Links Daily Devotional

With Respect to Women…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, NIV)

In 2013 the door flew open for us at Links Players.

Our annual board retreat was to be held in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, and I was tasked with assembling the talking points and inviting special guests. One thing we knew was that more and more women were accessing our resources and our Fellowships at Links Players. In that golf is still played by 80 percent men, we knew that these women were in the minority in terms of simple numbers, but their interest was great, and we wanted to know how we could better serve them.

What happened in that room at the Williamsburg Inn over two long sessions was only and absolutely the work of the Holy Spirit among us.The spouses of our board members have always been welcome at our retreats, but we wanted to make sure they knew they were especially encouraged to attend and participate in this discussion (full disclosure: we had then and still have an all-male board, though not by theology or according to our by-laws). We invited one of our staff couples, both of whom were involved in Links Fellowships. And we asked LPGA Tour chaplain Cris Stevens and long-time LPGA Tour player and contributor to this devotional, Tracy Hanson, to be with us.

Let me cut to the chase: it was the most meaningful, most personal meeting we have ever had. We have foolishly tried to create similar conditions since then. No. Just no.

What happened in that room at the Williamsburg Inn over two long sessions was only and absolutely the work of the Holy Spirit among us. There were testimonies and confessions and tears, from men and women alike.

Looking back through my notes now, I see that Tracy expressed from her own experiential understanding that “not all women feel safe in a mixed group.” We would need more mixed Fellowships, but also Fellowships where women would meet only with other women.

And while this is not in my notes, I have an unshakeable memory of one of our board members, with his golf-loving wife alongside him, recognizing—in many ways for the first time—the way that politics in golf clubs so often move to “put women in their place.” He confessed his own complicity (if not activity) in this regard.

We knew then what we had to do. Long before any of us had considered the idea of “changing the conversation,” we recognized that Links Players needed to be among the leaders, and maybe the leading voice, in our clubs for women. For their personhood, for their honor, and for their salvation. The way that many disenfranchised people will have their eyes opened to the fact that they too can be one with us in Christ Jesus is for us to purposefully express that we truly believe we are on equal footing as human beings and especially at the cross, without regard to race, origin, economic position, or sex—and sometimes to advance that purposeful expression when we will be ill met in doing so.

From that meeting in 2013, we have made several changes at Links Players. You have likely noticed that Thursdays are normally Ladies Day here in the Daily Devotional, when we are all blessed by the writings of Tracy, Linda Ballard, and now Aimee Neff (as well as Izzy Beisiegel in the past). Tracy has been hired as our Director of Ladies Ministry. And we are seeing more and more women step forward to establish Links Fellowships.

We recognize that your own local church takes one or another theological position with regard to leadership roles for women in your congregation. We do not see that as our business. What we do see quite strongly as our business is that, among us at Links Players, women will be honored as children of God, treated with respect in every hour, and welcomed into this great quest we all share: seeking the face and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jeff Hopper
October 12, 2016
Copyright 2016 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.