For years now I’ve been integrating two things I love: ministry and video games. As movie sales decrease and video game sales increase, this looks more and more like a field of interest for youth ministry and evangelism.
Back during the Halo and Halo 2 craze my youth group often brought all our Xboxes and TVs together for good ol’ times of system link mayhem. It was a great way for us all to bond (both guys and girls) and create a lot of evangelistic opportunities for connecting with students who wouldn’t normally come to church. Although we still occasionally have Halo LAN parties at my current church, the Halo craze has kinda worn off now. However, I’m still going strong in ministry and video games.
Last February I started playing in the beta events of Guild Wars and started a guild that I’ve been committed to ever since. Little did I know that this would yield excellent outreach opportunities for me, opportunities significant enough to prompt me to recently turn down a try-out invitation from the guild ranked #4 in the world right now.
Since I’ve been playing with some of the same guys for almost a year, we’ve obviously had some time to get to know each other. Of course, my job as a youth pastor sparks many questions and is a great conversation starter on issues relating to God and society. What excites me most about this, though, is that I have earned their respect enough for them to come to me with issues relating to real life. Many nights I have stayed on our voice chat server talking with guild-mates (both teenagers and parents) about conflicts at home, job pressures, how to deal with divorce in the family, marriage problems, school and dating stress, and other real life issues. They usually are the ones initiating the conversation now with something like, “Hey, can you pray for me? I have something going on…” As a result of these discussions, one guild-mate is now actively looking for a good church to start attending! I’m doing everything I can to help him get settled.
It’s such a great feeling to be able to do two things I love most at the same time: making irrelevant pixels change on a monitor of fake characters while ministering to real people with issues that are very relevant to their lives. Life can’t get much better than that.
Posted on February 14, 2006