The NCAA Tournament reminds me each year of the importance of zone defense. Articles in NBC Sports and The Wall Street Journal highlight findings of sports researchers indicating that zone defense is being used more and more. Kentucky, for example, uses zone defense as much as 50%, collegiate teams use it an average of about 22%, and in the last year it is up 6% overall.
As a pastor why should I care? I care because I have always believed that there are nuanced ways of winning by playing a good zone defense in basketball, but also we need good “zone-defense-thinking” in the church.
Zone Defense in the church? Yes, Zone Defense in church. Imagine yourself going to church. I’ll bet you sit in the same area, if not the same seat, each week, right? Now imagine that as everyone is taking their seats you look around before and after the service starts for someone you don’t know. Instead of just looking for the people you know, try to look for and greet someone you don’t know each week. You may meet someone who is a longtime member or you may meet a visitor. Either way you have an opportunity to share the love of Christ, and you will play a special part in building each other up. In this way you play “zone defense” and find the people who need to be greeted, cared for, and connected spiritually to you and your community.
So this basketball season, look to see good zone defense increase not just in the NCAA Basketball Tournament but also in your church.