On Track Newsletter
We hope your year is off to a great start and we are trusting the Lord for an awesome 2019.
The Lord certainly blessed us with many ministry opportunities throughout the 2018 season. There were over 65 events on the schedule at 20+ tracks covering six states from Georgia to Michigan. We were blessed to be able to provide ministry at some of the largest short track events in the country and are looking for even more opportunity this year.
Larry and Carol Avery have been such faithful part of On Track Ministries. They are wonderful friends and great ministry partners. Larry has not only traveled to numerous events, but also provides ministry at Anderson Speedway on a weekly basis. God has used Larry to build and strengthen many relationships with the Anderson area racing community. It was just a few years ago that we approached the owner of the speedway about serving at Anderson and were politely told we were not needed at the time. However, one of the greatest pictures I treasure is of the owner going to Larry this year and asking him to pray with him right on the front stretch in front a sold-out event for the biggest race of the year, the Little 500.
It is just a reminder that much of what we do is not at the track on the race weekend. The race weekends provide opportunity for further ministry throughout the year as we call on individuals. The Lord has given us many opportunities through hospital, home and shop visits, as well as by providing marriage mentoring, officiating weddings and ministering to families at funerals. Because of your faithful prayers and support, we had the privilege of seeing over 30 people from the racing community place their faith in Christ in 2018.
One of the greatest highlights was getting baptize the 1982 ARCA Champion, Scott Stovall and his wife Trina. I had the privilege to lead Scott and Trina to the Lord and officiate their wedding. It was exciting to see them take this step of faith. They have become a faithful part of Graceway Church and serve every weekend.
Graceway Church has provided a great way to connect to even more people in the racing community to a local church. We had a special Race Day event in October and had 133 in attendance. On that day, five people gave their lives to Christ and we gained several great people from this outreach event, including about 10 people from the raining community.
Thank you for your continued faithful prayers and financial support. Your faithfulness has been a tremendous blessing to help us serve in this unique role to make an impact for Christ in the racing community and beyond. We have already had our first event of 2019 and are preparing for the next event in Cordele, Georgia in the coming weeks. Be blessed!
Winning the Race,
Pre-Race Prayer ... with Purpose
- David Martin -
Providing the invocation before a race is a great privilege, not to be taken lightly. Its purpose is not for entertainment and cheers, but to invoke the blessings of God and an opportunity to lift up Christ before all men. As chaplains, our aim should be to gain an audience with a holy and righteous God and entreat His divine attention.
As the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus provided them (and us) with a model to approach the throne of a holy God. While the prayer was indeed a model, not something we necessarily have to repeat word for word, it did demonstrate a reverence and respectful approach to our heavenly Father. In fact, last year as Howard Brammer provided the invocation for the Brickyard 400, he prayed this model prayer given by Jesus. In my opinion, it was one of the best invocations ever uttered at a track.
Howard Brammer is the Pastor Emeritus of Trader's Point Christian Church in Indianapolis. Howard has provided the invocation at every Brickyard 400 race at IMS. A few years ago, Howard Brammer and I were sitting in the lobby of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway just before a meeting with speedway staff. As we talked about the invocations, he made a comment that made a huge impact on me. He said, "The greatest thing about wording the invocation is that I get to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord to a worldwide audience."
It is always an honor to be asked to provide the invocation at race events, whether for a local track, traveling series or perhaps NASCAR. While there is no magical prayer or special formula for an invocation, there is a purpose. If the focus of the pre-race prayer is on the one saying the prayer, rather than the One to whom the prayer is offered . perhaps, we should reconsider our purpose. If the focus of the pre-race prayer is to entertain the crowds and gather cheers . perhaps, we should reconsider our purpose. If the focus of the pre-race prayer is based upon a movie, which makes a mockery of the Lord Jesus Christ . perhaps, we should reconsider our purpose. When given a mere 25 seconds to come before the throne of a holy God with a worldwide audience . perhaps, we should reconsider our purpose.
The privilege of providing an invocation is not an opportunity to be squandered, but a stewardship to be embraced. None of us has arrived concerning the matter of prayer. We have much to learn, oh but what a grand privilege! While our prayers do not need to be "cookie cutter" type utterances, let us focus on the One to whom we are praying . let Him be our audience. Let us not allow idle words to fill the air and miss the opportunity to lift up the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray with Purpose!
- David Martin serves as the Lead Chaplain for the Champion Racing Association and USA Modified Series; Assistant Director and Chairman for the National Fellowship of Raceway Ministries; Director of On Track Ministries and Indianapolis Raceway Ministries.