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Opportunity for archery ministry widening through vision of Gardendale FBC membercomment (0)

August 31, 2006

By Brian Blackwell

When Ron Huie, a member of Gardendale’s First Baptist Church, and his 14-year-old daughter, Anna, were first introduced to the idea of using 3-D archery as an evangelistic tool through their church’s inaugural shoot last year, they did not know what to expect.
But Huie said he was impressed on two counts. His daughter turned out to be a good shot, and the event turned out to be a unique way to expose both inexperienced and competitive bow shooters to Jesus Christ. 
“The church shoot got me interested because it was something new and different,” Anna said. “I asked my dad if I could go, and he was glad to take me. I was nervous about shooting at first, but then I found out it was a lot of fun.”
As a result of his daughter’s enthusiasm, Huie left the shoot with a vision to expand the church’s archery ministry past the once-a-year shoot to reach unchurched people with the gospel on a more regular basis.
And because of his vision, Alabama may soon be the first state to pilot a new church archery curriculum — Centershot, which is designed to reach youth through the rapidly growing sport.
“From the start, it’s been amazing to see how God has worked through this,” he said.
As Huie began looking for a place for his sure-shot daughter to use her talent, the vision he had for a bigger church ministry began to flesh out quickly.
Huie persuaded North Jefferson Middle School in Kimberly to adopt the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that other schools in the state were already using. 
Nearly 50 students participated last year in the program, which Huie said has had a positive impact in the lives of many youngsters who participated.
Tonya Helm, the teacher assigned to lead the program, said, “It’s taught discipline to a lot of kids. There’s been such an interest in wanting to shoot that kids are watching their behavior.”
It gives students who aren’t successful in more common sports a chance to excel at something, too, she said, according to The North Jefferson News.
Parents whose children had discovered a passion for archery in school began searching for more places to take them to shoot, and a Google search led them straight to information about the upcoming 3-D shoot at Gardendale’s First.
Huie took notice — and started toying with a way to harness that enthusiasm and model a new ongoing church ministry after NASP, offering instructional courses and starting a league in which churches across Alabama could participate. 
Then he discovered the staff at Genesis Bows — the official bow of NASP — was already discussing starting the Centershot program.
Centershot Ministries is an interdenominational program that engages youth in the sport of archery while also equipping them with necessary tools to have a more meaningful and deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, said Kristopher Grimes, Centershot director.
“Having been a youth minister for five years, I’ve not had the privilege of working with a program that has the potential to reach so many different youth at the same time,” he explained. “It is remarkable to see youth of all ages, gender, race and athletic abilities stepping up to the line and finding success with a bow and arrow while also growing in their faith at the same time.” 
Huie plans to work alongside the Centershot staff to develop a plan to roll out this new program in Alabama churches. As a beginning step in the process, he and other church members attended a training event earlier this month to become certified archery instructors. 
And Gardendale’s First continues to expand its outdoor ministry and is preparing now for its second 3-D archery shoot to be held at Camp David in Cullman Sept. 9.
“It is exciting to see how God continues to work through this local ministry and see how He already has plans to expand this into other communities across the state and the nation,” Huie said.
For more information about Centershot, call Huie at 205-590-1333. For information on the upcoming 3-D archery shoot at Gardendale’s First, call Allen Oakley at 205-488-8716.

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