By Holly Wise
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE - Going with the flow takes on a new meaning when it originates from heaven and is directed by someone unseen. But that's exactly what Gatesville pastor Monty Van Horn has done.
"God's got bigger ideas," he said. "We just go with the flow."
The road to opening the Highway 2 Heaven Biker Church doors for the first time on Jan. 17 was laced with challenges and fleeces before God, Van Horn said.
The first Sunday four people attended -Van Horn, his wife, Tammy, his mother, Ruth Taflinger, and young grandson. They met in their home until the church building on Main Street became available.
"That was the first Sunday and there's never been four people since," Tammy said.
Van Horn was sent to Iraq three times as a civilian contractor building tanks. In 2006, he said he told God that if he saw one salvation during an evening church service he would start a church upon his arrival home.
"Then I thought I was being too hard on God," he laughed. "I changed it to one rededication."
Twenty-one individuals showed up that night. Four were saved and 15 rededicated their lives to Jesus, Van Horn said.
"I cried," he said. "I'll remember those numbers the rest of my life."
When he returned to the States, he preached in different churches and served as the associate pastor of others.
"When I came back, the doors opened up right away," he said, although not in the way he expected. As time passed so did the opportunities to preach.
"The Lord allowed those doors to be shut in various ways," he said.
"He talked to me through my wife," he added. "Tammy kept telling me maybe we should start a church. God told me, 'that's not your wife talking, that's me.'"
Since the first meeting in January, the church has grown to host an average of 28-32 parishioners a week.
"If this wasn't of God, it wouldn't be taking off like this," he said. "For a church still going through its labor pains at nine months, that's good."
While the church caters to bikers, Van Horn said people who don't ride are welcome, too.
People like Barbara Davis prefer to ride in a "cage" behind the bikers.
"I love the preaching," Davis said. "I like them and I'm going to stay with them."
Randall Haferkamp has known the Van Horns for a long time.
"You need to just come here on a Sunday morning and feel his Spirit moving," he said. "It's the same way on Wednesday; you'll see here in a little bit."
Members wear signature highlighter yellow shirts with the name of the church scrolled across the front.
"When they see these shirts they know who we are," Taflinger said. The yellow sign also draws attention to the church's Sunday morning 11 a.m. service and Wednesday night's Bible study.
"The sign lets bikers know they're welcome," Van Horn said. "Every church has a culture. Some of the verbiage we use may not be known by other folks unless they ride a lot."
Van Horn's vision for the church is simple.
"I'm staying out of his way," he said. "The vision has to be fluid because the Holy Spirit is."
Contact Holly Wise at email@example.com or (254) 501-7474.