Frequently Asked Questions

Feb 27 2013

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How old is the USCGA and how did it begin?

Many churches in America include golf in their recreation programs. Trinity Baptist Church in Southaven, Mississippi was no different. Prior to 1999, the format evolved from playing as a group to a rather informal foursome scramble format that required its teams to complete their rounds by a certain date.

In 1999, the Trinity Baptist Golf League was organized to promote more fellowship by scheduling the entire group to play together on Saturdays. It was a successful church golf league promoting fellowship among its golfing members. In 2002, a new vision for the golf ministry emerged that, not only could provide Christian fellowship, but could include devotionals and evangelistic messages to encourage its members and foster an atmosphere conducive to bringing others to hear the gospel.

In 2003, that vision became a reality when the Trinity Baptist Golf League moved from the local church to become an interdenominational ministry to promote Christian fellowship and evangelism through the game of golf. A new name was required to reflect the new vision and geographical scope of the ministry and we became the United States Christian Golf Association. Our primary outreach has been to the local churches in the metropolitan area of Memphis, Tennessee, including DeSoto County, Mississippi, but the vision is to establish chapters throughout the United States.

What does the acronym "USCGA" stand for?

United States Christian Golf Association

How does a church start a golf ministry?

The previous question identifies a few critical issues as a church considers initiating a Golf Ministry; those, plus others offered here, present a sequential process for starting:

  • Endorsement and embracing of the ministry by church leadership (Pastor, Staff, Governing Body)
  • Visionary leader (Specific gifts/talents for this person would include a heart for the lost and a desire to see people grow in their faith, a background and/or familiarity with golf, people skills for the purpose of recruiting, teaching skills in order to train those recruited, and organizational and administrative skills in order to run the programs)
  • Survey the congregation in order to identify areas of interest for participation as well as potential leadership.
  • Observe the community in order to determine the activities, events, and/or golf interest to which people gravitate.
  • Based on the survey and observation, consider the three major determiners for offering an event, league or activity: FINANCES, FACILITIES, PERSONNEL - Leadership and Participants.
  • Construct a program based on the information from #3-5.
  • Develop a strategy for evangelism and discipleship for each program initiated.
  • Promote the ministry and the individual programs.
  • Organize and administrate the programs.
  • Evaluate and modify as needed.

What do you mean by the term "Golf Ministry"

While recognizing different points of view, the word golf (in conjunction with the word ministry) refers to any and all activities within the continuum of simple play to highly organized and competitive professional golf. It would include individual and tournament golf play, Christian fellowship, outdoor activities, fellowship activities, and general participatory contests and/or activities. "Golf Ministry" should be gender inclusive, age inclusive, and ability inclusive as well as intensity varied, and activity varied.

The word ministry has an Old and New Testament understanding of service or serving; therefore, a Sports Ministry is any activity that lends itself to serving God, the church (building up the believer), or the lost. The church should never consider that it has a Golf Ministry merely because there are activities. It is the combination of taking those activities and consciously planning to glorify God, edify the saint, and reach out to the unsaved that constitutes Golf Ministry.

Should every church have a golf ministry?

No, just as every church should not try to develop every ministry that other churches have. The indicators that a church ought to consider a Golf Ministry is when God places a vision for this sort of ministry in the minds and hearts of the leadership, when God has raised up a leader for this ministry, when God has placed gifted people within the congregation who have an interest in sports and understand how that interest can be used to serve the purposes of God within that church, and when certain circumstances lend themselves to the successful launching and maintaining of a Golf Ministry.

Is it appropriate for a church to have a golf ministry?

Once you have reconciled the issue of the individual being involved in sports and recreation, you can address the issue of the church formally integrating a ministry through these activities. To determine the propriety, you must try to find Scripture that supports or defends the place of the activity in the church.

This creates a difficult proposition in that Scripture is silent about the issue of sports and recreation. The Bible simply does not condone nor condemn Sports Ministry.

Of course the Bible is equally silent about television or movies; however, we can find biblical principles that will guard and guide us regarding which TV shows or movies we ought to watch or how much we ought to watch them. The same is true of Golf Ministry. We have to find principles that give us the latitude or freedom to use this form of ministry.

As one reads the Book of Acts as well as the Pastoral Epistles (I and II Timothy and Titus), it is apparent that God has goals for the local church. While individual ministries may debate what is included and which is the most important, it is apparent that the church is to be involved in three things: WORSHIP, EDIFICATION (the building up of the believer; participating in God's plan for the believer to be conformed to the image of His Son), and EVANGELIZATION.

Based on Paul's "declarations of freedom" in I Corinthians and Galatians, it appears that as long as neither the individual nor the church violates any clear command of the Lord, there is freedom in accomplishing the work God has given the church to do. The key for the local church is to find what activities allow it to be most effective in accomplishing worship, edification and evangelization. Certainly the freedom and latitude that Paul expresses is available to the church for the inclusion of sports and recreation in order to glorify God and extend His kingdom.

Is it appropriate for a Christian to be involved in golf and recreation activities?

If what you mean by appropriate is, does involvement in sports and recreation violate a principle or command of God, the answer is "no." It violates no command of God. Of course to say that means we need to define the word "sin" and, then, to discover if participation in golf and recreation falls into that definition.

The word "sin" in early Greek was actually an archery term; it literally meant to "miss the mark." When an archer shoots at a target, he aims at the "bull's eye" - the center of the target. When the arrow landed anywhere else, the archer "sinned" - he missed the mark. The term began to be used in Christendom when people began to miss the mark - the absolutes of God found in His character or His commands found in Scripture. In other words, when I live my life contrary to the precepts, counsel or commands of God (the center of the target for my life), I have "missed the mark, I have sinned."

When involved in a golfing or recreational event, it is not the event that will determine whether the participant has sinned . . . sin will be the result of my motivation for participation, my actions within participation, or my attitudes after participation. A game is not intrinsically sinful; however, if one participates in order to achieve self-worth, that person has denied the value God places on him through the sacrifice of His Son. That is sinful. If the participant acts out violently or speaks wrathfully during participation, it is not the game that has sinned; the participant has. If the participant becomes haughty and proud because of victory, or despondent over defeat, again it is not the game that has caused this, but an ungodly response to the outcome of the game. The participant has sinned. As long as the participant can maintain his or her Christian witness and bring glory to God through the participation (Colossians 3:23), no Christian is constrained to avoid sports and recreation.

How can the USCGA help our church?

The USCGA can provide a speaker who can explain what the USCGA’s mission is and make suggestions to start a Golf Ministry in your Church. One other way the USCGA can help is through our website that will refer you to other Golf Ministry agencies that could be of assistance.

During league play, what can I expect?

The majority of our league play involves individual play using your own ball where it lies. The league plays at least 15 rounds during each season (from March through September, with rounds played approximately every other week). We also play some post season rounds with varying formats such as match play and scrambles.

League players accumulate scores per round and at the end of each season we have a championship round where we award prizes for league play.

I like to play golf, but I am not a very good golfer. Can I play?

Yes, there is a place for all who would like to play with allowances for different levels of ability. The USCGA uses golf rules established by the USGA (United States Golf Association) and is governed and guided by Christian principals.

How can I become a member of the USCGA?

To enroll on-line for the current USCGA Tour click here.

How can I become a Christian?

You're not here by accident. God loves you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son. There is just one thing that separates you from God. That one thing is sin.

The Bible describes sin in many ways. Most simply, sin is our failure to measure up to God’s holiness and His righteous standards. We sin by things we do, choices we make, attitudes we show, and thoughts we entertain. We also sin when we fail to do right things. The Bible affirms our own experience – “there is none righteous, not even one.” No matter how good we try to be, none of us does right things all the time.

People tend to divide themselves into groups - good people and bad people. But God says that every person who has ever lived is a sinner, and that any sin separates us from God. No matter how we might classify ourselves, this includes you and me. We are all sinners.

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Many people are confused about the way to God. Some think they will be punished or rewarded according to how good they are. Some think they should make things right in their lives before they try to come to God. Others find it hard to understand how Jesus could love them when other people don't seem to. But I have great news for you! God DOES love you! More than you can ever imagine! And there's nothing you can do to make Him stop! Yes, our sins demand punishment - the punishment of death and separation from God. But, because of His great love, God sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins.

"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

For you to come to God you have to get rid of your sin problem. But, in our own strength, not one of us can do this! You can't make yourself right with God by being a better person. Only God can rescue us from our sins. He is willing to do this not because of anything you can offer Him, but JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!

"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy." Titus 3:5

It's God's grace that allows you to come to Him - not your efforts to "clean up your life" or work your way to Heaven. You can't earn it. It's a free gift.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

For you to come to God, the penalty for your sin must be paid. God's gift to you is His son, Jesus, who paid the debt for you when He died on the Cross.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

Jesus paid the price for your sin and mine by giving His life on a cross at a place called Calvary, just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem in ancient Israel. God brought Jesus back from the dead. He provided the way for you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. When we realize how deeply our sin grieves the heart of God and how desperately we need a Savior, we are ready to receive God's offer of salvation. To admit we are sinners means turning away from our sin and selfishness and turning to follow Jesus. The Bible word for this is "repentance" - to change our thinking about how grievous sin is, so our thinking is in line with God's.

All that's left for you to do is to accept the gift that Jesus is holding out for you right now.

"If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10

God says that if you believe in His son, Jesus, you can live forever with Him in glory.

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let's review what this commitment involves:

I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior - this is to repent or turn away from sin

I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead - this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins

I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God - this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus

I receive Jesus as my Savior forever - this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised

If it is your sincere desire to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, then talk to God from your heart:

Here's a Suggested Prayer:

"Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life."

If you have trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please let us know. We want to rejoice in what God has done in your life and help you to grow spiritually.

If you have questions or concerns you would like help with, please call or write and let us know. We're here to help you understand the love that Jesus is offering you for free, no matter who or where you are.