Well, I'm headed back to Phoenix for the second iteration of our Family Fun Day at Sun City CC in Peoria, AZ.
Why just the second iteration?
As you may remember, we updated to format conducted by Golf Program in Schools (GPS) that was the mainstay of the monthly offerings of the GPS Program since it's inception in 2015. But, it was missing one thing that was always an intention of the founder, Tom Loegering; introducing kids to a Loving God!
This was always the intention of Golf From the Heart as well, yet, we didn't have a venue like GPS; a golf course and authorization to conduct training in the middle schools.
We were somewhat short of implementing the "Loving God" piece, but, the Lord provided and introduced us to Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Thankfully, the leaders of CEF were more than willing to partner with us and we have coordinated integration with CEF in Maricopa County, AZ, Montgomery, AL and Murfreesboro, TN.
Our first iteration of the partnership was September 18th and here are a few pictures of that event;
So, this Saturday, October 23rd will be our second iteration and I'll be sure to get better photos and video of the Gospel presentation by CEF!!
Alot has been written to this point about what GPS is, how it came about and, even the introduction to the program at a golf facility in Montgomery, AL as well as God's provision for clarity and prompting of others to join in.
So, just today we conducted a prayer and strategy session with a small group of people who have prayerfully committed to participate in our Murfreesboro, TN GPS program www.championsrun.golf/@ Champions Run GC.
Remember, this is a Godly program inspired to implement the Lord's will in a community through a golf introduction process in middle-schools and at the golf course. The objective is to introduce the kids to golf while peaking their interest in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with an experienced organization; Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) "whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living."
So, how do we implement this program in Rutherford County, TN??
So far, we have been praying, that's right, praying!! In fact, one of the new committee members, who clearly is a "Let's do it" kinda guy (I LOVE that) asked just that; "What are our next steps, Bill. My response was from the Holy Spirit, not me; "We're just gonna keep praying a few things;
1. Father, in the Name of Jesus, by Your Holy Spirit, please touch the GM & co-owner of Champions Run GC to respond to my message & be receptive to the documents for implementation of GPS - Murfreesboro.
2. .... please pave the way for the right person in the Rutherford County Schools as well as the Admin in all of the schools you would place us in to connect with & approve GPS in their gymnasiums beginning in Feb 2022.
3. ... please provide volunteers to teach golf in the Schools. Continue to pray & follow the Lord's networking for more people to catch the vision we are fulfilling.
4. ... please provide the focus for discipleship of the Team. As we gather leaders, we will engage in a group Discipleship path to grow In the knowledge of God, 2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." - 2 Peter 3:18
5. One of our Team asked for us to be patient with the schools as they are "drowning". .. please Father, be with all people running the schools in our area.
We know that nothing happens that God does not allow and we are called to "ask"!! In fact the scripture associated with that is James 4:2b: "You do not have because you do not ask God." The Apostle continues to say, "When you ask you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you spend what you get on your pleasures. So we are in the business right now to ASK!
What are we asking for (see above) and what are our motives?
Our motives are to introduce kids to golf and attempt to gain their interest in the game of a lifetime. Our other motive is to introduce the kids and their parents to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to cooperate with the Lord as He seeks the lost. The word says the Gospel is the power of salvation and we believe introducing the Gospel to this golfer people group is our part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20; Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So, that's it for now!!
Thanks & Blessings
Golf Program in Schools (GPS) was established some five years ago when Tom Loegering had an epiphany to help kids in diverse communities. Tom saw that he could help kids that never would have an opportunity to be introduced to the game of golf to do just that at his golf course. But, that's not all, Tom wanted to introduce those same kids to a loving God.
In 2021, especially with the onset of Covid, GPS was able to pause the constant presence in the middle-schools after 30,500 kids had been introduced to the game and some 900+ had become junior members to Sun City CC. It was a time to review, to organize, to implement a repeatable program that could engage every middle-school in the country and, even, help struggling golf courses with increased rounds and revenue.
Tom launched an outreach effort through the National Golf Foundation (NGF) to municipal golf courses in the US. Lagoon Park GC in Montgomery, AL expressed an interest and I, Bill Poirier, with Golf From the Heart, volunteered to bring the golf course into the GPS fold. Here's how we did it;
That's right, just pray!!
Let's Build a Relationship!
Mike Shirley the GM of the Montgomery Municipal Golf Clubs; Lagoon Park GC and Gateway GC, saw the opportunity to grow the game at his clubs and join with GPS to introduce kids to a loving God. I traveled down to Montgomery and met with Mike for an afternoon. No golf, no fooling around, although we did have a nice lunch, but, we got to know each other, prayed for God's favor on our relationship and the implementation of GPS at Lagoon Park.
I was able to present the vision for the program at his clubs and set in motion a process that, quite frankly, had not been initiated before, but, that the Lord was orchestrating as we further discussed the plan and continued to pray.
That's right, just pray!!
In fact, that's what we did; prayed together. I encouraged him to begin to list the names that came to his mind as he prayed for the implementation of this program at his courses and in that community. Immediately a few names came forward, in fact, while I was still in the lunch area, I met two men, one of which said he wanted to be included in the program. OK, now we had three names; mine, Mike's and our new friend.
Within two weeks we had 12 names and we began to gather as much contact information as possible for these folks and continued to pray each Tuesday morning for these folks and their involvement.
Then came the meeting. On July 8th @ 8:00 AM we were to meet at Lagoon Park GC. At 7:55 AM I was getting a bit nervous as we had 1 other person besides Mike, myself and our wives. Oh boy!!
Then, in they came; 14 people overall with another person on the phone listening to our presentation. I was, personally, invigorated as I sensed the Holy Spirit's presence and the words coming out seemed inspirational to those in attendance. I mean, we, even had the Administrator for Montgomery Schools in attendance that oversees Athletic Directors and he verbally endorsed the principles and direction for GPS in the Montgomery Schools. We now have 20 people on our roster and praying that a few more may come forward.
Pray, Coordinate & Build Relationships.
Since that date we have continued to pray, to coordinate with those who indicated they would support the program and have interviewed many of them to determine what role they may want to take. It has been extremely encouraging as each person sees the program and is determining where they fit in.
Filling our roles. You can see the roles below. We are talking with each of our interested folks and determining where the Lord is calling them to serve and will they accept that role.
Meanwhile, we continue to pray together, interview and move to the next step in implementing our Golf Program in Schools - Montgomery, AL. Our goal is full program implementation by February 2022 with a fundraising golf event conducted to help defray the cost of the program. Costs equate to $20 per young golfer introduced to the game.
By the way, we are also building out our GPS program in Tempe, AZ at Shalimar GC and Murfreesboro, TN at Champions Run GC.
Wanna join us??
Give us a call, Bill @ 774-212-2265
This may be a long one!
But, I believe I need to update our friends and those who are becoming our friends to the blessings God has been providing.
1. GFtH was established several years ago to do exactly what it is doing today without any real understanding of why, how or when.
2. GFtH reached out to serve a few ministries in golf to fulfill the service attitude of the ministry without much response from those served.
3. The Lord honored that service and the following happened;
“PGA Professionals in the Word”
Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way”.
If I could do one thing over in my career as a club professional, it would be this: I would have made sure my family felt WELCOME at the clubs I served at. As one of my employment benefits, they provided my family with member privileges. But the sad thing, because of my selfishness. I didn’t want them to be at the club because I didn’t want them to get in the way of me serving the members and “me” making the members feel welcome. I took it to the extreme, and to this day, my wife and kids don’t really recall many happy memories of being with me at the golf course, because of the way “I” treated them when they would come to visit. This is by far my BIGGEST professional regret.
In the above verse, Jesus is talking with the Jewish leaders who were trying to accuse Him of working on the Sabbath. He goes on to tell them that He is only doing what HIS Father is doing, that what He sees Him doing, He does the same thing. The same is true of us who have watched our Dads throughout the years and how now we’re doing the same things (good and bad) that we saw our earthly fathers doing. The above verse hit me like a “lightning bolt”, when HE gave me insight to the importance of asking God to teach me how to be the Dad, He wants me to be (LOVING, gracious, forgiving, merciful). In my opinion, this is one of the greatest encouragements in Scripture to look to our heavenly Father to teach us how to love and act in one of the most important earthly roles we will ever have, called “Dad”.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for today. Bless our PGA Professionals and their families beyond measure. Please shower them with Your love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and peace. Draw them to Yourself, have them seek Your guidance as they love and serve their wife and children. Show them the opportunity they have to be used by You to demonstrate to their children and members what You want a father to look like. I ask these things in the precious and powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you are blessed to have family privileges at the club where you serve, I hope you will learn from one of my biggest mistakes and make sure your family comes first ALWAYS. Listen to Harry Chapin’s song “Cats and the Cradle” (link below) it sounds to me that he wrote a song about John 5:19.
Your teammate in Christ,
Bill Dando, PGA
“He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. The LORD values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love.” Psalm 147:10-11
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.