The Fields Are Ripe for the Harvest with Raceway Ministries
Written by Chase Casteel   

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CapAh, the NASCAR speedways.  The air is perfumed with a mixed aroma of oil, grease and hotdogs.  The growl of throaty engines and screeching power tools battle against shouts of cheers to be heard. Media is a swirling presence, their cameras trying to keep pace with the race cars that chase each other around the tracks at speeds of 200+ mph.  It is a whirlwind of organized confusion, and boy is it fun! Turning out tens of thousands of spectators per event, this is the place to be on Sunday morning!


Now don’t be so fast to believe that this is an attempt to draw you out of church.  No, this is an attempt to draw your church out!  Look — this is a vast field ripe for the harvest!

RacewayLogoRaceway Ministries was established back in 1975.  “Ed Quattlebaum heard Phil Cockrell speak at a Baptist Associational meeting, challenging people to consider ministry at places like Darlington Speedway. Frank Stark viewed the crowds at Daytona International and said, ‘Somebody ought to be doing something!’” And so they did. 

It was ministry in action, doing what the church is called to do.  In a time when gone are the days of knocking on doors, it is time to meet people where they are — like a NASCAR event.

Ed Quattlebaum, John Fox and Frank Stark of Raceway Ministries set up a church presence at the tracks all those decades ago.  It began with a simple, small tent on the corner of the tracks at Darlington, SC and Rockingham, NC.  There they offered fans cold drinks, hot coffee and of course homemade cookies.  It soon progressed into chapel services, tract distribution and other ministry activities.  In time, Raceway Ministries had a group at every Sprint Cup track in the nation, Thanks to the combined efforts of Raceway Ministries and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO), working together to recognize the opportunity and the need for ministry.  MRO was established to minister to the racers, their teams and families.  Raceway Minitries is designed to reach the fans. 

Simply, each track has a racing competition twice a year.  That is a two-weekend commitment per year to get involved. Races are typically held on Saturdays and Sundays.  One does not need to be a race car fan to get involved, you simply need to have a heart for people and the ministry of Christ.

Jesus established the example of “hanging out and meeting people where they are.”  You’ll find a classic example of this in the book of John, chapter 7, when He solicited an interaction with a lowly Samaritan woman. He did not wait for her to take it upon herself to seek Him out in the synagogues. Instead, He sought her out, where she was at, at a well.

How much more exciting an opportunity do we have than a well! The sights, the sounds, the action, the people… Forget them as race fans for a moment, and see them for who they are, just people.  A people in need of prayer, of love, and of salvation.

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What an incredible ministry outreach opportunity for the local church — youth groups, men’s groups — to get involved with, to serve.
The heart of Raceway Ministries is to serve.  They offer their services to the track personnel and fans, and build relationships as they effect lives for the Lord by the thousands. 

Everything that goes on at a track may not be to the comfort of the church crowd.  Let’s face it, there’s alcohol, swearing, quick tempers, questionable music – not always the most wholesome atmosphere.  That is what sets Raceway Ministries apart.  The good people involved get into the middle of the action, influencing a better way. They are as Christ, servants to the needs of the people.  Whether offering directions, a cold Coke, or leading a new believer in prayer, they are there to make a difference.  They are a church in action where the action is at!

If you and/or your church would like to get involved with financial support or volunteer at a local track, contact Raceway Ministries at:  RacewayMinistries.com

WillFieldsEditor’s Note: We are dedicating this article to the memory of WILLIAM A. FIELDS who went home to be with the Lord on July 23, 2014. Founder and Director of the Pennsylvania Racing Outreach, served the last 15 years in ministry at the Pocono Raceway, Pennsylvania. His passion and dedication to this mission was a strong influence on us to publish this article.

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