Contents: Summary, Examples of success: Pro Tour, Asian outreach, New form of communication, Ministry Financial situation, On-
Contents: Summary, Examples of success: Pro Tour, Asian outreach, New form of communication, Ministry Financial situation, On-line giving, My personal situation, My ordination, Board policies updates, Social networking via the Internet, Opposition to this ministry.
Summary: Something happened this year that is wonderful to see and feel. Men pro players were walking by me and saying hello to me by my name and I often did not know them. To me, this means that people were talking about me in the locker room and I was receiving favorable comments. It is important in 2011 that I study the ATP/WTA media book recognizing each players face and name and respond to him or her in kind. I have had about 5 players accept Christ yearly and I believe that we are seeing spiritual growth among those who are most difficult to reach as recent world number one players and marginal believers such as Federer, Djokovic, Wozniacki and many others.As a ministry we need to keep this growing and it is dependent upon financial support to get me with these players. At some point the players may be more active in giving to support this ministry and I plan on asking them to do so; but firstly they need to grow as Christians and continue to trust me. (See below).
Examples of success: Did you notice Djokovic at the 2010 US Open final doing the sign of the cross for his matches? I am sharing with him and I believe that the amount of the time with him before the Open encouraged him greatly spiritually. Federer is actively involved in helping with South Africa disadvantaged and recently stated publicly he is a Christian. I believe that our past conversations have encouraged Roger and we communicate as we see each other face to face. As you watch Woznicki play you will see prominently displayed her cross and I can state Caroline's Christian faith is real. We discuss each time I see her faith, her family and her tennis life. World number one doubles player Mike Bryan was married last week in the church. I have spoken extensively with both he and his new wife about Christ centered faith. Many other examples can be shown, this a few.
Pro Tour: I have removed 3 Grand Slam events and I will keep Australian Open in my travel schedule in 2011. This is due to how effective the one on one ministry is for each event, the length of my travel schedule away from home, my housing availability in a specific city and the tournament credential policies. I felt in early 2010 to focus on the ATP players as the first priority, while continuing the relations with WTA players as I see them in combined ATP/WTA events and my Internet communications with them. A goal that I have based upon effectiveness of the ministry is to focus on the ATP Masters series (Indian Wells Masters, Miami Masters , Monte Carlo Masters , Rome Masters , Madrid Masters , Toronto Masters, Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters, Paris Masters) and the end of the year event in London. I have already attended Cincinnati and Shanghai in 2011 and saw the effectiveness of the ministry with my ease of reaching such players as Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic and all the other top 10 players both singles and doubles. This does not happen at Grand Slam events. It is also important to note that combined ATP/WTA events take place at 5 of these events. I believe that it will be much easier for me to obtain credentials for each Masters tournament as they are smaller events with only the top players represented, fewer player family attends and my relationship will continue from one recent event to another.
Asian outreach: In 2010, I developed a network of coaches and players for China, Hong Kong and Japan. A missionary in Beijing, a Pastor in Tokyo and myself in Hong Kong is spearheading the mission work. China - family tennis with Gospel outreach in major cities for early to mid 2011. Tokyo - possible coaches/Gospel clinics with myself no dates planned. Hong Kong - University students outreach planning in March 2011 and English language outreach with local church. Possible other nations developed.
New form of communication: I have as a priority for 2011 learning and improving new technologies to communicate directly with the pro tour and our worldwide database currently at ten of thousands of tennis fans, coaches, and players. I have been collecting email and phone numbers of pro players in 2010 and am looking at sending them short SMS messages via the phone. This allows me to keep in close contact and I would look at no less then monthly contact. The email database currently at 35,000 has outgrown our ministry ability to send bulk messages. Hence I went to Facebook postings and currently at about 4,000 friends including worldwide, Hong Kong and Japan. I am doing this in what I feel is the most cost effective way possible for the ministry.
Ministry Financial situation: In all the years of this ministry we have had only one year where we covered all the costs ($18,000USD). Our accountant and board member (Mr. Pang) informed me that I personally averaged giving about $9,000USD a year to the tennis ministry to keep it going. With the loss of my tennis job in Hong Kong (courts removed) I have had no income since May 20, 2010. My income has varied from $6,000-$18,000 yearly and in 2010 is $6,000USD. I am not able to contribute to tennis ministry at this time.
In 2010 we had one monthly supporter Advisory board member, Pastor Margaret Court and that stopped in July 2010. One-time gifts has slowed and almost stopped in 2010 with less then $300USD. Church giving was pledged by one church ($25USD/month) but not fulfilled. Our largest supporter in years past from South Africa pledged $10,000USD/year informed me in March 2010 he will stop due to his deteriorating business situation. It is important to note that his pledges were very infrequent in the past 6 years and often not fulfilled. I did get to a few of the pro players the letter prepared by myself and Board Member Mike Yorkey requesting support. I gave this information to 2 ATP players and 1 administrator in Houston in April 2010. My only requirement is they are a committed Christian. I intend to send to other Christian players via email in January 2011. I believe that while I do not use this as pressure on them, it is good for them to know the situation and have some responsibility for the outreach work. I will keep you informed. One player, Lukas Kubot did give $800USD in Beijing in October for my China trips. I was robbed of it in China and painfully I made up for the loss to the ministry personally.
On-line giving: After much work I have set up on-line Credit card giving, mailing checks and direct bank transfer to both the ministry work and my family as missionaries. This can be monthly recurring or one-time gifts and tax deductible for USA and Hong Kong. -If you use it yourself, please report back to me the ease and effectiveness of using it. - http://tennisministry.org/TA-Sponsors.html
My personal situation: I have decided to take a sabbatical in 2011 and not travel or travel only with my entire family. I will continue to work on the pro tour from the administrative side, maintaining and growing our Internet presence, Hong Kong outreach, raise financial support both for myself and the tennis ministry. This allows me spend time with my wife and children and encourage them in spiritual growth and help out my wife in childcare. It is just one of those feeling you have that you know it is the right thing. Also this allows me to help out at our local church in a consistent manner - Sunday school teacher for the children - weekly Cell group - Develop an outreach to locals using an English language center approach. The Language Center will be set up as fee paying and I hope develops to assist with my family financial support. I have been diagnosed with chronic asthma and would like seeing if I can take steps to minimize or eliminate the symptoms. This had a direct impact on my ability to be around the pro players and those who housed me in various cities as I coughed frequently and they were concerned.
My ordination: I am in the process of moving my Ministerial ordination to Kings Park International Church in Durham, North Carolina.- http://www.kpic.org/ I have a relationship with the Senior Pastor going back to 2002 and involves us working together for outreach to the pro players at the US Open's. KPIC is part of Every Nation Churches - http://www.everynation.org/, which has churches worldwide, and I have worked closely with this ministry and multiple churches for a number of years. This may allow me to plug into the network of their churches worldwide for housing, support, player follow up and developing their churches local outreach through tennis and as a form of support for myself or Tennis Ministry International. I feel comfortable with what they are doing today and their effectiveness in serving Christ. I welcome Senior Pastor Ron Lewis on my accountability group and also the tennis ministry board information. I look at the process as being completed in 2012 ordination. I have also been asked by the Director of Chaplainry for Australia Sports Ministry in 2010 to fill out the registration and would like to finalize this in 2011.
Board policies updates: I have been happy with the development of the board since the establishment in 1996. Mike Yorkey and I remain as the founding members. As a group I feel we have learned as we have grown with new developments. The board is made up of the following: My own accountability partners and Pastors; Senior Board Members; those who act as Advisors to the ministry. I would propose the following for 2011. 1. That I give my attention to better developing the Board criteria. 2. A conference call take place a few times a year via the Internet at a time that works for the majority of the Board members. 3. A 2-year mutually renewable term of service be established for each member. 4. Searching for new Board members. 5. Ideas be mutually worked on for each members to contribute towards the goals of the ministry and reaching the players for Christ.
Social Networking via the Internet: I am working on integrating the key sites together so that we can have one posting going to all the sites at the same time. I will continue to look for ways to reduce our dependence on emails sending to postings on one blog cross-indexed to our multiple sites.1. Tennis Ministry International website (31,292 unique hits,171 countries): www.tennisministry.org2. Ministry Blog Archive: www.tmi.typepad.com3. Facebook: -Pastor Bob Kraft (2,742 members): http://www.facebook.com/pastorbkraft -Prayer Center Tennis Ministry (1,192 members): http://www.facebook.com/pastorbkraft#!/group.php?gid=120191372890 -Hong Kong (currently disabled): http://www.facebook.com/hktm.org -Japan (457 members): http://www.facebook.com/Japantm.org - Taiwan (not activated) http://www.facebook.com/taiwantm.org4. Email list: -TMI News (35,643) -Dailyverse (10,972) -Florida (1,209) -Hong Kong (503) -Pro Tour (140)5. Youtube Podcast (weekly video messages to the tennis world): http://www.youtube.com/tennisministry 6. Daily Verse by Blog/email (384 members) http://dailyverse.multiply.com/7: Twitter (36 followers): http://twitter.com/PastorBobKraft
Content being moved and site disabled in 2011 --Hong Kong Tennis Ministry English (15 members) http://hktennisministry.multiply.com/ Hong Kong Tennis Ministry Chinese (5 members) http://hk10s.multiply.comBob Kraft (147 members) http://bobkraft.multiply.com/
Websites currently owned: www.tennisministry.org - www.tennisministry.com - www.hktm.org - www.japantm.org - www.taiwantm.org -
Opposition to this ministry: We have one case of direct and one of indirect. I feel that it is important as it shows that real work is taking place with me for Christ, it allows praying more effectively and presents a very real world picture of what I do. The direct against the ministry is from one coach on the pro tour Christian Filhol, who states he is a Christian, goes around and bad mouths both me and the tennis ministry I do both publicly and privately. He is not against approaching a person that I am speaking with about Christ in front of me and stating 'watch out for Bob, he is dangerous' or 'he is not a Pastor' or some such thing. He has about 5 people he disciples and he gives them the same spirit. I will not go into his own spiritual lifestyle but needless to say what he does reflects his heart and actions and hurts the pros. Indirect is from the WTA and I have on very high authority that the WTA will not allow the name of Jesus to be stated publicly in materials that they publish for players. They will allow such things as Buddha and Mohammed quotes to take place. The WTA is difficult to work with but we do have a mutual working relationship. Considering the amount of work that I do on the pro tour, this opposition is minimal and I thank God for that. Many players watch me, see the lifestyle I lead and are convinced of the reality of Christ.