Golf as Ministry - A Progression.
Imagine, if you will, a process by which we are able to use the game of golf for evangelism & discipleship for Jesus Christ from the moment a child becomes interested in the game until the moment that the golf club is laid down whether it's due to age or disinterest or …..
How can this happen?
Do we believe that this is the Lord's will?
Yes. We see it very clearly in Matthew 28 19 through 21 that the Lord calls for us to be Disciples of Jesus Christ and as we are going about our business, our lives, to make disciples. This applies, of course, to our golf lives. We are to make disciples of other golfers. We are to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ … “as we go”... and in every way within which we have the opportunity to fellowship. Even further, the word of God says (John 4:35) that the fields are ripe for the Harvest. This applies, I believe, to all fields, not just the fields where we’re working the harvest. In fact, it may be even more of a metaphor relative to what we’re addressing today for the golf courses or the driving ranges or the practice areas to be the fields “ripe for the Harvest”. We have individuals who are drawn to the game of golf, in fact, we have referenced in the past, Psalm 139, where the Psalmist says that from the very beginning, when we were, even, within our mother's womb, or even before that, the Lord placed his purposes in our hearts. Can this apply to the game of golf?
Of course it can!
So, this white paper refers to a process by which we believe the call for the Great Commission may be applied and processed and fulfilled in order to perform the Lord's work as he has called us to go and make disciples….
… in the golf “people group.
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So, how can we make this happen?
Various golf-oriented Ministries have already been established in order to facilitate this vision. Look at Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Golf, www.fcagolf.org or College Golf Fellowship, www.cgf.org & Links Players International, www.linksplayers.org for golf-oriented “people groups” using the game of golf to build community & disciples. What are some of the results? Look on the Web.com Tour, the PGA Tour & Champions Tour, the LPGA & Symmetra Tours for examples of professional golfers who have been positively influenced, partly, due to the aforementioned ministries.
Can we organize & institutionalize this influence? Well, possibly, institutionalize, (as we further develop this concept), but, certainly, influence aspiring golfers from the moment they are introduced to this great game of a lifetime.
How & by whom?
Take what Wally Armstrong has done with the tool, “Go -Start - Golf” (GSG) and, formerly, “Starting New at Golf” (SNAG). These are inventions by a man who has been called and guided by God for over 50 years as his passion and his vision have been to make the game accessible to youngsters. For them to have tools and instructional packages as well as inspiration and guidance to become introduced to the game of golf as well as grow in the game for enjoyment and competition.
So, Wally, guided by God, has been in the business of inventing and developing tools for youngsters to be drawn into the game of golf. The GSG kit is a simple, easy and enjoyable way to introduce a youngster as well as adults to the game of golf with comfortable golf clubs, tennis balls and fun targets and games. Again, the idea is to make the game interesting and enjoyable, but the main purpose behind engaging with youngsters and their families is to draw them into the game that imitates life, but, with the specific focus of trying to draw them into a fellowship where they are also introduced to the Creator of all Creation, Jesus Christ.
So Go -Start - Golf is the entry level tool that Wally has recently developed in order for this to take place.
How do we Implement that?
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Wally is quite clear that this game is simple enough for even those who have never seen nor handled a golf club. The student is able to take the club and naturally swing them, hit the balls and have targets in front of them. Then, for them to play games in order to keep score and compete against each other and, in general, to just have fun. This tool is being introduced throughout the country yet the main focus for us (Golf From the Heart: Bill’s ministry) is an outreach to the churches. The implementation of the Go - Start - Golf kit with its various games is a tool for the churches to introduce the youth to the game, encourage inviting others & building relationships. This can be accomplished within the various youth groups, out in the local parks as well as recreation areas and, even, inside the church with a room large enough to set up the kit, Implement a curriculum in which kids and their friends and their adult family members are able to learn the game and, hopefully, gain a further interest in the game of golf.
This tool can also be used at camps that are drawing kids from outside of the church so that they would then build relationships with the other kids. Through these new relationships, they might, possibly, attend the youth group and, even, draw their parents in. There is a statement that is made among our circles which states; “If you get the kids, then you may get the dad. If you get the dad, then the whole family may, potentially, end up in the church.” This has proven to be true, and Go - Start - Golf is a way to draw the kids & the family in. There are many other ways to do this, even, by just conducting a regular outside program or some sort of a competition that is established between individuals and groups and churches. Again, this is a way to draw new kids and families into this game and this interaction with others so that they may be candidates for presentation of the Gospel.
What's next? The Scratch Golf Association.... (Click)
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.