Andrew Fisher, racing driver, is passionate about his faith… from the racetrack to schools around the country he is taking his ‘Jesus. All About Life’ campaign to challenge the stereotype of what a Christian really is and to inspire the courage to really look at the person of Jesus, the ultimate role model and His value system for our lives.
> How did you get started in motor sport racing?
I’ve always had a keen interest in cars growing up, and my father had an interest in cars as well. Around 21 years of age my father thought it would be a good idea if I did some advanced and defensive driving courses and to learn how to drive well.
I pursued a career in business, with my own management consultant business in my 20s, and then when I was about 33 years of age some friends said they were going to do a 500 km enduro race. They wanted me to be their third driver, something I was definitely keen to do!
I had to go get a Cams Racing Licence and then I turned up at the race track with a race helmet, and that was it! Over the course of that weekend I found out that we were in the same car as the 15 other teams on the track and we would really find out whether we had what it takes or not in that sort of environment.
Luckily, I found out that I was pretty good at it!
We started the racing team in 2007 and have had a few race wins and podium finishes as well. I think it’s really important that we compete at that level; we’re not just there to make up numbers. We’re serious about racing; we’re not the dorky Christians running around the back of the field!
> What is the ‘Jesus. All About Life Campaign’ and why is it so important in your life?
It’s a prime time media campaign and it’s about putting the person of Jesus centre stage. I think in a lot of cases people have been turned off religion and church over the years. There’s a whole range of issues that the community has walked away from.
My personal feeling is that if people focus on the person of Jesus, then they’re a lot more open to what the Bible says and what Christians say. Jesus had a lot to say in the bible about what he thought about life.
As anybody who has read the bible knows, Jesus has the wisdom of God, so what he said was important. It was relevant, and it’s still relevant today.
The ‘Jesus. All About Life Campaign’ is all about putting Jesus back on the agenda again, giving Christians the opportunity to talk about Jesus and what Jesus said about the issues of life, rather than what religious institutions might say about things.
> Why did you decide to embark on this campaign and put ‘Jesus’ on your racing ute?
I made a decision to step out and be more overt and really challenge the paradigms that people have of Christians. People don’t expect a Christian to race cars at 99km/h in Australia’s most competitive racing series.
So for me it was an opportunity to say, “Hey look … Christians can do all sorts of things in life. There’s no actual stereotype of a Christian, we’re normal people who just happen to believe in the person of Jesus.”
My family had known about the campaign from when it was actually being created, so we had a good understanding of the campaign and I felt that it matched my contemporary nature of Christianity.
We chose the ute series, because in marketing terms it was the most geometrically opposed series to the Christian faith I could find. It’s the typical bogan, aussie, Holden Vs. Ford competition.
As a marketer it’s all about getting bang for your buck. We put Jesus in among the calendar girls and the beer companies, and the rest is history!
> You will be racing in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 this October. This is the highest-profile event on the motor sport calendar. How did this opportunity come about, and what does it mean for Jesus Racing?
It was one of those things we didn’t chase after. This is the first year they have offered wild card entries in the main race, although it was some people we know who applied for one, not us.
They rang us a few weeks before Phillip Island and wanted me to consider driving for them, as one of their drivers was not well enough.
I explained that the Jesus brand was something that I always take with me when I race, so they agreed and offered me the front bonnet, the sides of the car and a bit of the rear to promote the Jesus brand. I then had to upgrade my licence to allow me to race in the Championship.
Given our schools program that we do, where we talk to about 60,000 school students around Australia every year, and the connection that the main game supercars have with those young people, it was a true God moment for us.
And then when you balance that off against the fact that the ‘Jesus. All About Life Campaign’ will be in the middle of the campaign while we’re in Bathurst, it was an amazing opportunity!
Now we have a car racing at Bathurst 1000; for the first time ever a car with Jesus on it has been involved in motorsport and will have a really high profile in the highest profile race in motorsport.
> You are coming to Port Macquarie on 21 October, speaking at local schools and the Ignite Youth Church. What is the message you’ll be sharing with young people here?
The message we talk about is being courageous and making courageous decisions. The problem we all face in life is that we make a lot of decisions based on reflex, where we don’t think through the consequences of the decisions that we make – and quite often it can have a negative impact on ourselves and the people around us.
We challenge the young people in particular to be courageous about the decisions they make in life.
And obviously one of those courageous decisions is to really look at the person of Jesus for themselves – not at what their friends have said, not at what their family has said, or what society says, but actually having the courage to look at the person of Jesus for themselves.
Jesus is an historical figure; there’s a lot of argument about that. He was either who he said he was, The Lord, or he was a crazy guy.
So for us, we say he is the person of Jesus; have the courage to look at it for yourself.
> Why do you feel it’s so important for young people to have a greater awareness of the consequences of their lifestyle choices?
Society is throwing role models at young people, and we see the breakdown and short comings of those role models in terms of what we really want to represent to our children. For me, I’m 42 years of age, I’m a father of 2 children, and I’ve been married for 13 years. So I’ve got some life experience behind me to be able to say that it’s not always going to be simple or easy.
But you do need to have a set of values and a faith system that is going to help you through the tough times, not just enjoy the good times.
> Thank you Andrew.
You can meet Andrew Fisher when he speaks at a special function for Ignite Youth Church on Wednesday, 21 October from 7pm at The Grace Church on Oxley Highway.
There will be a free shuttle bus running to and from the no cost event. For further information, contact Todd on 6581 0654