The Big Boys Toys was a collection of unique cars, bikes and other "toys" held last weekend at mooraboolchurch.org , Bannockburn, Victoria. The church wanted to create a sense of community and build intentional relationships with this community. The result was Big Boys Toys showing off local speedway cars, hot rods, bikes, a prototype of the VW Beetle and many other toys. The highlight was Arthur Bartlett's T Model Ford. Arthur Bartlett has been a Motor Racing Chaplain for over 20 years, attending Events at Calder Park 'Thunderdome,' the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, Phillip Island and Sandown Racing Circuits. Arthur has lovingly restored a 1923 Model T Ford, which was a magnet to the crowd who listened to Arthur's restoration stories. He also gently guided the discussion towards another type of restoration: a relationship restored to God through Jesus.
The display was a free event, which aimed to build community by bringing people together, being a vehicle (no pun intended) for intentional relationships.
On Sunday night, Arthur shared his stories of over 20 years in motorsport. For example, a race marshal shared with Arthur that he had started a "bucket list" of things he wanted to do before he died (i.e. "kicks the bucket"). Arthur's challenge was that he should add "get to know God." Over the next year, Arthur had the opportunity to discuss this item and explain that it is not about religion, but a restored relationship with God through Jesus.
Another highlight was his story about the Calder Park Raceway Chapel, which Arthur helped move from Melbourne. The cross in the chapel is made from a crankshaft and tailshaft. The green and chequered flags either side of the cross point to the start and end of the race (i.e. Alpha and Omega: Jesus). A plaque under the cross explains, "Just as power is delivered to the track through these instruments, so too the power of God is delivered to us through the cross."
The Big Boys Toys was a great example of using the culturally relevant vehicle of motorsport to build relationships with men in the community for Jesus.
Arthur is former Managing Director of Mill Valley Ranch (youth campsite) in Tynong North.