UPSTATE - Missions Action Challenge is more than a bike-ride fundraiser, it's also a way to honor the dedication and determination of one inspirational church member, Mac Lawton.
Easley First Baptist Church was moved by Lawton's efforts to continue serving youth in the 567 Club - despite a serious battle with cancer - that they decided the fundraiser should incorporate his name.
And so was born the inaugural MAC bicycle ride which takes off Saturday, Sept. 6 from the church to the peak of Caesar's Head.
All proceeds raised from the ride will benefit two EFBC church missions, said the Rev. John Adams.
"(MAC) has a larger purpose of building off of Mac's life and his emphasis on missions and ministry, so all money raised goes directly to support two mission causes," Adams said.
The name of the club is a Biblical reference to a scripture in Deuteronomy that instructs parents to raise their children in the way of God, said EFBC member Patrick Rivers, one of the organizers of the ride.
The 567 Club goal is to provide strong male role models and meets weekly on Tuesdays in the Family Life Center. During the school year, a homework component is included among devotional and athletic activities.
"It's training up young guys that will be men who will accept responsibility," Adams said. "And it's from a Christian perspective."
The MAC ride benefits not only Lawton's club, but also a mission endeavor in Brazil that gives street youth a chance to learn life skills, get work and discover Christian values, Adams said.
Called Hope Unlimited, the mission hopes to lengthen the life span of Brazilian children whose "life expectancy is three to four years once they hit the street," Adams said. "The success rate is overwhelming..."
Both groups benefit from the MAC bike ride.
"We're taking care of local mission and foreign missions in this endeavor," Adams said.
The "challenge" part of the name has many meanings including the physical test of biking 62 round-trip miles to the top of Caesar's Head from EFBC and back.
"Literally, it is a challenge. You can make this whatever challenge you want from 10 miles on up," Adams said.
But there is another, deeper challenge.
"The world that we face today has many challenges and we're trying to do our part ... to meet those challenges in the name of Christ," Adams said.
Promotion of physical fitness and healthy activities for families is another purpose, Adams said.
"There are so many ramifications - physical well being, spiritual well being, camaraderie," Adams said.
Adams said the race is "for all ages and all experience levels," and so far about 35 people have signed up ranging in age from 8 to 72.
Registration is ongoing up to 7:15 a.m. the day of the ride.
The ride starts out at 7:30 a.m. from EFBC at 300 East Avenue. Refreshments will be provided at stops along the route.
There will a stop at 5 miles for beginners to take a break and return for a 10-mile day of fun. Intermediate riders will have Support Aid Group stations at 10 miles, 20 miles, and 31 miles.
Mechanical assistance will be provided by Great Escapes of Greenville to anyone suffering a flat or other malfunction during the ride, Adams said.
Police support will be provided to riders on the 10-mile ride and vehicle escorts will patrol the entire route. A map and emergency contact information will be provided in registration packets on race day.
Cost is a minimum donation of $35 but funds received in excess will also be given in whole to the missions, Rivers said.
For more information or to obtain a registration form, visit www.efbc.org or call 859-4052.