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Passions Sports, Autos and Outdoors

Target: Christ

By Michael L. Ritchie D.C.

Everyone misses, I told myself when the big Illinois buck ran away, leaving my arrow behind. I had ignored the fundamentals of making an accurate shot while bow hunting, “aim lower when the deer is on alert.” That 8 point easily ducked my arrow to escape without a scratch. It doesn’t seem that a veteran deer hunter should make such an easy mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, the bible says. What does sinning have to do with missing a deer? The term sin was an old archery term meaning missing our mark. When we think of sin in this way, it is easy to understand why each of us needs forgiveness because missing is universal to all archers.  You say, “I never miss!” Now you have proved yourself to be a liar too!

There is a Christian archery program called Centershot Ministries, that seeks to bring kids back to the lifelong sport of archery and introduce them to Jesus Christ. Our motto in Centershot is “Making Christ the Target of our Lives.”

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Since Kris Grimes started the program in 2006, the program has expanded from 1 church to thousands enrolled in places as far as South Africa, Zambia, Mexico, Czech Republic and many more. I remember calling Kris, the Eastern Kentucky grad student, and asking him to send me the curriculum. “I only have a rough draft,” he said with an exhausted sigh. “Send me what you have!” I told him. Our little Baptist church has been doing Centershot ever since and the program has transformed the church. The best thing about Centershot is that it does not depend on the pastor to lead it. So, you may ask, “how does our church start a Centershot program?” I would first go to the website www.centershot.org and after reading the core purpose, click on the Getting Started tab. The journey will start with prayer.

I was asking God what our church could do to extend the success of our wild game dinner that we did once a year. When I heard Kris was doing a “Christian” archery program, I knew it was God’s answer.

I began to seek help inside the church and out to sustain the program because no one person can do Centershot. My thinking is why would you want to? We have had such a great time helping the kids learn the sport of archery and have marveled how God has drawn youth and adults to the knowledge of his dear Son. Most people do not like to evangelize by knocking on doors or passing out tracts, but the ease of witnessing through Centershot has turned our team into soul winners. One of my greatest joys is working alongside my wife Laurie. She is not an archery hunter, but after being trained to be a Basic Archery instructor, she has the skill and confidence to show youth how to be successful shooting archery. Remember to have women on your team because you will have a 50/50 boy to girl ratio as students. Girls like to shoot bows too!

Then, decide how you will raise the $2400-3400 to buy your equipment. We used the funds raised from our Wild game dinner to purchase and add to our equipment over the last several years. Then just do it!

You will be amazed at how many things can be done using the program. We have done one-day evangelistic programs at other churches with wild success. Getting the students involved after they have become saved and have shown competence in their archery skills has been a way of bonding with the students. County fairs, concerts, tournaments, and one-day archery enrichment days at schools are other ideas for using the equipment to spread the gospel. A group of people from different churches set up a Centershot shooting booth at the Big-Ticket Festival, a large Christian music festival in Gaylord, Michigan and had 1000 kids a day shooting archery.

Michigan Centershot, which is a collection of churches that have been doing the program, have scheduled and have done tournaments for the last seven years. Once a year we hold our Centershot /Kicking bear Camp at Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center in Roscommon, MI. The event includes an overnight stay, target shooting both days, 3-D archery, tomahawk toss, a huge marshmallow fight. The kids go swimming and have a pizza party on Friday evening followed by a fireside devotional. The event is finished with an awards presentation and a baptismal service for those who have been saved through Centershot ministries.

In 2017 we had 6 students baptized and in 2018 we baptized 4 more!

I may have missed the mark on that big Illinois eight pointer, but leading our church to do Centershot was right on target. Our little Baptist church has moved into a new building on 18 acres of land mostly due to growth from God blessing our Centershot program. Can you believe I heard my pastor say “We need to have a space large enough to accommodate our Centershot program.” I guess he has enjoyed doing all the baptisms that have been as the result of God using lay leaders to change kids’ lives “one arrow at a time!”

Contact Aaron Scheer the director of Centershot at 866-803-9181 info@centershotministries.org or log on to www.centershot.org for more information.

Aaron will be our Friday night speaker this year and is hoping to meet as many people as possible from Michigan that are interested in the program. Ray Howell of Kicking Bear Camps will be on hand to explain what Kicking Bear is all about.

The 2019 Centershot/Kicking Bear Camp is scheduled for July 26-27 2019 at Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center in Roscommon, MI. There is no cost for camping, food, or activities. If you want a room in the lodge, the cost is $49 per night. To register, visit their website. To speak to the Bambi Staff, call 989-275-5844.

For more info on Centershot Michigan find us on Facebook.


Dr. Michael Ritchie grew up in Harrison Township, MI. He is married to Laurie Allan Ritchie and they live in Higgins Lake, MI, where they have practiced Chiropractic for 36 years. They have 2 grown children, Sarah and Jacob (Kaleigh) and are grandparents to Lucas. Michael was introduced to hunting at a young age by his father, Paul Ritchie. He has hunted all over North America with bow and gun. He now is on a mission to mentor young people by teaching archery, hunter safety, and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Ritchie was recently awarded the Kirk A. Lee DC “Community Champion Award” from The Michigan Association of Chiropractors for beginning “The Lions Den”, which is a faith-based drug and alcohol rehab center in Roscommon, Michigan.



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