News Articles

Pastor’s Masters links golf with evangelism

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–“A lot of men in my church play golf,” Ken Hall said. “It is a great way to put something that men love and evangelism together.”

Hall, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lilburn, Ga., ventured to his second Pastor’s Masters Golf Retreat this spring, joined by the congregation’s recreation director, Bill Linduff.

The retreat -– in the western North Carolina mountains — was led by Scott Lehman, founder of In His Grip Golf Association, a ministry that focuses on the golf course as a mission field and golf as an evangelistic tool.

Allen Gregory, outreach pastor at Bangor (Maine) Baptist Church, said the Pastor’s Masters gave him creative ideas to take back to his church.

“When a pastor from Maine with a burden for souls hears … how one man uses golf to reach others for Christ, that intrigues me,” Gregory said. “I’m convinced that churches need to think a little bit out of the box to reach out to their community in ways that maybe we haven’t done before.”

During the retreat, the group had the opportunity to play three of the nicest -– and most difficult -– courses in western North Carolina: Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa, Silver Creek Plantation and Reems Creek Golf Club.

But the Pastor’s Masters wasn’t about who was closest to breaking par but getting closer to God.

Seminars on golfing-related ministry and golf-centered life lessons were a key facet of the gathering for pastors and church staffers at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville.

Like the slick greens at Grove Park, the up-and-down of Silver Creek or the thick rough at Reems Creek, Lehman noted that life’s trials and tribulations are faced and joys are found through a Christ-driven life.

Lehman said he focuses on “5 F’s” in his life and ministry:

— Faith. “How is our time with the Lord?”

— Family. “Serving and spending quality time with my wife.”

— Finances. “They are not mine, they are His.”

— Fitness. “Our body is His temple to do His work.”

— Future. “Seeking out the hopes and plans for our lives.”

“Above all else, faith is the foundation of the cross which is the only thing that matters,” Lehman said. “I don’t believe Jesus gave us the Great Suggestion. He gave us the Great Commission.”

Lehman’s messages tapped into “The Master’s Grip,” a golf devotional book he coauthored with Jim Sheard, a Ph.D. in organizational behavior who also wrote “In His Grip,” a devotional which was the catalyst that helped Lehman turn his life around. The books, which show parallels between life, golf and faith, and a companion Bible study are tools pastors can use to lead lost golfers to salvation, Lehman said.

This was the first time the Pastor’s Masters was held at Ridgecrest. The May 7-9 retreat followed last year’s inaugural event at LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center near Santa Fe, N.M., and it will be held at Glorieta again Sept. 17-19. Registration for the fall event will be limited to 72 golfers.
More information about In His Grip Golf Association can be found at www.inhisgripgolf.com.

    About the Author

  • Jerry Higgins