29 June, 2022

Cycling Group Raises $1 Million for Global Youth Ministry

by | 26 April, 2022 | 5 comments

By Chris Moon

Ends of the Earth Cycling has hit the $1 million mark.

The ministry, which has close ties to the Restoration Movement and hosts multiday cycling rides across the country, has raised more than $1 million for youth ministries around the world during its 10 years in existence.

The organization—part of New International, a missions group based in Fort Myers, Fla.—celebrated the milestone earlier this month.

“Eight years ago, we set a goal to raise $1 million,” said Justin Hanneken, executive director of Ends of the Earth Cycling. “This month, we just met our goal.”

To date, Ends of the Earth Cycling has organized 43 cycling tours in 35 states. Each tour has lasted from five to seven days and covered 300 to 500 miles. About 1,300 people have participated, either as riders or as support team members.

Each ride aims to raise funds for a specific youth ministry in a foreign country. Riders raise money and pray for the needs of the ministry they will support. They also pray for the overall needs of the country where the ministry is located.

“It really is a mission trip. The cycling is really kind of a tool,” Hanneken said.

In the end, he said, Ends of the Earth Cycling provides for the needs of international youth ministries while at the same time bringing together like-minded Christians in the United States.

“[God] brings the most random people together,” Hanneken said.

JUSTIN HANNEKEN

NOT A CYCLIST
Hanneken said he wasn’t a cyclist when Ends of the Earth Cycling got its start.

Instead, Hanneken’s boss at New International urged him in the fall of 2011 to plan a bike ride for youth pastors, simply as a way to gather them for fellowship.

That first effort had an ambitious goal—a 300-mile bike ride from Fort Myers to Key West, Fla.

But, again, Hanneken wasn’t a cyclist.

So, he got on his bike one day and decided to see how far he could ride. He made it 12 miles. Only 12 miles.

Back then, Hanneken was 60 pounds heavier than today. Cycling, he said, “was the furthest thing from my desire.”

But Hanneken kept at it, adding one mile per day until February 2012 when he organized the 300-mile ride across Florida.

Twelve riders and one support staff participated. They raised $7,700. Ten percent went to keeping the program running. The rest of the funds supported a youth ministry in Bulgaria.

“In that moment, Ends of the Earth Cycling was born,” Hanneken said.

The next year, 39 people participated in the ride and raised $45,000.

Soon, the vision was to host tours in all 50 states and to raise $1 million. The $1 million goal has been met, and Ends of the Earth Cycling has reached 35 states so far.

In July, a tour in Vermont will mark its 36th state. A tour in Alaska in September will be the 37th.

KINGDOM WORK
Each tour is organized by someone local to the region where the tour will take place.

“We’re looking for people with the same vision,” Hanneken said. “We look for one person who loves Jesus, loves missions, and loves cycling.”

Once a tour is organized, the primary difficulty is to get local riders to participate. Hanneken called it “the number one challenge for us.” Many riders come in from other places and have been part of Ends of the Earth rides elsewhere. 

Les Hardin, professor of New Testament at Johnson University Florida, has been involved in nearly every aspect of Ends of the Earth Cycling. He and his daughter, Leah, began going on tours with the group in 2016.

Ends of the Earth Cycling’s fundraising success, Hardin said, is “a testimony to what the people of God can accomplish when we’re all focused on a common, kingdom-centric goal.”

The group has had a close connection with both of Johnson University’s campuses—in Florida and Tennessee. It has scheduled tours during Johnson’s spring break and has started and ended a tour at Johnson’s campus in Knoxville.

And Johnson University has even supplied a 15-passenger van to serve as a support vehicle during some tours.

Hardin says each tour is a “kingdom-y endeavor.”

“You wouldn’t otherwise think how riding bikes is about the gospel,” he said.

Hardin said he’s happy that 90 percent of the funds raised by each participant goes directly into youth ministry work abroad. Contrast that with so many other kinds of overseas missions work, where travel expenses consume the bulk of the money raised.

MAKING CONNECTIONS
Hardin said relationships are forged on each tour.

“On a tour like this, eventually you come to the end of yourself,” he said. “That’s where you meet Jesus. And you meet him in his people. Those people serve you and love on you, and you see the hands and feet of Jesus in action.”

Each evening on a tour, participants typically stay at a church. They have a worship leader and a pastor along for the ride. Many discussions take place.

Hanneken recalled a group of riders in Florida going snorkeling one afternoon and meeting a woman who was intrigued by what they were doing. She’s now slated to join the Alaska tour.

Another rider was challenged by the tour pastor to reconnect with his estranged son. One day on the ride, the pastor handed the man a phone.

“You know what you need to do right now,” the pastor told him.

The father and son have since reconnected.

The changes in the lives of riders can be physical, too.

Hanneken recalled a man at a church in Florida who heard him speak about the cycling tours. Hanneken said the man was a “country boy” who was a bit out of shape. The man said he planned to join one of the rides.

“There is no way this guy is getting on a bike with us,” Hanneken remembered thinking.

However, the man jumped in on Ends of the Earth Cycling’s 10-week, pre-ride training regimen. The next time Hanneken saw him, the man had lost 55 pounds and had gotten off six prescription medications.

“God shows up in these radical ways,” Hanneken said.

Chris Moon is a pastor and writer living in Redstone, Colorado.

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

5 Comments

  1. Dan Rabourn

    This is such an amazing organization. I was first introduced to Ends Cycling through a missionary friend, and did my first ride with them in North & South Carolina in 2018. I have since done 4 more of their rides in Florida and the state of Washington. The rides are well organized, challenging, and fun. The friends I have made through these rides have become like a second family to me.
    I have also seen firsthand the incredible results of their fundraising while visiting an orphanage they rode and raised funds for in N Macedonia.
    Pray, Pedal, Repeat. They are the real deal!

  2. Micky Franklin

    An AMAZING Ministry through cycling! Love being a partner by supporting a friend who is on the team!

  3. John kinnan

    To God be the glory!

  4. Kenny Sacht

    So good. All of us at Wipe Every Tear are so happy and celebrating ✋ with you. To Jesus be it all.

  5. Justin Hanneken

    So thankful for Christian Standard Magazine telling this story so well! Honored to partner with you and consider you a FRIEND of Ends Cycling. To God be the Glory and thanks everyone for your kind comments.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Christian Cycling Group Raises $1 Million for International Youth Ministries | Leland Baptist - […] to Christian Standard, the milestone was accomplished by Ends of the Earth Cycling, which is associated with the New…
  2. Christian Biking Staff Raises $1 Million for Global Early life Ministries – Bezaleel Global Ministries - […] step with Christian Usual, the milestone used to be completed through Ends of the Earth Biking, which is related…

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