Gospel Golf Balls are touted as “a great golf ball with a greater purpose.” Manufactured by Top-Flite, the golf balls are printed with well-known verses from the Bible, such as John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…. “). Dave Kruse, president of Revelation, said they were meant as “conversation starters,” to help men share their faith while teeing up.

An added bonus: Duffers need no longer feel bad about losing a ball in the rough. “If you’re playing great, good,” Kruse said. “If you’re spraying the ball, well … lose a golf ball, share the gospel.”

After years of steady growth, the Christian retail market notched $4.3 billion in sales in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available. Sales of Christian books, in particular, are booming, outpacing most sectors of the publishing industry.

But except for a handful of top-selling books and albums, Christian merchandise is marketed almost exclusively by believers for believers, through Christian stores, trade shows and websites.

There are Christian health clubs, Christian insurance agencies and Christian tree trimmers (who advertise in Christian business directories). There are Christian alternatives for the most unlikely mainstream products: gangsta rap, shoot-’em-up video games, sweatbands, playing cards, scrapbook supplies, children’s pajamas.

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By the way, does anyone know where I can find Christian distilled water, Christian batteries or Christian freeze-dried food? How about Christian Tamiflu? I think maybe there’s an untapped market there . . .