NASCAR fans get FindItHere.com intro
Baptist Press
July 15, 2011

NASCAR fans get FindItHere.com intro

NASCAR fans get FindItHere.com intro
Baptist Press
July 15, 2011


— Beyond the celebration on the track when Lee Pulliam won the FindItHere.com*

NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200, there was rejoicing in heaven when three teenage

girls were led to Christ that same night.

The SBC of Virginia (SBCV) sponsored the

July 1 race at South Boston Speedway. The speedway’s annual Fourth of July

holiday weekend is a fan favorite and actually features three races (Pure Stock

50, Limited 100, Whelen Late Model 200) and fireworks afterward.

It was more than a one-time outreach, but part of a vision for churches to

share Christ with thousands of race fans and continue the “God’s Plan for

Sharing” (GPS) statewide evangelistic effort

begun in 2010.

Church planter/pastor Andy Ferguson of Brookneal, Va., tells drivers to “Start your engines!” during the FindItHere.com NASCAR race events July 1 at the South Boston Speedway.

Jack Noble, the SBCV church health strategist for the region who developed a

plan to provide churches with an avenue of outreach not just for one race night

but for a number of races throughout the season, noted, “Good evangelistic

opportunities are not just one-day events.

“Good evangelistic events take days of preparation and follow-up,” Noble said. “That

is what we did by distributing FindItHere.com logo items at the four races that

preceeded the big day. Our newly ‘logo-ed’ trailer was a magnet that drew

hundreds of people who wondered what FindItHere.com was all about. Then we

enthusiastically shared the truth.”

More than 60 volunteers from 11 churches stood just inside the speedway’s gates

before the race personally to welcome the thousands of fans. They asked

attendees if they wanted to register to win a free flat-screen TV. Upon

registering, the person would hear a three-minute gospel presentation.

Jackie Carver, pastor of Palestine Baptist

Church in Moneta, trained his

volunteers personally — and then personally led three girls to Christ.

Carver noted the simplicity of an outreach for “faithful service” that led to

the girls’ prayer to turn to Christ. “God used me to be a light in someone’s

life that otherwise I would never meet,” the pastor said.

David Rathel, pastor of Fork Baptist

Church in Scottsburg, cited two key

benefits from the SBCV initiative. “First, it gave churches a chance to show

the people in the community that we love them and that we are interested in

ministering to them. I think many who came to the race were surprised that we

were willing to spend our time serving them on a July 4th weekend.

Using an Evangecube as one avenue of witness at the South Boston Speedway, volunteers and SBC of Virginia staff interact with fans at the FindItHere.com NASCAR race events July 1.

“Second, it gave people in our churches opportunities to share the gospel. This

was the first time that many of the people in my church have ever participated

in a gospel-sharing event like this. I was impressed by their willingness to

boldly approach people and share. I’m excited that they’ve now had an

opportunity to get experience in personal evangelism, and I hope their boldness

infects all of our church family.”

Jack Stewart, pastor of Grace Southern Baptist Church in Virgilina, gave the

opening invocation for the race. He was among SBCV volunteers who took part in

parts of the race weekend, waving the green flag, presenting the winning

trophies, riding in the pace car, manning the children’s area and preparing

FindItHere.com funnel cakes.

“The preparation of working four races before the big event and the commitment

to follow up set the tone for a great day of evangelism,” Noble said. “The

spiritual tone was also increased when volunteers arrived the day of the event

and were each asked to take a prayer lap around the facility.”

Brandon Pickett, director of media services for the SBC

of Virginia, worked with the track and area media on coverage of the race.

“It was amazing how the track and community embraced this race and the theme of

FindItHere.com. Between the track announcer and the drivers, the name

FindItHere.com was spoken about every 10 minutes. On top of that, I was invited

to talk about the website on the radio on and off throughout all three races

totaling about 30 minutes of air time.”

Cathy Rice, general manager of South Boston

Speedway and a member of an SBCV church, was thrilled not only with the turnout

but how the community embraced the race theme.

“So many people came to me and said that this was a true

blessing,” Rice said. “God was with us all night and we are looking forward to

next year’s FindItHere.com (race) already.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Reported by the staff of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of

Virginia convention.)

*Findithere.com is different than the three-year emphasis by

the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina known as Find It Here

(finditherenc.org). This three-year emphasis draws attention to evangelism,

discipleship and missions.