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SWBTS: Students aid NASCAR ministry

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are a vital part of the work of Texas Alliance Raceway Ministries, which serves racing fans at the Texas Motor Speedway.

A team from the seminary passed out fliers for a Saturday night concert by a local country and gospel band as well as for campground church services on Sunday, the day of the NASCAR Dickies 500. As they found opportunities, they shared their faith in Christ.

“With the economy as it is, we’re pretty shorthanded because most of the [other] volunteers are so busy providing services to the racetrack,” Cameron Moore, a Southwestern student and member of the raceway ministry’s executive council, said. “We decided … that we would provide the evangelistic arm of the raceway ministry. And that’s the purpose for Southwestern’s participation out there.”

The ministry helps the speedway with customer services designed to help race fans with their visits, and the service opportunities open doors for those who hope to share their faith. As the raceway ministries personnel shuttle patrons from parking lots or campsites to the track on golf carts, the volunteers strike up conversations.

TXARM also provides a chaplaincy presence for the raceway, which Texas Motor Speedway officials especially appreciate, Moore said, because of the effects the chaplains have on the people. “There’s a lot of drinking, there’s drugs. It’s just like a town,” Moore said, referring to the roughly 161,000 people who attended the race last fall.

“We kind of offset that because people, being from the South and most of them proclaiming to be Christians out there — even though they might not be displaying it — are influenced when they see there’s a chaplain walking around,” Moore said. “And they will stop what they’re doing. We’ve also been called in by either paramedics or other staff [because] they know that we have a calming influence on people.”

Fort Worth-area churches including Birchman Baptist Church, Burton Hill Baptist Church, First Baptist Church in Keller and First Baptist Church in Roanoke also participate in the raceway ministries, which is the goal of the parachurch organization, Moore said.

TXARM uses volunteers who are endorsed by their local church, providing those already involved in serving their church community with opportunities for evangelism and meeting the needs of speedway patrons.

Volunteer opportunities are available through TXARM for the Texas Motor Speedway’s 36 races each year. Visit www.txarm.org for contact information. For more information about evangelism opportunities with Southwestern Seminary at April’s NASCAR race, visit www.swbts.edu/tms.
Based on a report by Rebecca Carter of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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