Campus Ministry as Zone Defense vs. Church Picnic Softball
One of our favorite pastimes as campus ministers is to gripe about the double-dippers who treat the campus ministry scene like it’s their own personal Baskin-Robbins.
But our griping doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s a reality, and it’s not changing anytime soon.
So how do we deal with it? More than coping, how can we turn it into a positive for the Kingdom?
It’s like this: we have to choose between what I’ll call the “Church Picnic Softball” approach, and the “Zone Defense” approach.
Whether we realize it or not, we campus ministers are on the same team. But we often don’t act like it.
How we relate to each other can be compared to church picnic softball game vs. a zone defense.
In softball, you just run out into the field, and may not even know your “teammmates.”
In zone, you have predetermined assignments, and know the strengths & weakness of your teammates well.
In softball, you might talk to each other, but then again, you might not. The ball easily drops in-between the outfielders.
In zone, you have practiced and reliable ways to communicate with each other.
In softball, you are purely reactive to the play of the game. There’s very little planning or forethought.
In zone, before the play happens, you’re calling out signals and making adjustments. You are fundamentally proactive. When you need to make adjustments, your proactivity allows you to be effective as you react.
In softball, little thought is given to positions, or who’s best equipped to handle certain tasks.
In zone, much thought is given to who covers whom, based on ability, & experience.
In softball, I’m fixated on my job.
In zone, we’re fixated on our job. We can have fluidity in our assignments, because we’re focused on the larger goal. If it makes more sense for someone else to pick up that person than me, so be it.
In softball, the biggest, fastest player sometimes roams the outfield, not giving anyone else a chance.
In zone, each player knows his role and where he should be positioned.
I happen to like softball. But I’ve never played a church or fellowship softball game that had any consequence to it, other than some momentary bragging rights.
In campus ministry, our stakes are quite a bit higher.
Communication. Coordination. Cooperation. It’s what distinguishes good cooperative campus ministry environments from ineffective ones.
Are you playing casual softball, or zone on your campus?