Bikes and Bibles, Inc.
Objective: The primary objective of Bikes and Bibles, Inc. is charitable, specifically, to provide utilitarian bicycles and native-language Christian bibles to those pastors and village leaders in Africa who have limited resources. We have also begun to provide grants covering a portion of the costs of motorcycles to pastoral and community leaders who cover a wider territory frequently requiring their presence to teach and supervise other pastors and community leaders.
Reason: Pastors in local African villages often are without significant compensation from their congregations. They serve as local pastors, essentially volunteers though perhaps appointed by a denomination. The pastors, also serving as community leaders, often earn almost total support as local farmers or trades people within the village, town, or city. They rely on small farm plots or gardens to support their family while pastoring and serving as a community leader in a territory that spans several square miles. Transportation is often by foot. A bicycle is a vital tool for connections in ministry and community life. Examples: A pastor put a sick woman on his bike and took her to a medical clinic several miles away. A pastor’s family harvests a crop, loads it onto their bicycle, and pushes it to a marketplace. A pastor’s bicycle is frequently loaned or rented to other village members for such use.
History: Bikes and Bibles, Inc. was incorporated in 2015 as a Georgia, non-profit corporation, but it also operated in 2014 and 2015 as a component of the Kilpatrick Charitable Trust, a private foundation. Assisted by a grant for administration (web-development) from the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, the initial distribution of bicycles came in 2014 with a gift of $7,000 from Joe Kilpatrick for 40 bicycles and bibles distributed in the nation of Sierra Leone. By 2016 annual funding from public sources exceeded $80,000 with 300 bicycles and bibles distributed in seven African countries. The very poor nation of the Congo (DRC) has received the greatest number of bicycles and bibles and motorcycles.
Method of Distribution: The funds are sent into Africa, perhaps to the office of a denomination or local ministry leader, but frequently sent directly via international wire transfer to a retail supplier of bicycles or bibles followed by delivery to local ministry leadership. Local ministry leaders, approved by our president and directors, make the decision as to the final recipients. They consider the physical location of the pastor’s local church (frequently rural,) and the pastor’s level of need. We strive for a public presentation to a group of pastors to validate, appreciate and encourage the wider group of ministers. We seek a respond with photographs and videos of the presentations.
The people of Bikes and Bibles: In the United States, Joe Wesley Kilpatrick, Sr. president, leads the work of Bikes and Bibles. Joe is a retired Certified Public Accountant, a life-time Methodist with long service, including membership on national committees. Joe is a trustee at Asbury Theological Seminary and a former director of the United Methodist Publishing House. Joe has traveled to Africa since 2006. He serves Bikes and Bibles as an uncompensated volunteer. Carole H. Kilpatrick, Joe’s wife, serves as the Secretary of Bikes and Bibles, Inc.
Also in the United States, Rev. Rurel Ausley is a key advisor in this work. Rurel is lead pastor of Crosspoint Church in Niceville, Florida, and is also a Trustee at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married to Lisa, an ordained Deacon, teacher, missionary and writer, who serves on the OMS Board of Directors.
Rurel appreciates the key role Africa’s UM pastors and laity have played in growth of the Christian Kingdom. He travels to Africa annually to teach pastors and leaders where he reaches United Methodist, Global Methodists and Angelian pastors with practical ministry concepts developed by the International Leadership Institute (ILI). Crosspoint church often sponsors an “African Advent” and raises tens of thousands of dollars each year funding distributions of Bikes and Bibles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the DRC, formerly Zaire. Rev. Ausley believes that God’s blessings of energy, excitement, and vitality flow when congregation capture the vision of Jesus words, “…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Africans in leadership roles: In the Southern portion of the DRC, Rev. Dr. Kasap-Owan provided leadership to our work, beginning in 2017 and continuing in his role as a Bishop. Bishop Kasap is well connected as a member of a major chief’s family and through his service as president of Katanga Methodist University (the pioneer education mission station in the Congo) where he supervised pastoral training.
Rev. Dr. Kimba Evariste is a director who provides leadership of Bikes and Bibles throughout the DRC and in the African countries of Tanzania and Tanganyika. Kimba earned his D. Min degree at St Paul School of Theology in the USA. he is serving in the DRC as a leader in the Global Methodist Church.
Rev. Francis Charley is a UM District Superintendent, and Dean of the Bishop’s cabinet, in the African country of Sierra Leone.
The Rev. Dr. Jerry Kulah was a UM District Superintendent in the African country of Liberia where he now serves as dean of the School of Theology at The Methodist University.
Compensation of Officers and Directors. Joe Kilpatrick, Carole Kilpatrick and Rev. Rurel Ausley, like all American officers and directors, serve as volunteers without compensation. Some directors from Africa, each receive a fee about $1,000 annually for their logistical and support services within Africa.