Stepping out on the green with golf clubs in hand and friends beside is not only beneficial to physical health but also promotes positive mental health, according to Texas Baptists Director of Counseling Services Katie Swafford, M.A., L.P.C.-S.
During the third annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic, held on April 25 at the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, 261 individuals from around the state competed to promote their own physical and mental health and to also raise support for Texas Baptists Counseling Services.
The tournament raised an estimated $15,000 by way of donors, event fees and sponsors, with BCFS serving as the title sponsor, to benefit counseling services offered to ministers and their families.
Under the direction of Swafford, Counseling Services exists to offer hope and encouragement to Texas Baptists dealing with difficult life issues, including depression, anxiety, marital issues and more.
“There can be a lot of hurt in ministry and people don’t always have a safe place to be able to walk through those things,” Swafford said. “Counseling can be that safe place or help to connect them to that safe place.”
Counseling Services has a network of around 170 counselors across the state who can provide a safe, confidential place for ministers to express their struggles.
Swafford assured the money raised through the golf tournament will provide financial assistance so ministers can connect with one of the counselors without being concerned about finances.
“I firmly and passionately believe that healthy ministers make healthier churches,” Swafford said. “The fact that we will have more money will mean there will be more people we can help or we can increase the amount we can assist with.”
Other financial sponsors include Baptist Credit Union; HighGround Advisors; George W. Truett Theological Seminary; Dallas Baptist University; Austin Baptist Association; East Texas Baptist University; Bruner Auto; Saville, Dodgen and Company; Kyle Lake Foundation; David and Belinda Russell Charitable Fund; Baylor Scott & White Health; Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas; Velocis; Terra Manna; South Texas Children’s Home Ministries; Guidestone Financial Resources; Frost Bank; High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation; Logsdon School of Theology and Seminary; and TX Bank and Trust, as well as a number of other sponsors for snacks and prizes.
It is OK and not shameful to reach out for help--that’s something Swafford wants all ministers to know.
“As much as our churches sometimes tell us that we need to know everything and have it all together, that’s not the reality of life,” she said. “Who knows why God may allow circumstances in our lives, but you don’t have to walk through them alone.”
Texas Baptists Counseling Services offers confidential assessment, counseling and referral services for ministers and their families; counseling resources for all Texas Baptists; and group presentations on mental health topics to promote overall well-being and healthy living. Learn more at texasbaptists.org/counseling or simply contact Swafford at 800.388.2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.