SBCV plans to take the Gospel to 5 racetracks in 2012
by Amanda Sullivan
FindItHere.com and the SBC of Virginia are taking the Great Commission to the track this summer. SBC of Virginia, in conjunction with the North American Mission Board (NAMB), has sponsored five FindItHere.com races in the Commonwealth of Virginia this year at racetracks around the state.
The first race is set for June 29 at the Southside Speedway in Richmond, followed by four more races: June 30 at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas; July 3 at South Boston Speedway in South Boston; July 4 at Motor Mile Speedway Christiansburg/Radford; and July 21 at Langley Speedway in Hampton.
The purpose behind this venture is to provide an opportunity for people who normally attend the races to hear and respond to the Gospel. SBCV wants to provide churches with the opportunity to share their faith in the NASCAR culture and to provide an avenue for church members to bring lost friends to the race and share the Gospel with them.
According to Darrell Webb, SBCV church health strategist for the North Region, the races will provide a “family-friendly atmosphere” and plenty of exciting opportunities for children and parents alike.
“Volunteers from SBC of Virginia churches will have the opportunity to ride in the pace car, wave the green or checkered flag, pray before the race, or even sing the National Anthem,” Webb said. “There will be moon bounces and other fun games for children. All race attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for at least one giveaway raffle.”
Brian Autry, SBC of Virginia’s new executive director, believes God will use this ministry to impact people for Christ.
“Racing has become one of the most popular pastimes in America,” Autry said. “SBCV is honored to assist our churches with taking the Gospel to our neighbors. My prayer is for our churches to be Gospel-driven churches, and this is one way that is happening.”
SBC of Virginia’s first experience with sponsoring a NASCAR race was last year when the organization sponsored a race at South Boston Speedway to promote FindItHere.com. The Gospel was shared 293 times by 60 people from 11 churches that participated in the inaugural race in July 2011. Vice president of Innovative Faith Resources, Brandon Pickett, said that three young people committed their lives to Christ during the event.
The idea for sponsoring a race came through Pickett’s long-time friend, Vince Blubaugh, missions pastor of Second Baptist Church in Springfield, MO.
“At one point, I worked in the marketing end of NASCAR and knew what a great marketing platform motorsports can be,” Blubaugh said. “One day, I mentioned this to Brandon Pickett. I felt that FindItHere.com could be promoted well using a sponsorship of a race and the weekend activities that go along with the race.”
The races, he said, will create a great opportunity to share the Gospel.
“The racing platform is a unique thing. Race fans—and I am one of them—are fiercely loyal to the companies that promote their sport,” Blubaugh said. “However, to truly develop the results you want, you have to take on a long-term outlook. I believe this movement will yield great results for God's Kingdom; however, we need to pursue it and develop it over time. This will enable us to reach the folks who love motorsports.”
The races are a part of the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) “God’s Plan for Sharing” (GPS) campaign. The GPS movement equips churches and Christians with the resources needed to fulfill the Great Commission.
According to gps2020.net, “The vision of God’s Plan for Sharing (GPS) is to fulfill the Great Commission in North America through Every Believer Sharing, Every Person Hearing by 2020.”
For more information about the FindItHere.com races, visit sbcv.org. To learn more about NAMB’s GPS campaign, visit gps2020.net.