"Reflecting back on events in my life and certain stirrings in my heart, I
saw a pattern emerging. For example, when the subject of missions came up, I
would be more interested than the average person. I always wanted to know more,
to study about it, to hear what was happening on the mission field. So I
wondered if God was developing in me a missionary heart," recalls McBride. It
was during a missions conference that Daphne stepped forward. "Her action
affirmed that God was calling us as a couple."
But it wasn't an easy transition. "When you're a pastor, you feel like your
church members are your extended family. It's scary to move from the security
of those intimate relationships and make new friends as a missionary," he told
McBride now serves as director of missions for the Delaware Baptist
Association with diverse mission programs ranging from tutoring students to
counseling families of prisoners to a port ministry for weary seamen. But his
real love is The Raceway Fellowship, a national ministry to race car drivers,
crew and fans, which he serves as president.
"NASCAR is the fastest growing spectator sport in the United States, and the
face of the race fan is rapidly changing," says McBride. "According to surveys,
the biggest category of occupations is professional/managerial, 72 percent of
fans are homeowners, 38 percent are college educated, 64 percent are married
and 40 percent are women. It's a blossoming mission field."
Delaware's Dover Downs hosts weekend races twice each year. At least 120,000
fans line the track for a weekend that often includes camping on the grounds.
The ministry provides family-oriented attractions such as rides, clowns, puppet
shows, crafts, juggling and face-painting. In addition, the racing community
itself numbers approximately 1,000, including the 43 drivers who qualify to
drive the modified Chevrolets, Fords and Pontiacs, plus their pit crews and
McBride and dozens of volunteers set up a tent in a prominent place, a haven
for people who want to ask questions about the Christian faith, perhaps
resulting from a card available at the registration table. The card, designed
to provoke thought about issues beyond fast-moving cars, asks respondents how
they think they will get into heaven, and then it offers a checklist. Of
course, only one answer is correct: faith in Jesus Christ.
Throughout the weekend, people stop at the tent, accept free food (local
church women bake 800 dozen cookies for each race weekend) and, if they are
interested, find a quiet place to talk about the Lord. Many make professions of
faith. Others take the packages of tracts and other information. The Sunday
morning chapel service, held after volunteers distribute a free breakfast,
always draws a crowd.
McBride hopes to be a catalyst for expanding The Raceway Fellowship to other
eastern seaboard tracks in New York, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. He has
corresponded with Southern Baptists in those states.
"With the growing interest in these races, God is laying a fantastic
evangelistic opportunity before us," said McBride.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC