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Douglas Shoots for New Goals with Community Outreach Ministry

Douglas shoots for new goals with community outreach ministry

Monday, September 25, 2006
By Steve Eighinger

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The image of Bruce Douglas is forever burned into the sports soul of this community.

As a Quincy High School basketball player, his name always comes up when there's a discussion of the "best ever."

While it's been more than 20 years since Douglas last wore a Blue Devil uniform, his name still carries a magic quality about it. That 1981 Class AA state championship won by QHS can do that for a guy.

In this town, there will never be an argument about Bruce Douglas being able to shoot some serious hoops.

But for more than a decade, Douglas has been shooting for some higher rewards. He is the president of "Shooting for Christ," a community outreach ministry based in the west suburbs of Chicago.

Douglas works with kids age 8 to 18 in his role as an associate minister and youth pastor at Broadview Missionary Baptist Church in Woodridge, a western suburb of Chicago. Douglas helps oversee more than 600 kids in the 2,000-member megachurch.

"It was a calling," Douglas said of his ministry, which uses basketball as a tool for reaching out to Chicago area kids. "When my playing days were over, I was looking for direction in my life. I knew I needed to strengthen my relationship with the Lord, and he gave me a calling to this ministry."

After starring at the University of Illinois, where he earned All-Big Ten and All-America status, Douglas played briefly in the NBA. He was a third-round draft pick of the Sacramento Kings.

Douglas, now 42, likes to section his life in halves.

"The first 20 or so years of my life, sports allowed me to go a lot of places and play basketball," he said. "But for the last 20 years ... my life has been more rewarding, being able to give back some of what God has given me.

"I've matured a lot."

Douglas and his wife, Madge, have four boys: Bruce II, Brett, Brock and Bryce. Madge and Bruce are also active in a second ministry in their church, where they teach and counsel families on marriage and parenting.

"We don't come in after there are problems in a marriage; we try and help prevent those problems from starting," Douglas said.

While Douglas considers his ministerial efforts a full-time occupation, that work is done after hours from his "day job" with Exelon Corp., one of the nation's largest electric utilities.

In his "spare time," he's working toward a master's of divinity at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He's about halfway to his degree.

It's obvious that Douglas' first love is his youth ministry. Not only does he enjoy helping a youngster sharpen his or her hoops skills, he also takes even greater pleasure helping them sharpen their spiritual skills.

"You have to be able to relate to young people," he said. "You have to be honest."

Douglas, who grew up in First Baptist Church in Quincy, gets back to Quincy about three times a year, he estimates. When in town, he sometimes preaches at one of the local churches.

"I'm not perfect," Douglas said. "I have faults like everyone else."

Admittedly, though, the former Blue Devils legend is at peace with himself, his lifestyle and his mission.

There's only one real concern these days for Douglas, who through a broad smile informs, "I've lost a few steps on the basketball court."

Contact Staff Writer Steve Eighinger at or (217) 221-3377

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