(CLEVELAND, GA.) Dubbed by many as one of the country’s most cherished pastime sports, baseball is about as American as apple pie. Few truly know this better than Mike Croley. Croley, Truett McConnell University’s head baseball coach and Assistant Professor of Health and Fitness, fell in love with the sport around the age of seven. What started out as simply father-son bonding time, grew into a passion that stuck with Croley through high school, university, and eventually on to the Frontier League (a professional, independent baseball organization).
Now in his sixth season coaching at Truett McConnell, Croley feels more blessed than ever. Coaching baseball has provided Croley an opportunity to do two things he loves most, coach baseball and invest in the lives of young men. Building on the inspiration and mentorship his own coaches provided him, Croley’s deepest desire is to use baseball as a means to lead, equip, and disciple young men at the University in a deeper walk with Christ.
Some might look at Croley and others who have done well in their career and think, “they have it all together.” However, having it “all together” on the field, doesn’t necessarily mean having it all together off the field.
In Baptist circles Truett McConnell is known as a solid university—a university that nurtures and cares for its students, staff, and faculty. This became even more evident to Croley when he discovered that many of the benefits provided for him by the University were being managed through the Georgia Baptist Foundation (GBF). What’s more, Croley discovered that the Foundation provides many services such as creating wills through estate planning, trusts, and more. It was after this discovery that Croley and his wife decided it was time to write out their wills.
Already in their thirties, neither of the Croleys had ever drawn up a will. “I didn’t have a will or anything along those lines,” Croley reflects. “In fact, those issues had never really crossed my mind.” As far as Croley and his wife were concerned, they were healthy and still fairly young. The need for an estate plan for his family never occurred to him. "I just always thought that when the parent passed (away), everything automatically goes to your children”—unfortunately, a false assumption many people have.
I always thought that when the parent passed (away), everything automatically goes to your children.
After the birth of their first child, Croley met with Rick Head from the Georgia Baptist Foundation. “We wanted to make sure that there were no challenges for our daughter or any hoops that she would have to jump through.” While taking care of their child’s future was critical for the Croleys, there was also another aspect of planning their estate they considered important. “We also wanted to honor God with our finances in different ways,” Croley explains. “We wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to be good stewards of the resources God has given us.” Head walked the Croleys through each step in the process of getting their estate properly planned.
We wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to be good stewards of the resources God has given us.
The Croley’s experience is not an uncommon one. A 2016 Gallup poll reported that only 44% of all Americans have a properly written will. Of those Americans between the ages of 30-49, only 35% reported having a will at all (Jones, 2016). A properly planned estate, including a will, is one of the most important steps a person can ever make--no matter one’s age, family, or financial status. Without a properly planned estate, when you pass away, all that you have worked so hard for throughout the course of your life (quite literally) could be up for grabs. Worse yet, if you have not established legal guardians for your minor children, the state may have the right to decide who will raise them. Having a properly planned estate ensures that anything or anyone you leave behind will be taken care of in the manner you would have wanted.
Having a properly planned estate ensures that anything or anyone you leave behind will be taken care of in the manner you would have wanted.
Establishing an estate plan also helps to eliminate any unnecessary stress to your family after you pass away. Losing a loved one is difficult enough. Having to deal with probate and other legalities can make things far more difficult for the bereaved family members left behind. While it may seem too simple, having your estate planned out will help ease the pain of your passing in many ways.
Along with ensuring the security of your family, having a planned estate can also impact the long-term ministry of the Church. The Lord blesses each person in different ways. What if you could take what the Lord has blessed you with and continue His ministry long after you are gone? When you properly plan your estate, you have the opportunity to decide how God’s blessings to you can be used to impact Kingdom work that will continue well beyond your lifetime.
A common misconception is that one has to be wealthy or elderly to have an estate. That is simply not the case. In fact, if you own anything, you have an estate. To be a good steward of your blessings, as well as to protect your loved ones, getting your estate in order correctly and quickly, can be one of the most vital acts of love you can display to your family. The Georgia Baptist Foundation is here to walk you through each step of the estate planning process.
When asked how he would advise others regarding estate planning, Croley exclaims, “You’re not guaranteed tomorrow. So, don't put it off. If you put it off long enough, you may not get around to doing it—you may not get a chance to do it. Don't put off what you can do today. Watch out for your family.”
You’re not guaranteed tomorrow. So, don't put it off. If you put it off long enough, you may not get around to doing it--you may not get a chance to do it. Don't put off what you can do today. Watch out for your family.
To learn more about wills, trusts, and estate planning, or if you are ready to get started, contact the Georgia Baptist Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 452-9064. The Foundation offers many practical resources for individuals and organizations at no expense. It is our desire to offer you the best, God-honoring solution for your financial legacy.
If you are a pastor or church leader, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your church members is to help them be prepared for the future. Set up an appointment to have one of our staff speak with you about how you can offer this resource to your church.
Learn more at https://gbfoundation.org/10-minute-estate-checklist/
Jones, J. (2016). Majority in U.S. Do Not Have a Will. [online] Gallup.com. http://news.gallup.com/poll/191651/majority-not.aspx