I haven’t done a lot of golfing in my life time, but one of my best memories of golfing is when my friend Mike invited me to go with him to a driving range. To me, drives are a demonstration of power and are more spectacular in comparison with the smaller little shots that are a part of the rest of the game. Hitting a ball and chasing after to hit again, and repeating this process over and over again never quite appealed to me, but I loved the driving range. If I were wealthy and had a lot of time on me hands, I would certainly be tempted to visit a driving range on a regular basis. You hit the ball as far as you can and don’t worry about chasing it, then you get to do it again and again. Hitting the ball far is my favorite part of golf, and chasing after the ball is my least favorite part. The driving range is the perfect solution for doing what I like, and eliminating what I don’t like.
It’s tempting to take on the same attitude towards ministry that I have in golf, to find the part of ministry that I like, and eliminate the part that I don’t like as much. What I like in ministry is a move of God that grabs people and gives them a powerful encounter with God. If that was all there was to ministry, I would be happy, but just as a golfer must follow up a good drive with smaller shots that aren’t as far, or powerful, or as spectacular, there are big meetings with powerful moves of God that must be followed up with ministry that takes place in smaller settings that may seem less significant and less spectacular.
Every Day Life
A real game of golf includes a huge variety of shots and settings, and real Christian discipleship will also require influencing people for God in a huge variety of circumstances and settings. For me Christian education has provided opportunities in every day settings to build relationships, and to encourage, instruct, help, correct, serve, work together to accomplish tasks, and work together to resolve conflicts. It doesn’t always seem big, powerful, or spectacular, but it’s where people can learn how to live the Christian faith in the context of everyday life. In your case, those every day opportunities to influence others toward God may be in a family setting as a mother or a father, or it may be in a friendship, or a relationship at work, leisure, or within your community.
The Masses and Individuals
If you favor a driving range mentality in your spiritual life, you’ll be tempted to focus on a Christian setting that seems powerful and spectacular, and neglect to extend your Christian life outside of that setting. In reality, golf consists of much more than a driving range, and if we are to face spiritual reality, then our walk with God must influence other towards God in the full spectrum of the many areas of life. God works among the masses, but he also works among individuals, and we must do the same.