Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Special Report: Golf Ministry. The Cranny.

Links Players International - Special Report
DALLAS - The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of Links Players International, held October 29-30, was anything but regular. Significant additions are leading to the expansion of the ministry in order to engage men and women to consider and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, Lord, and Treasure.
Jeffrey Cranford named presidentTo begin, PGA professional Jeffrey Cranford, who played as a top club professional in the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club, was named as the president of the organization, with the primary responsibility of presenting the vision of the ministry to golfers around the world.
Cranford has been an LPI board member since 2004, chosen primarily because of his long-time involvement as the head of Highways & Hedges, a regional ministry in a California’s famous golf hotspot, the Coachella Valley. Through Highways & Hedges, Cranford has led Bible studies at La Quinta Country Club, Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Rancho La Quinta Country Club, Desert Horizons Country Club, The Vintage Club, and—beginning in November—the Trilogy Golf Club. All of this, as well as passing on these studies to leaders he has discipled, is in keeping with the Highways & Hedges mission to bring the Good News of Christ to those behind the walls of country clubs.
Cranford will lead the expression of this mission to golfers in the United States and abroad. At present, this is being done through two principal messages: (1) the need to conduct spiritual due diligence, an idea supported by the most recent series of Links Players Bible studies, authored by Cranford and Links Players COO Jeff Hopper, and (2) the inspirational message that “You’re Hired!”, a charge ignited by the parable of the workers in Matthew 20:1-16. Cranford and Hopper have begun work on a book that will encapsulate these and other important themes in engaging influential men and women to impact the world for Christ.
New Board members namedJoining Cranford at Links Players are three of his board members, who were elected to the LPI Board of Directors. These include Greg Solis of La Quinta, California; George Garza of Indio, California; and Harold Andrews of Dana Point, California. Also added to the LPI Board of Directors was Dennis Darville, Vice-President for Ministry Development for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Mission-minded vision adoptedThese men, along with the standing Board of Directors of Links Players, approved an exciting new vision and mission for the ministry, one that emphasizes the missionary nature of the work being done regionally by Randy Wolff (hired in Dallas in January 2006) and Tom Gray (hired in Atlanta in August 2007). Read this new vision here.
Links Players will look to add regional directors in the Southwest, Northwest, North Central and Northeast regions of the United States. Seed money is being and will continue to be raised in order to bring these directors on board, enabling to begin their work as funding bases are developed to support them in their regions.
Media ministry expandsThe Links media ministries—which include www.linksplayers.com, the Links Daily Devotional, the Links Letter magazine, Links Players Bible studies, and Links resources such as the Course of Life and player testimony scorecard tracts—will be expanded to feature the teaching of Jeffrey Cranford and other Links Players national and regional leaders. In the beginning of 2008, audio and video resources will become increasingly available on the Links Players web site, offered as free downloads and on order as CDs and DVDs.
Because Highways & Hedges has been responsible for organizing outreaches at the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Desert Classic and Buick Invitational, new Links Players resources will look to include DVDs from these events, as well as from a new event at the Nissan Open in Los Angeles.
Connections aboundWith the increase of regional activity and local Links Fellowships, the resources produced by Links Players will seek to meet the demands of these Fellowships for materials that promote spiritual growth among golfers.

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