SPARTA, Ky.—NASCAR fans will be flat-out racing to Kentucky Speedway this month and ministry volunteers promise to be there with welcoming smiles, a cool bottle of water, and maybe one of 8,000 commemorative Bibles—with the generous support of Kentucky Baptists churches.
“We’ve done a variety of different things, but three years ago we decided the most important thing we could do was to put Bibles in people’s hands,” said J.T. Marsh, executive director of Kentucky Raceway Ministries and lay leader at Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Milton.
Kentucky Raceway Ministries, which utilizes servant evangelism to point people to Christ, is looking to rev up their Bible distribution from 6,500 to 8,000 as race fans flock to Sparta June 23-28. More than 100,000 visitors are expected in the northern Kentucky town that week drawn by the high-octane, rubber-burning thrill of three NASCAR races—Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.
“We kind of rationed them a bit,” Marsh said about handing out Bibles to race fans. “We never have enough to take care of everybody who wants one.”
The New Testament Bibles feature a photograph on the cover of cars racing through turn four at the Sparta speedway. Six testimonies by NASCAR drivers and owners are printed on the inside.
Marsh said the raceway ministry is halfway toward raising the $12,800 needed—largely thanks to church partners and individuals. “We had one church that instead of buying flowers on Mother’s Day honored moms by buying Bibles.”
But no matter how many Bibles KRM gives away, Marsh said there always seems to be a need for more.
“A lot of them are just hungry for something,” he said, and many do not realize Christ is the answer.
With as many as 260 volunteers, Marsh said KRM manages to cross paths with approximately 80 percent of race fans. Their “full-scale ministry” includes manning guest service booths, providing trauma response, coordinating handicapped transportation and running the onsite Kid Zone. In addition to Bibles, volunteers hand out gospel cards, water and cookies made by members of the Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union.
“We’re in five campgrounds now and could get in more if we had more people,” he said. “The Speedway continues to open up opportunities to us and right now we have more opportunities than we have people to work.”
While training is not mandatory, Marsh said it is advised. Potential volunteers are encourage to attend training at Glencoe Baptist Church June 14. A brief tour of the Kentucky Speedway is included.
To donate toward Kentucky Raceway Ministries Bible distribution, or to learn more about becoming a volunteer, please visit www.go2krm.com.