December 31, 2000: Saturdany Night at The River
November 26, 2000: College athletes minstry emphasizes Holy Spirit
November 19, 2000: Bad weather doesn't dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit's Convoy of Hope
November 12, 2000: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church
October 29, 2000: Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ
September 17, 2000: Loving the unloved
September 10, 2000: Changing lives in a big way
August 13, 2000: Church planting fuels growth
July 30, 2000: Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans
July 16, 2000: Running the good race
July 9, 2000: Hispanic church thrives in border town
June 25, 2000: The hand of God
June 18, 2000: HonorBound: Raising an army of godly men
May 14, 2000: A/G foster families minister to children
April 30, 2000: Prison revival reaches beyond the fence
April 23, 2000: Harvest Sunday draws hundreds for water baptism
April 16, 2000: Chain reaction
April 9, 2000: One pastor's burden: reaching the 'white slums'
March 26, 2000: Cowboy church rounds up believers
March 19, 2000: Motorsports ministry: Winning souls at the track
March 12, 2000: A dream blooms in the desert
February 20, 2000: Romanian church prospers for 20 years
February 13, 2000: Ministry at a strategic academic crossroads
January 23, 2000: God's Navy
Running the good race
Its a sure bet where Chaplain Randy Weaver can be found seven days a week at Sam Houston Race Park in northwest Houston, Texas.
Since the racetracks opening in 1994, Weaver has ministered to hundreds of track employees, jockeys, groomers, trainers and racing fans. He prays with jockeys every race day and visits them in hospitals when they are injured. He regularly visits the backside and chats with trainers, groomers and riders who must devote 24 hours a day to caring for the horses, even to the point of living at the track.
"The number fluctuates, but there are about 1,000 people on any given morning on the backside," says Weaver, whose western shirts, cowboy hats and Texas-size belt buckles serve as his chaplains uniform. "That doesnt include the betting tellers and the other people employed by the track."
"Most people here are not your traditional churchgoers," says Gary Hearen, who is one of several who attend the services even though they have no connection with horse racing. "Randy has a bunch of people going to church that had quit, but he got them back into church."
"Rodeo cowboys who do it as a profession are on the road 48 weeks out of the year," says Weaver. "Most of them dont have a home church, and the rodeos are held on weekends."
Ann McGovern, Sam Houston Race Parks vice president of operations, says chaplains are necessary because many track employees rarely have time to find a nearby church.
"Working racehorses is a life," she says. "It is a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week job. Animals dont get put on the shelf on weekends."
"True religion is taking care of widows and orphans, loving God above everything else," she says. "Thats what we try to do take care of people and not just quote Scriptures at them."
Betting and religion
"Betting doesnt preclude bringing Christ to the employees or fans alike," he says. "Where would Jesus be? I believe He would be out on this racetrack telling people how much He loved them and cared about them. Our motto is, Helping people run the race. We are here to help people run the race with the emphasis on people. "
Richard Vara, religion writer for the Houston Chronicle in Houston, Texas.
Houston Chronicle Publishing Company © 1999. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
| Articles | Subscriptions
| News & Notes | Talk-Back
| Meet the Staff | Writers
| ABCs of Salvation | Who We Are | Life's Q&A | From Our Files | Pentecostal Evangel Books |
©1998-2000 Gospel Publishing House, General Council of the Assemblies of God