Rev. Don Rivers, President
Greetings in the name of the Lord, allow me to introduce myself. I am Rev. Don Rivers, President of Racing with Jesus Ministries, Pastor of Mount Carmel Christian Church. I am married to Lynda and we have three beautiful daughters, Elisabeth, Katie, and Danielle, and two wonderful grandchildren. We live in Coventry, CT.
I accepted Christ at the age of 30 and God’s plan for my life was very different than what I had anticipated. I was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in May of 1999 while pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in West Springfield, MA. In early 2002 God led me to move from the pulpit to the mission field. I soon found myself in ministry as a Chaplain to the drivers and teams of NASCAR’s touring divisions. God has taken my interest in racing and my love for Him and married them together on the mission field.
In 2005 the founder of Racing with Jesus Ministries, Rev. Pat Evans, developed pancreatic cancer and went home to be with the Lord. I then realized why God had placed me here. During Pat’s illness I started assuming his duties and began taking care of the day to day requirements of the ministry. With Pat’s passing I was appointed as president and along with another long time chaplain Rev. Dan Petfield, Pat left the ministry in our hands.
As God continued to grow this ministry the time came for me to leave my full time job and devote all my efforts to Him. God has provided, first as a bi-vocational position as pastor Emmanuel Baptist Church, now as Pastor of Mount Carmel Christian Church. God brought Mount Carmel has come under the RWJM umbrella and now it is the Church home for the ministry. God has been moving in a tremendous way through this ministry and I look forward to what He has in store for the future.
Dan Petfield, Vice President
Hi, this is Dan Petfield and I am the Vice-president for Racing with Jesus Ministries as well as the chaplain for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. I am also a part time chaplain for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the ROC Modifieds. Oh, on the side, I also work for IBM in the Corporate Litigation department. I have been married to my beautiful wife Deborah since 1982. We have 3 children – my son Aaron is a New York City Police officer and married to Cynthia. They have given Deborah and myself our first grandson – Caleb. My oldest daughter Stephanie is a middle school teacher. She is married to Kevin Sackett and they have given us our first granddaughter – the beautiful Annabelle. My youngest daughter Amanda, is single and working as a veterinary technician in an animal hospital in Yonkers, NY.
God called me to this ministry in the late 1990’s through the Rev. Pat Evans. I was up at Thompson one day viewing a NASCAR Modified Tour race and saw the pace car. I was thrilled to see Racing with Jesus on the side of a car on the track! I thought to myself what an awesome ministry – putting together a love for Jesus Christ and a love for racing. I immediately got in touch with him and through a series of events, he asked me to be the chaplain for the old NASCAR Busch North Series – now the K&N series. I was then ordained as a reverend by Pat through Racing with Jesus Ministries. Even though I have ministered to others, I have been blessed through the work that I do with this ministry. I know that God’s calling has been on my life and has trained me to do what I do today. May God bless you and looking forward to seeing each of you at the tracks!
Joe Kelly, Chaplain
My life was radically changed by the grace of God in 2005, I was always a believer but I thought God was a mean old guy watching everything I did wrong and dishing out punishment for those things…How differently I know him now! My heart and passion is to share with the racing family the finished works of Christ and the true nature of God…which is unconditional Love, grace, and mercy. I am now serving as chaplain at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala FL, as well as assistant announcer. I make my way around to several other tracks in the southeast including Volusia Speedway, Cochran Speedway, Al-Tech Raceway, and East Alabama Speedway. I am available for other tracks as well, you can reach me through Racing with Jesus Ministries; 24/7….
My desire is to build relationships with people and to be available in times of need.
Debbie Petfield, Board of Directors Advisor
Hi, this is Debbie Petfield – I am wife to Rev. Dan who is a chaplain for Racing with Jesus Ministries. I cherish being a mom and a grandma and always look forward to spending time with my children and grandchildren. I work as a preschool teacher at a local nursery school here in NY. I am also on the worship team I help with the youth at our church and lead a woman’s prayer group.
At times I am able to travel with my husband to the tracks to support and help him out. I always enjoy the excitement of going to the races, but I really cherish the times I am able to help bring the word of God to the racers during chapel. Occasionally I am able to sing at the chapel services that Racing with Jesus holds during race day. I see how God has called my husband to minister at the tracks and do the best I can to support him and help him out. May God bless each and every one of you!
Debbie Petfield 😊