Why a ministry to college golfers?
CGF exists to meet a need that is not being met by any other organization. In fact:
CGF is the only Christian ministry with the specific purpose of building into the lives of college golfers, sharing the hope of Christ with them, and discipling those who have placed their trust in Him.
There are currently over 1,200 college golf programs in the United States with 10-15 players competing on each team. This means that each year, in the college golf world alone, there are nearly 18,000 young people who need an opportunity to be exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ! Unfortunately, intercollegiate golfers form an unchurched, spiritually searching group of people. However, they also possess the potential of becoming highly influential leaders of the future. The following reasons articulate the spiritual needs of college golfers, as well as their endless potential as future Christian leaders:
As College Students
College golfers are typical college students who are away from home for the first time. They are making their own decisions, creating their own world-view, facing new temptations, and experimenting with all that college life has to offer. They are bombarded with questions about life, faith, truth, philosophy, relationships, identity, and spirituality. This leaves college students extremely vulnerable to the dozens of different religious, spiritual, and philosophical thoughts that combat the truths of Scripture. Statistics show that a person has an 80% less chance of placing their trust in Christ after the age of 21 than before. After this age, people become rooted in their belief system and reluctant to change their world-view. We want to reach these student athletes during the important years leading up to this critical age when they are the most vulnerable and still wrestling with life’s most difficult questions.
As Competitive Golfers
These college students are also competitive golfers. Most competitive golfers’ whole self-esteem is based upon their golf game. As highly motivated and performance-driven people, their success on the golf course often defines their identity. Most college golfers are also independent and self-sufficient, which makes them trust only in themselves and their own abilities. It is very difficult for a competitive golfer to trust in a higher power, because that would mean relinquishing control of their future golf success and potentially losing their only way of defining their self-worth. We want to meet the need of these young men by showing them that Jesus Christ can give them a new identity and define their self-worth by something much more permanent than golf success.
As College Golfers
The need to reach college golfers and coaches becomes even greater when we understand that no Christian ministry effectively reaches them because of the nature of their sport. Successful campus ministries such as Athletes-In-Action and Fellowship of Christian Athletes impact only those teams who spend a significant amount of time on campus. Unfortunately, college golfers practice and compete off campus and travel more than most collegiate athletes. Therefore, no campus ministry or local church effectively reaches this unique group of student athletes. CGF, on the other hand, exists to build into these young men and meet a need that is not being met by anyone else.
As Influential People of the Future
As we all know, whether its right or wrong, professional athletes are seen as icons and heroes in today’s society and have huge potential to influence others. Of course not all college golfers will make it on the PGA Tour, but the few who do can be powerful witnesses for Christ. Golf is also a sport that can be played for a lifetime and used in many other ways. As mentioned above, college golfers are highly motivated, self-disciplined, and performance-driven people with the ability to succeed at whatever they do. With this being true, many college golfers will use their golfing prowess to prosper in the business world. The potential influence that these young men can have for Christ in the future of corporate America is astounding. We desperately need godly leaders in the business world that is continually falling in personal ethics, integrity, and morality. As we reach the future leaders of tomorrow and equip them to be fully devoted followers of Christ, our hope is that the influence of the Gospel will exponentially impact lives throughout the business world and beyond.
As you can see, there is an incredible spiritual need within the arena of college golf. We have a mission field of nearly 18,000 people, many of whom have never been exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are not waiting for these young men to come to church to hear a message of hope, for they may never come. Instead, we are missionaries, sent forth from the church, bringing the message of hope to them. By entering their world, developing relationships in their environment, and investing time into their lives, we are following Jesus’ lead and ministering to a spiritually vulnerable group of people that are not being effectively reached by anyone else.