When Heart of the City Bicycles opens its doors at 9 a.m. on Fridays, a diverse group of people stops by the shop. A father and son arrive early to volunteer, fixing bicycles during the 9-12 p.m. shop hours. A homeless man comes to have his bicycle fixed. Two Fort Wayne city bike patrol officers visit the shop. A father and his four children arrive to serve and earn bicycles.
The bicycle shop, a ministry of Mission Church, serves patrons in Fort Wayne’s (Indiana) inner city. However, the ministry offers more than bicycle repair; they offer relationships, freedom, control, and an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty through an apprenticeship program and an earn-a-bike program through service.
When Michael Brown joined co-pastor Tim Stauffer at Mission Church, he brought a passion for cycling and a talent for fixing bicycles. Even though Heart of the City Bicycles already existed, Michael wanted to find it a more permanent home, so for 7 years, the bike shop has been at their Cass Street location.
When Heart of the City Bicycles has extra donated bikes, the ministry reaches beyond Fort Wayne to partner with Working Bikes. The Chicago-based organization is committed to providing bicycles for people who need them for transportation in Chicago and developing countries. To date, Mission Church has donated 7,000 bikes to Working Bikes.