As we begin a new "church year" at Lay Ministries, we’re also gearing up for an important event on our calendar: the Fourteenth Annual LifeBuilders Golf Tournament, which will be held next May. This is a great event and we encourage all of you to take a look at joining us or sending your pastor as a way of appreciating him or her for their dedication.
Golf runs long and deep in my family. Unfortunately my father was frankly indifferent to whether I achieved anything athletically or not. He did not make the automatic connection between success on the athletic field and success in business that most American men do. So, although he was a good golfer (if he could keep the ball in the next fairway rather than the one over from that,) I didn’t get much encouragement on the course.
If there was a golf fanatic in my family, it was my mother, who really pushed my brother and I to play. Although she wanted us to play well, she was too focused on the technicalities and externalities, i.e., the rules, the etiquette, just being at the club, taking lessons, etc.. Although these are important, when overemphasised they became demoralising. I eventually quit playing.
My mother supported the tournament until her death in 2000, but it took another five years for me to start playing again. In the Spring of 2005 I announced to Ray Hughes Jr., at the time the tournament coordinator, that I was playing in the tournament. He put me down after picking himself off of the floor in shock. My play was so unsatisfactory that I was put in a "non-competing team," but that had its advantages too: I got the honour of playing with Ray H. Hughes, Sr.
I could have spent a lot of time and money on new equipment and lessons. And I definitely needed both. But early on I decided to just get out and play on a regular basis, trying to apply all of those lessons I had already taken. Moreover my decision to play at all had its immediate benefit: when I became tournament coordinator in January 2006, I was knowledgeable enough about golf as it is played and equipped in the 21st century that I could run a credible tournament.
Through all the playing, my game has managed to improve (with some equipment upgrades,) but not enough to win the tournament (which is good news if you’re planning to come!) But golf has both enriched my life and helped this ministry.
Our ministry is all about training and motivating lay people to do the work that God has called them to do. After all of the training and all of the seminars and meetings, there comes a point when it’s just time to do the ministry, to win the souls we’re called to win, to lead men in the ministry that’s so important to the health of the church, to do all of those things that impact the eternal destinies of those around us. With golf, there’s a time for lessons and equipment upgrades, but after that it’s time to get out and play. It’s the same with our ministry.
As you seek God for what He wants you to do with your ministry, keep in mind that, when the praying and the training is over, the time comes to just get out and do it.