“Full court press.” That’s a term I learned back in 7th grade when I joined my Jr. High School’s basketball team. At one of our pre-season practices our coach, Coach Gabe, divided us up into two teams, gave one team the ball and told them they would be playing offense in the next drill.
Then he took those of us who were going to be playing defense, and told us that when he blew the whistle and the ball went into play, we were to cover our opponents “man to man.” We were to rush up on them and stick to them like glue, wherever they went. We were to apply aggressive pressure on them throughout the court, not just by our basket. We were not to surrender any territory. Instead we were to make them fight for every inch of the court.
The purpose, he said, was to slow their progress, slow the game down, wear them down physically and mentally, and hopefully force a turnover on which we could then capitalize. So, we did what Coach Gabe said. And you know what? It worked.
As the season progressed, our team became very good at applying the full court press. Every time the opposing team started to gain momentum, invade our territory and put some points on the board, we would respond with a full court press. And sure enough, on most occasions we could stall their advance—or perhaps even force a turnover and score some points for our team.
I mention this because as I look back over the past year and observe our efforts to push directly into the heart of the enemy’s territory by introducing the gospel into strategic communities throughout Phoenix and Tucson, I recognize the strategy the enemy is using against us. It is, in a sense, a full court press. Ever since the setback we encountered when we were about to launch our outreach into the refugee community at Phoenician Palms, we’ve encountered resistance every step of the way. He’s making us fight for every inch of “the court.” He’s trying to slow our progress. He’s trying to wear us down—to force “a turnover” of some sort on which he could then capitalize.
To give you a feel for what I’m describing, heading into last summer, I was working toward launching outreaches in 11 different locations. These were directed toward refugees, Mormons, high school students, and prisoners, to name a few. Within a few months, I had witnessed resistance in every single one of those communities as we sought to raise up the leaders and launch the teams necessary to ignite movements of the gospel.
Despite the push back we’ve been experiencing, we are not dissuaded from our calling! We have a strategy of our own. It’s called prayer. And we intend to use it.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
1. Is there an area of your life where you might be experiencing a “full court press” from the enemy? How are you responding? Ask God how he would have you respond.
2. How can you be intentional about prayer in the places where you encounter opposition? What would it look like to come back at the enemy with a full court press of your own through prayer?
Would you join CRM’s offense for God’s Kingdom by becoming a prayer partner with us? Sign up for our Prayer Bulletin to receive timely prayer requests for our efforts around the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Hubler and his wife Melissa live in Phoenix, AZ. He coaches church planters and develops new pathways for missional engagement.