By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
September 24-26, 2010
Dover Downs International Speedway
DOVER, Del.—An amazing God-size event like never before is coming to Dover, Del., shifting raceway ministry into massive overdrive. Every spring and fall, Delaware church members and even some from outside the area, race to Dover Downs International Speedway to serve BCM/D-church-provided homemade cookies, lemonade, popcorn, ham and sausage biscuits and snow cones along with Bibles and other Christian material. Volunteers participate in clowning, face painting, juggling and puppetry. They pray for needs and they share the good news of Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads.
This year the Delaware Association’s Raceway Ministries is partnering with Victory Weekend Productions, Engage #4, in-Service America, Promise Keepers, Liberty University, Dover International Speedway, XtreMedia, Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association and many other Christian and secular organizations. They are bringing in nationally known guests and music groups including former Arkansas governor and television personality Mike Huckabee, actor Stephen Baldwin, Congressman Randy Forbes, NASCAR driver Blake Koch, author and radio personality Gary Smalley, the musical group “Point of Grace,” Coach Bill McCartney and many more well-known speakers. In fact, the list of participants grows every day.
The three-day “Victory Weekend” (Sept. 24-26) promises to be an incredible opportunity for Christian families to come, have fun and be a ministry to many people who may have never set foot in a church. If you can’t make it out all three days, don’t worry! They want you to come when you can, and believe me, you won’t want to miss a second!
“It’s a God thing, that’s for sure,” said Jim McBride. McBride is chaplain of the Delaware Raceway Ministries, former Delaware director of missions and founder of the DBA’s raceway ministry. “My raceway volunteers have been praying for something like this since we started in 1993. We just didn’t have the financial resources.”
But God did. He was preparing a business professional, Ron Templeton, to bring the big event to Delaware. “Dover, Delaware, has never seen this type of gathering before,” Templeton exclaimed.
The idea came about when Templeton and some of his colleagues were brainstorming ways to bring new visitors to the race events. Attendance was down and the men were discussing ways to infuse some new interest in the races. Templeton said that years ago churches were involved with the racetrack. Church members drove out, had picnics and enjoyed the weekend, but that gradually began to fade in occurrence. Dover Motorsports Inc. works hard to attract families by creating alcohol and tobacco free seating in certain sections, but never before has there been a joint, family friendly effort of this magnitude.
“We were saying, what if, simultaneously, during the weekend, we could hold an event and draw in a lot of Christians and enhance the venue for the other 100,000 people to partake of,” Templeton explained. The idea seemed like a win-win proposition – bringing new visitors to the raceway, increasing ticket sales and enhancing a family values atmosphere.
The idea took off. Christian groups jumped on the bandwagon quickly. Templeton pointed out that in just two months he has had a uniquely tasking and exhilarating response from the Christian community as well as businesses, ministries and secular figures.
Marketing director, Hank Winchester, is also surprised at the quick responses. “The whole project came together remarkably fast –in less than 40 days. For the speakers to be available and for everything to work out so smoothly is a huge ‘God thing,’” Winchester said.
The event starts on Friday night at 8 p.m. with a simultaneous concert, featuring Point of Grace and a showing of the movie, “The Blind Side,” on a huge movie screen.
On Saturday evening, there will be a victory rally featuring over 20 nationally known speakers, including Mike Huckabee. In addition, there will be multiple break-out sessions about marriage, Christian entrepreneurship, prophecy, racial reconciliation, patriotism and many more. Other highlights include skateboarding, hunting, fishing and other demonstrations, as well as a huge puppet show.
Throughout the weekend, folks can enter to win dozens of prizes including a pastor’s only drawing for a new Chevy Malibu, Apple I-Pads, lap top computers and even a ride in a parade with Victory Weekend’s NASCAR driver spokesperson, Blake Cook.
Jim McBride is coordinating volunteers and is encouraging churches to get involved by volunteering or by bringing church members to participate. Many churches are buying tickets for their members to attend the event and join Promise Keeper’s and other evangelism teams.
“It’s a call to ministry in a new area,” Hank Winchester said.
“This is unprecedented across racing world,” Templeton sees this as a model, worthy of taking on the road and duplicating the process throughout the country. “This is bigger than all of us working on it. We are experiencing spiritual warfare everyday, but that just strengthens us. This is important for the kingdom.”
This could be a side bar Tickets are available http://www.victoryweekend.com. A three-day ticket is $99 and includes all Victory Village events, $10 to use in the Victory Village bookstore, a copy of “The Finest Hour of Men,” by Mark Koch, a Bible and a ticket for the Sunday Sprint Cup Race. A Saturday evening pass is $50. Free parking will be provided.
If you want to stay connected with the Victory Weekend Team and register to receive special messages and offers, then “like” their Facebook.com fan page at http://facebook.com/VictoryWeekend or follow them at Twitter.com/VictoryWeekend.
For more information see http://www.victoryweekend.com. For information about volunteering, email Jim McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org.