He pedaled through the night in sub-freezing temperature for turkeys.
This area's "renegade preacher" Greg Locke once again went for the "wow factor" last week to draw attention to his second annual turkey drive.
However, instead of just asking community members to donate turkeys to Global Vision Bible Church to give away to neighbors in need, he took his love of cycling to a new height. Locke challenged himself to pedal on his stationery bike until at least 100 frozen turkeys found their way to the church bus parked in the middle of the parking lot.
"Our church has a culture of extravagant generosity," Locke said just after last Wednesday's church service. "I'm willing to brave the cold and dark of winter until at least 100 turkeys are delivered to the church so we can freely and lovingly give to those in the community who need them."
And, he did, into the night and nearly to noon the next day. Dressed in thermal clothing with coffee nearby, Locke jumped on his bike and started pedaling at 8 p.m. last Wednesday as the temperature dipped to 23 degrees and the winds whipped up to 25 miles per hour.
"Fifteen hours and 45 minutes," Locke recalled. "It definitely was a challenge, but sometimes you have to do the unusual to get attention."
One hundred seventy-eight turkeys were donated while he kept up his grueling challenge.
Through the night and until noon the next day people from all across Wilson County traveled to the little church on Old Lebanon Dirt Road to see the "crazy preacher guy" pedaling away.
"Sometimes it was lonely and exhausting," said Locke. "I just asked people to pray and bring turkeys. Some brought coffee and hot chocolate and were morale boosters. I just pedaled and pedaled."
Saturday Locke and members of his congregation set up a drive-through at the church so people could easily pick up a donated turkey. Some members were at the corner of North Mt. Juliet Road and Old Lebanon Dirt Road and held signs that said "free turkey" with arrows pointing the way.
"This is just great, just what we needed," said a man who drove up in a mini-van. "We are thankful."
Last year the church simply asked people to donate turkeys, but "we ran out in an hour," said Locke.
On Saturday the turkey giveaway was a success with a "rush" of people driving in for a free turkey.
"We hope people will have a wonderful Thanksgiving now," said Locke. "We always think of ways to generate generosity."
Locke is known for his outside-the-box community outreach. Two years ago he camped atop a 30-foot scissor lift to encourage people to donate bicycles for local children. His congregation took part in a "homeless project" and spent a weekend on the streets of Nashville to garner attention to the homeless population. Locke also biked across the nation to get donations for the church's building fund.
Writer Laurie Everett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.