Bob & Kathy are Beyond Checkered Flags Ministries’ Chaplains to one of NASCAR’s national race series, the:
As Beyond Checkered Flags Ministries, they work in a ministry alliance with Motor Racing Outreach Association and Youth With A Mission. Motor Racing Outreach, (MRO) is an inter-denominational ministry, serving the racing communities throughout North America. In 1988 MRO began as a small outreach to a few racers and today has grown to serve over 50 racing series and organizations in motorcycles, powerboats and trucks as well as stock cars like the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the famous NASCAR Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel or Winston Cup) and the NASCAR Xnfinity Series formerly Busch Series and Nationwide Series).
As you will come to see, Bob and Kathy’s YWAM experience, plus Bob’s life-long relationship with racing, will blend into a unique new ministry alliance using the strengths of YWAM and MRO to reach not only the racing community, but the world as well for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
MRO takes “church to the track” as they conduct on site Chapel services, Bible studies, personalized counseling, a children’s program, and perform crisis intervention to the racers, their families, and team in the event of racing accidents. Special conferences at year’s end help to develop stronger marriages, family, and personal relationships, plus provide leadership training, and personal witnessing resources to the racing community.
Born near Rochester, New York, Bob has been involved with, and loved the sport of auto racing since around the age of nine. The youngest of two boys, his parents brought him up in the church, but it was really not until 1978 and living in Oregon before he totally committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. Bob says: “that was the greatest day of my life. I met my personal Savior and my future wife in one morning!” He immediately recognized God’s call on his life for ministry and began classes with Aloha School of the Bible and Portland Bible College through his local church. Prior to this, his career included four years in the U.S. Air Force and long haul trucking across America until he married his wife Kathy in 1980. He trained in college as an architect while working at Eastman Kodak before entering the Air Force.
Kathy is a native Oregonian from Aloha, Oregon and became a Christian during High School. She graduated from Aloha High School in 1974. Bob and Kathy became best friends upon meeting at a church College & Career group in 1978. At that time Kathy worked at a bank in Aloha. Their time was spent ministering with their local church outreach every Saturday night for a number of years. Married in 1980, their oldest daughter Leeanne was born in 1982 and Sarah in 1984. Both the girls became Christians at a young age and have traveled internationally in ministry with their parents since 1987. Leeanne graduated High School in June 2001 and Sarah with the class of 2002.
After leaving trucking, Bob worked as a Letter Carrier with the U.S. Postal Service as he attended Bible College. In 1987 Bob and Kathy went into full time ministry with Youth With A Mission, (YWAM), one of the largest inter-denominational missionary training, evangelistic, and mercy ministry agencies around the world today. They have led outreach teams to Europe, the former Soviet bloc nations and Mexico. Even with their busy schedules the entire family still takes time to staff the YWAM NIKO & Ropes Course ministries that teach team building and leadership training using the wilderness as its teaching tool. Bob was the YWAM ministry Administrator at the North American headquarters in Salem, Oregon while Kathy used her accounting talents as Financial Administrator for 16 years when they were not traveling with the former NASCAR Northwest Tour or West Series. Today, as Beyond Checkered Flags Ministries, they lead a new race ministry team using their relationships with YWAM and MRO in an alliance.
“Kathy is my best friend and my ministry partner in every thing I have done, and the race ministry is even more effective when she can be with me …as well as my girls,” says Bob. Bob and Kathy actively attend Church on the Hill in Salem and enjoy working with the Marriage ministry. Sarah and her husband Joseph attend Life Church in Salem as their home church in West Salem. Sarah was Pastor’s Secretary and Church Secretary there until the birth of their son Taren. Together, Sarah and Joseph assist a Worship Team also.
Leeanne attends Church on the Hill also and was the Church and Pastor’s Secretary at Gateway Foursquare until their first child Elijah was born. She was, and often still tries to be involved in the women’s and youth ministries at church. Today she is highly involved in her kids school classes. Leeanne’s husband Chad is one of the Worship Team leaders and together love hosting a home group when they can. Now with Kira (born in December 2008), and Hannah (June 2010), such time has become a premium.
Annually, in either January or February, our whole family has lead what became a highlight of each year when they blended YWAM’ers and racing series people into an international outreach to the needy. Together, the group built one and sometimes two homes for homeless families in Ensenada, Mexico with YWAM’s “Homes of Hope” project.
Since pioneering the MRO ministry on the Northwest Series in July of 1998, Bob and Kathy feel they have had an exceptionally warm reception among the participants and feel accepted as “part of the family.” As they officially took on the (then) Grand National Division West Series in 2004, they began developing Chapel services there also, and looked forward to beginning men’s and women’s Bible studies about life’s issues that people face daily, and children’s ministries in this series while bringing the love, encouragement and the joy of life in Christ to the racing community. Bob says: “It is such a privilege to now give back to the sport in such a special way, after all the fun and joy it has given me through the years. With Kathy, the girls, and their husbands on our team, we have a powerful ministry team that can offer so much love, care, and assistance to each person involved in the racing community. We want to be available when someone has a need to talk or counsel.”
In May 2007 Bob officially turned over the Northwest Tour Chaplaincy to MROA’s Charlie Staley. It had become difficult schedule-wise with too many schedule conflicts between the two Series and since NASCAR dissolved the Elite Division Tours including the Northwest at the end of 2006, and ASA (American Speed Association) took over, it was the perfect time to also make a change in Chaplain leadership in the Northwest. “That day at Yakima Speedway in May 2007 was close to the most difficult day in my life” said Bob. “It was like giving away your daughter in marriage, …done with many tears.” However, Bob and Kathy still make time to visit former Northwest Tour racers when their ministry schedule blends with whatever series they are racing with and we end up at the same race track today. “These people are our close friends and family and always will be. It is a honor and privilege to still be able to visit and see everyone when we can.”
Bob and Kathy’s favorite scripture for their family is Psalms 127:1 ” If you do not build your house with the Lord, you are laboring in vain to build it.” They believe that no matter what you try to accomplish, the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation and the first person to involve in the goal or issue at hand.
Their desire to live out before their racing constituents comes from 2 Corinthians 2:14 in the Amplified Bible text. ” But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph – as trophies of Christ’s victory – and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, for we are the sweet smelling fragrance of Christ, unto God, among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Through their ministry the goal is to change and improve lives to follow in their footsteps among the racing community.