WHEATLAND – The thousands of people in the grandstands at the Lucas
Oil Speedway will hear more than the National Anthem and the roar of stock cars rounding the dirt track; they’ll hear the gospel.
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC), through a grant provided by the North American Mission Board (NAMB), is sponsoring an evening of races April 21 at the dirt race track in Wheatland. The name “Missouri Baptist Convention” won’t be seen anywhere, however. Instead, the night’s four races will be under the banner “FindItHere.com.”
FindItHere.com is an online outgrowth of GPS (God’s Plan for Sharing), a multi-year, Southern Baptist Convention-wide evangelism thrust. The website has simple, direct messages from real people about how Jesus has changed their lives. It not only presents the gospel, it immediately connects anyone who has more questions to a phone encourager and to a local church. Missouri contact numbers are not available, but nationwide in 2011, 16,852 people made contact with a phone encourager and 1,220 prayed to receive Christ.
The NAMB gift is also funding pre-movie ads in 95 Wehrenberg movie theaters across Missouri and buying Google and Facebook ads that will show up on common life questions keyword searches, such as “divorce,” “unemployment,” “drug abuse,” “abortion” and “bereavement,” with everything funneling to FindItHere.com.
The race sponsoring fee covered by the NAMB funds was $3,000. The MBC is picking up the tab for racing-specific Bibles, tracts and other materials to distribute at the race.
Churches from eight associations surrounding Wheatland and other volunteers will man three block party trailers set up in the concession areas and share the gospel with race fans. Two testimonies will be given throughout the night and discount tickets are available through the MBC Evangelism Office for churches to give out in their communities. Gary Taylor, MBC’s director of evangelism, said he is looking for volunteers to prayer walk the track and grandstands beginning three weeks before the race and for “prayer sitters” to pray before and during the races. Racegoers can enter to win several donated giveaways by listening to a short gospel presentation in the areas surrounding the grandstands.
“I’d love to see 50 to 100 Missouri Baptists from those local churches andassociation who were trained to give their testimony in three minutes and use a racing-theme tract and Bible,” he said.
Taylor said the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia hosted a similar FindItHere.com race last summer at a speedway in South Boston, Va., with positive results.
“When it was over the track manager was thrilled with how the community embraced the theme of the race,” he said. “So many people said it was a true blessing. They’re looking at doing it at five places this year instead of just one.”
The Lucas Oil Speedway opened six years ago and sits on 370 acres with seats for 7,000 people. Their track is a 3/8-mile dirt oval with 8-degree banked corners.
The FindItHere.com night on April 21 is opening night for their spring race series and there will be four races: A-modified, B-modifed, factory stock and late models, with speeds topping 100 mph.
“They call it the ‘Diamond in the Dirt,’” Taylor said. “It’s a terrific facility, and I think people will be really impressed if they come for a family night out. That is also children’s night, and the first 500 kids will get a free FindItHere.combranded die-cast car.”
Tickets at the door are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and active military, $5 for kids aged 5-15, free for under five. For more information, contact Taylor at 1-800-736-6227 ext. 650.
By BRIAN KOONCE / staff writer