"It's the men's club!"
This statement originated from someone who's not even in the club, and it has begun making the rounds in the club. I disagree. I think it's terrible statement. This is God's Club. The reason we've had the success we've had, is that we toil diligently to not be the ones making the decisions, to not be running this club according to our own personal whim. We place things on the Altar and pray about them, we seek the will of God, because it's the only way to have success.
Unfortunately I've seen this statement used to somehow exclude women and families. Let me be clear, my wife rode right next to me to the events when we started this club, my six year old daughter put on 10k miles riding to events with me our first year. My wife and family have hung out in 1% clubhouses with me.
Yes, we only patch men with a three-piece patch, yes business meetings are closed to only the membership, no women don't get a vote. But beyond that women and children and the families are welcomed at everything we do. In fact they invariably make things better, with their attention to detail, desire to have itineraries, and their ability to plan and prepare. You know, all the things we hate to do anyway. They take the load off the men, and put in work. At appropriate times I've never had a problem taking my daughter into a club house, or my wife, they're probably safer there than at the mall. Some events are not appropriate so they don't get taken along, but thats rare.
I remember when women started getting widely involved, and it was wonderful. I think of the Saskatoon sisters who cook an amazing breakfast, and the best cinnamon rolls in the whole world. I think of our women ministering to one percenter women, praying with them, building friendships with them. I think of Reb's wife on the side of the road in Pennsylvania, an experienced emergency room nurse patching up my brother Drifter when he went down. I think of Big Beards wife next to her man, or about teasing Shank when she wouldn't let Squirrel put his 1952 Ironhead chopper in the living room, and the tears running down the face of Scooters wife when her pastor describes the difference in him because of Disciple. I've heard many tearful testimonies from the ladies about how the club saved their marriage, and those moments are what inspire me to fight on in ministry.
The ladies are welcome,the kids are welcome. The 43 Epic Marriage page is awesome. The 43 Fatherhood page is awesome. We call to and mentor men on these things because the family is ordained by God. And they should never be excluded from Disciple. Leaders need to identify when wives are welcome, when families are welcome and when they aren't, and communicate that in advance. Women need to know they are responsible to watch kids they bring, not their husbands or others.
We are learning to welcome and focus on The Sisterhood, to provide expectations and guidelines for the ladies. And that starts with you at home, making sure your wife knows we're not hiding anything from her. It starts with the leadership making sure that the bros know their wives are welcome at events. Its making sure that women know they can reach out to the women in the clubhouse and provide a safe relationship where those women can turn in their time of need.
Club business is Club business, and each brother is responsible to make sure his wife understands that she doesn't have a vote, that this is a Brotherhood. But it's not a men's club, it's God's Club, and God ordains the family. The best way to keep your wife happy is to involve her in what happens, shield her from the drama, keep her from entering into disputes about how the club is run. But make sure she knows she has a wonderful worldwide Sisterhood of women who she can turn to when she needs help, advice, or prayer.
I involve my wife and her wonderful God given intuition in every decision I make about Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club. She's always been there as a coach, she is a co-minister in what God has given us to accomplish. I can share with her because I know from experience that she doesn't get involved in drama, that she's not going to be out there running her mouth about club business. If you don't have that same confidence about your old lady, then you need to keep things away from her when it comes to how the brothers run the club.
Finally consider this. If a prospect has put in a year to get his full patch, it's changed his life and turned his world upside down. And did the same for his bride. And she's just as proud for him to get his full patches as you are, probably. Which means she should have the opportunity to see him moved up. In general I see no reason for a ceremony where the women don't get to see their man earn something that is life-changing for both of them. You might want to prospect to be committed to the club, but he has a covenant commitment before God with his wife. And I guarantee he loves his children more than his brothers. Respect that, cuz it's the way it should be.
Welcome your woman to events, make sure that she knows that she's a priority in your life. Make sure that she doesn't resent the club because she's not allowed to be around the club. And make sure she knows this isn't man's club. It's a family thing. It's God's Club.
James Disciple Johnson
Natl President and Founder
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club