Pick-up Basketball Connects Men

Every other Sunday night after the rush of the evening routine is over, when kids are getting into bed and the activities of the weekend are drawing to a close, 15-25 men from around the Spring Hill and Thompson's Station area gather in the gym at Heritage Middle School for a casual game of basketball. 

A pick-up game of hoops may not seem like a huge ministry opportunity to some, but to Josh Burnett, a Station Hill member, it's great way to reach those who wouldn't typically participate in other opportunities. 

Josh has a passion for sports and recreational ministry, so he took his God-given passion and turned it into a reality. He contacted the school, asked for permission to use the gym twice a month in the late evenings, and began the pick-up games last fall. 

God began using the ministry Josh started to make connections and answer prayers almost immediately. One such connection happened last November. 

Jeff Anderson said, "We finished basketball and Josh said, 'Let's pray before we leave.' Honestly, I wasn't excited about praying. We'd just played basketball, we were sweaty, and it was 10:00 p.m." 

Little did Jeff know, a prayer request later shared by J.D. Dukes would directly affect them both. 

JD, a landscaper by trade, was just been informed that he'd have "limited to zero hours" of work beginning immediately. He asked for prayer that night, stating he needed work and was comfortable doing handy-man projects if anyone knew of anything. 

"I remember smiling because I knew before we even prayed for J.D. that God had answered his prayer request," Jeff said. "I'd told my wife, Dana, that weekend that I really needed some extra help at the building site. J.D. had experience doing tons of things I needed to get done." 

The two exchanged numbers, and JD started working for John the very next morning. Jeff said, "It was great because God met a need for me and JD. I loved being able to say, 'You have as much work as you want this month.'" 

According to Brian Coates, Discipleship and Administration Pastor at Station Hill, it was an obvious "God-thing." 

He said, "Sports are a good place for guys to get connected in a non-threatening way. It was born out of the passions and talents of one member who didn't wait for a staff member to officially kick it off. It's a type of ministry that's especially effective and necessary for men in this area." 

The next pick-up game will take place on Sunday, March 9 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. at Heritage Middle School. Invite your friends!