Team RFC is a group of people whose love of the Lord is so strong that we include him in our everyday activities… even on race day or at the car shows. Our motto is “Bringing Inspiration to the World of Motorsports.” To do so we provide chapel services, pastoral care, outreach and Christian fellowship.
We participate at races, car shows, cruise-ins and tractor pulls. You can see our staff at drag strips, circle tracks, road courses and the lakes too. One might see us at a meeting with wild customs, radical street rods or those restoration projects seeking to duplicate (or improve upon) showroom condition. But through it all we remember that
“Cars are our Passion,
People are our Purpose.”
Team RFC was established in 1971 by Arnie Krueger, and incorporated as a non-profit in 1978, as fellowship for Christians in the sport of motor racing, and has developed into a growing organization with broad impact across North America and beyond. The overall purpose of RFC’s involvement in motor racing is to service emotional and spiritual needs. Realizing that racing is more than just a mechanized existence, we strive to bring a more balanced perspective in providing inspiration and encouragement to motorsports.
In the United States there are millions of people who attend motorsports events each year, establishing this as one of the fastest growing spectator sports in America. Team RFC uses this growing popularity as a “platform” from which to express its message of love and inspiration to motorsports.
The Christian Motorsports International, Inc. family of ministries conducts non-denominational chapel services at local and professional racing events nationwide, providing pre-race chapel services, invocations, and a pastoral presence for more than 2000 racing events each racing year — including drag racing, open wheel racing, motorcycle racing, boat racing, stock car racing, off-road racing, airplane racing, and street rodding events. Professional and amateur racers, crew members, sponsors and officials regularly attend these chapels, with attendance occasionally more than 450. The executive leadership team is comprised of Larry Smiley, President; Craig Garland, NHRA National Events Series Chaplain; and Eddie Baugher, Field Ministry Director.
For many people involved in motorsports, either as a profession or as a hobby, consistent participation in a local church body is difficult. For some, Team RFC provides the pastoral support not unlike that which they would find from a home church, including: communion, weddings, vow renewals, baptisms, baby dedications, hospital visits, sick calls, memorial services, and funerals.
The overall purpose of Team RFC is to service the emotional and spiritual needs of the world of motorsports. Realizing that life, racing, and rodding involve more than just a mechanized existence, we strive to bring a balance of perspective in providing inspiration and encouragement to people as a whole.
The means by which we strive to fulfill our calling is to communicate the power and message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to individuals participating in the world of motorsports … using motor racing as the “platform” from which we express our message of love and inspiration.
The key to our successful involvement with motorsports is in clearly defining the focus and magnitude of that purpose. Our four-fold purpose and major reasons for being are as follows.
We want to serve as an encouragement for Christian fellowship among those within the world of motorsports. We intend to become instrumental in bringing believers together and building a far greater sense of “oneness” and Christian unity.
We serve in a pastoral role to Christians who are actively participating in motorsports and racing. Many racing participants are away from their home church much of the year, and through the implementation of track-side chapel services and other creative means, we serve to meet this vital need normally met through a local church. This includes, but is not limited to, pastoral guidance, performing weddings, conducting funerals and memorial services, hospital calls, sick calls, jail visits, and offering the sacraments of baptism and communion.
Whenever possible and practical, we shall serve as a missionary outreach, striving to find effective expressions of God’s love which will be relevant to the cultural climate of the sport of motor racing. Motorsports is the ideal platform from which we are able to share the love of Jesus Christ and our genuine concern for others.
We also wish to function as an active service organization to the world of motorsports, helping to meet practical needs by expressing the true servanthood of Jesus Christ and the unselfish attitude of the Christian faith.
Team RFC is a spiritual ministry concerned with the soul of man, and as such we endeavor to bring help and healing to the total man. Our message for mankind is that through faith and trust in Christ one can be forgiven and cleansed from the power of sin through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We strongly believe and affirm that … only a relationship with Jesus Christ and the application of the Word of God truly and completely changes lives.
The ministry of Team RFC is committed to and developed around this vital principle. The knowledge that we have been forgiven and that we no longer need to be controlled by sin, becomes the motivation to change our values and lifestyle. Christ within gives us the power to overcome the loneliness and nothingness that once filled our life. When we invite Him into our life, His fullness replaces the emptiness that one existed, and life becomes truly rich and full.
The vision of Team RFC is to see the world of motorsports impacted for Jesus Christ by individuals entering into a personal relationship with Him and growing in those relationships.
The mission of Team RFC is to serve people in the world of motorsports in the name of Jesus Christ through providing fellowship, pastoral care, evangelism, and service.
“Bringing Inspiration to the World of Motorsports”
RFC is a non-denominational ministry to the world of motorsports. As such, it is vital to maintain a basic, evangelical doctrine and statement of faith. Although our staff come from a variety of doctrinal backgrounds and personal beliefs, we strive to prevent RFC from being identified with any particular denomination or church affiliation.
Our official Statement of Faith therefore stresses the most essential doctrines and tenets of faith, as we strive to maintain doctrinal integrity at all times.
1) We Believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God.
2) We Believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
3) We Believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and His personal return in power and glory.
4) We Believe in the present and ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose in-dwelling the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life.
5) We Believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost, they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
6) We Believe in the spiritual unity of believers in Jesus Christ.
Our doctrinal emphasis centers around the person and life of Jesus Christ, his life giving teachings, and the Biblical principles by which we are encouraged to live a life of victory, fulfillment, and purpose by God’s grace and empowerment.
We are committed to Christian maturity, discipleship, and outreach-elements which form the heart and vision of Team RFC and Christian Motorsports International.
Perhaps you have a desire to serve in some capacity with Team RFC. All events are covered by a staff of volunteer ministers, a few are credentialed ministers, and yet the vast majority of them are laymen.. These staff members serve as pastors and chaplains on various sportsman and racing circuits. To learn more, go to HOW TO VOLUNTEER.
God’s faithful blessing has enabled us to envision and fulfill a number of 1st’s in our exciting ministry to motorsports, having developed over the years…
The first-ever ongoing Protestant chapel service for the Indianapolis 500.
The first-ever Prayer Breakfast for the Specialty Equipment Market Association.(SEMA) and SCORE Off-Road shows.
The first “official chaplain” appointed by a national race-sanctioning organization.
The first network of official track chaplains at racing facilities coast-to-coast.
30,000 … and counting!
Team RFC® Today
The year 2017 marks the beginning of our 47th year of ministry. From our modest beginning in Southern California, in 1971, there are now chaplains serving across the United States, as well as, Australia, Canada, and Europe.
Larry Smiley, of Arcadia, OK, first became involved in drag racing at the age of sixteen. He has been actively associated with motorsports for the past four decades. His love for racing and the Lord came together in 1996 when he discovered Team RFC®. Larry became an RFC chaplain in 1997. In 2005, he and his wife Linda served as the NHRA National Events Series Directors through 2014. Larry has also been serving as the Team RFC® President since 2005.
2017 will be Larry and Linda’s “Farewell Tour.” At the end of this year he will be stepping down as president of Team RFC®, but plans to continue as both a board member and volunteer chaplain.
Craig Garland, from Ennis, TX, began as a chaplain with Team RFC® in 2004. Craig became the South Central Regional Director in 2008 and served in that capacity until assuming the role of NHRA National Events Series Director in 2015. Craig and his wife Beverly travel extensively during the 24-race season.
Eddie Baugher, of Mesa, AZ became involved with the race community as a track photographer in Oklahoma. In 2009, he became a volunteer chaplain in the South Central Region. In 2015, he and his wife, Kelly, moved from Oklahoma to Arizona to assume the role as Field Ministry Director. In January of 2017 the board appointed Eddie as Executive Director to oversee the ministry operations of Team RFC®.
Jim Jack has been faithfully serving the ministry of Team RFC® since 1991. Jim is now serving as the Operations Consultant. He is also the Team RFC® Golf Tournament Director.
Organizationally, Team RFC® is divided into seven geographic regions across North America – each one led by a Regional Director. Most of the Regional Directors raise their own support as Deputized Fundraisers, although some are volunteers. Together with their Assistant Directors, a Dirt Sports Director, an RFC kids Director, and a Rodders Director, they provide oversight, training and direction to our volunteer chaplains and field staff.
The current Board of Directors consists of nine individuals. These are men and women, who are business owners, executives, clergy, as well as former and current racers represented at both the sportsman and professional levels. These individuals strongly believe in the effectiveness of the Team RFC® ministry.
Some statistics from 2016:
- 37 New Chaplains
- Total of 287 Active Chaplains
- 2,172 Events Completed
- 703 Chapel Services with 24,815 in attendance
- Officiated at 19 Weddings
- Made 112 Hospital Visits or Sick Calls
- Conducted 102 Funerals or Memorial Services
Two prominent lessons have been reinforced in our understanding … God is always faithful in His vision, and it takes a team of dedicated people to bring that vision into fulfillment. Those who deserve recognition for the success of Team RFC are our faithful donors and committed volunteer staff. We could not fulfill the vision and challenge God has set before us without their support.
As a non-profit ministry, we have no other source of income than the donations we receive from gracious racers and fans who believe in us and wish to become part of our challenging vision.