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  • Writer's pictureBarry Peters

Fore the Love of the Game

So what would I’d be doing if God hadn’t called me into ministry? Here's the second answer to that question.

I discussed in my September 12 blog about the question I’m asked every so often of what I’d be doing if God hadn’t called me into ministry. As I stated previously “Well, it’s an interesting question because I really can’t imagine doing anything else. I love what God has called me to – being a part of something so incredible as seeing life change in people – is amazing! I’ve had the privilege to be a part of full-time ministry now for 16+ years (and about 5 years part-time before that). I look forward to many, many more years of ministry.”

So what would I’d be doing if God hadn’t called me into ministry? The first of two answers was the career path of being a state trooper. Click here to read more about that if you haven’t already. The second is drastically different than the first.

When I think about my childhood, I have many great memories. We were pretty much a family of routines. It was church, school, sports, family, neighbors, and friends. Sundays were no exception. We went to church then ate at the same place - Johnny’s Chicken in Elkton, Maryland (every single Sunday). My love for chicken and dumplings began there!

Once we came home from family lunch, it was time to get the play clothes on and head outdoors so my dad could watch golf in peace (no kids running around inside the house). Usually, golf was on a major network from 3:00-6:00pm. Sunday was always the final round of the tournament so it was “must see TV” even back then. Ironically, every Sunday was routine as I mentioned, so it was back in the car between 5:30 and 5:40pm to head back to church for training union hour (old school church model), then church. Of course, there was no such thing as DVR, but we did have this “modern day” technology of owning a VCR. That thing was a life saver for my dad. He was able to see the final few holes of the golf tournament once we arrived back home from church. I recall one night how things didn’t go as my dad had planned because we got home and there was nothing recorded. We very soon realized that as someone was leaving the house, they (who could that be?) flipped off the light switch (thinking it was the one for the lamp) but it was that weird switch that controlled the TV and VCR instead. Oooopppps. Well, needless to say that never happened in the Peters’ house again as my dad went to the garage, grabbed a hammer and flathead screwdriver, came back in and hit down on the light switch, breaking the end off to where you couldn’t turn it off or on anymore. Wow, that makes me laugh having a mental picture of all that happening. No words were spoken, but the deed was done. It was always a great conversation piece for any house guest.

Needless to say, golf was extremely important in our family (specifically, my dad). That love for the game was/is passed down to us boys. It wasn’t long before Greg and I would be sitting on the couch watching golf with my dad instead of running around outside. I loved watching Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer going head-to-head. Those were some great memories we shared as the “men” of the house.

Now back to my answer – nope, I wouldn’t be a golfer, an electrician (to fix light switches) or a couch potato. My “other” career would have been a PGA Tour caddy. Yep, I would have been the guy carrying the clubs around for the guy making all the money. I figure it wouldn’t have been too bad to see the world all the while making the 10% cut of the player’s winnings. I knew I’d never be good enough to play professionally so it seemed like the next best thing.

Fast forward to my years in ministry… approximately 5.5 years ago, while on Twitter, I noticed that PGA Tour player Ben Crane (a Christian gentleman who I liked a lot) had a Twitter challenge as he was going to give his caddy a day off from carrying his bag at an event in Dallas, Texas. It was an 18 hole pro-am where you would walk inside the ropes carrying his bag. So, with the help of many friends, I began hitting up the Twitter world with my friends posting for Ben to pick me in the #CaddyForCrane challenge. Unfortunately, I came up short as Ben chose a guy whose birthday was going to be that day. Ben responded to me and thanked me as well as told me to keep up the good work in ministry. I missed out on that “dream job” but returned to my “real” job later that day (once I stopped tweeting).

As I’ve always said, God has a great sense of humor sometimes. Shortly after becoming an associate pastor four years ago here in Ohio, I was approached by a man I had recently met in our church lobby. He heard me mention my love for golf in a recent sermon illustration. We spoke briefly about golf and I even mentioned what I’d be doing if I wasn’t in ministry. It was a good laugh. Two weeks later, he called me at the church and said he remembered my comment about caddying. Well, come to find out, his son Jake was the captain of the Marshall University golf team. Jake was playing in the upcoming Ohio amateur tournament but there was a conflict in who was going to caddy for him. Jake’s dad, Tom was his usual caddy but this tournament wouldn’t allow for family to be your caddy (I am not sure why those were the restrictions).

Tom asked me if I’d like to talk about caddying for his son. Of course, I responded with “absolutely.” The following week, I had the privilege to meet Jake for the first time at a local Mexican restaurant. We had a great time as we both talked about our love for the game. He then asked if I would caddy for him for the four-day tournament.

Caddying for Jake was an unforgettable experience! He finished in the top 20 amongst the best amateurs in the state. We were able to get to know each other pretty well after spending 6 hours or so every day for four straight days while walking the fairways. And trust me, it was mostly fairways and not in the rough because he’s got game!

Jake and I became friends and I have had the opportunity to caddy for him in various events since that first experience 3.5 years ago. He has taught me a lot about the game. I believe one of the things he has enjoyed too was telling his playing competitors that I was also his pastor. There were always comments being made from them including when Jake hit a bad tee shot into the trees and it kicked back out into the middle of the fairway. One of the guys said “that’s what happens when your caddy is a pastor, I guess.”

It’s been a fun adventure caddying. I have loved the experiences. However, I love my “real” job of ministry that much more.

The two worlds collided (caddying and pastoring) just 2 months ago when I had the highest of honor of saying, “For as much then as you, Jacob and Kasey, have offered yourselves to each other, believing it is God’s will that you become one flesh, and believing that God has led you to this place, as a pastor and office of the law of the state of Ohio and a minister of the Gospel of Christ, as well as your caddy, in the presence of Christ, your family, and your friends, and our Heavenly Father, I take great pleasure in pronouncing you husband and wife. Jacob, you may kiss your bride!”

Thanks for reading. It’s back to the ministry grind that I love!

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