Doug Kriz, senior minister at Speedway Christian Church, didn’t let the two huge auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway less than one-half mile away, stop his Sunday services. His church is normally land-locked when major races such as the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto races are run.
“We literally can’t reach our church because of the traffic and the way law enforcement closes off streets. The Indianapolis 500, the largest single day sporting event in the world, brings 350,000 fans to the west side of Indianapolis every Sunday before Memorial Day!” he said.
For years his church and other churches in the community have had to close on race week-end Sundays, some trying to make up for the loss of worship by having services earlier in the week.
His solution: become a 21st itinerant preacher, not by riding a horse, but riding a two-wheeled high technology Segway ® personal transporter. “If our members couldn’t come to church, we would take services to members’ homes and a public park.” He said the idea of the Segways came from Randy Kuss, church youth minister.
“It was so goofy, but we knew it would work, or at least we thought it would work,” Kriz grinned. Watch a video of Kriz driving his Segway at the 2009 General Assembly >>
On the NASCAR race day, July 26, Kriz and Kuss took off on the Segways to three members’ homes. Dressed in jeans, camp red shirts and white stoles with the Disciples chalice flowing in the wind, they made the ride to the homes and the nearby park.
“We were amazed. We had 20 to 30 members at each home and probably a hundred or so at the park. The services were short and our members said they were moving,” he said.
Kriz estimates that about 85 percent who attended were church members but “quite a few were invited by neighbors or just heard about what we were doing.”
Kriz and Kuss may fire up the Segways again as the MotoGP Motorcycle races come to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August.
The Speedway minister drew curious glances from attendees of the Disciples 2009 General Assembly as he patrolled the convention center’s hallways demonstrating that itinerant preachers can exist in the 21st century…on Segways.