States.
Additionally, more than 13 million people received Christ as their Savior through Run for the Son, the association's only fundraiser, which has raised more than $44 million in the past 25 years, Critcher said.
This year alone, nearly $4 million was raised. The amount is divided with three partnering ministries -- the Jesus Film Project, Missionary Ventures and Open Doors.
The funds are used to spread the gospel around the world.
For more information about the Peacemakers, call Danny Critcher at (828) 964-2100 or email (email@example.com)