'Faster Pastor Racing' pushes fund-raising into a new gear

5/6/2011

 
By GLENN HANNIGAN
 
    People love to brag about their church. And, at times, maybe even their preacher. But considering all the potential reasons to boast, it is unlikely many folk have ever said this to a neighbor: My pastor is faster than your pastor.
     If Jeff Sheffield gets his way, that will be changing soon.
    Sheffield, a member of Commerce First UMC and certified Lay Speaker, serves as chaplain for Raceway Ministries at Lanier Speedway in Braselton. And he believes the racing venue can provide a unique, high-octane boost to church fund-raising.
    “We call it Faster Pastor Racing,” Sheffield said. “It is beginning to catch on at racetracks all over the country.”
      And, for Sheffield, that specifically means the three-eighths-mile asphalt track at Lanier Speedway, just off Ga. 53.
       Here is how “Faster Pastor” works:
       “Your church gets a used-car dealer, or someone in the church, to donate a (previously owed) 4- or 6-cylinder front-wheel-drive car,” he explained. “You take out the front and rear head and tail lights, turn signal lights, parking lights and airbags. The doors are either welded shut or chained shut.”
           All glass is removed, except for the front windshield. Next, you need a helmet and racing suit. But you are not done.     
        “Let your church youth group decorate the car,” Sheffield says.   
          Next comes the fun part.      
        “Then you get your pastor or youth pastor to drive.”
       Sheffield says the races will be 10 to 15 laps and held on nights when other races are scheduled.
         “We are looking at a number of racing dates this season for Faster Pastor Racing,” he said.
          Sheffield, who regularly prays with drivers and race teams before events, emphasizes that Lanier is a family oriented racetrack. There is trackside parking and people are invited to bring grills and setup for a picnic.
      “We are involved with this Faster Pastor Racing Program because we feel it offers churches a unique opportunity and a fun fund-raiser that each church can participate in,” Sheffield said.
    
       For more information, call Jeff Sheffield at 404-391-5348 or e-mail jeff.w.sheffield@gmail.com
 


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