God, Gamers, and His Glory
Epiphany, the church where I am pastoring, has recently had an incredibly interesting community outreach opportunity. We had the opportunity to cook out for people in line for the new Destiny 2 release at our local GameStop. Led by our evangelism team, members from our congregation come together and shared the love of Christ with those who attended the event. In the process of getting this organized, I was met with many strange looks and questions of why the church would want to do something like this. These questions not only came from those we were trying to reach, but also from fellow Christians. While this was confusing for me at times, God kept bringing me back to the founding idea for this type of outreach: “Jesus loves gamers.”
Gamers are a unique demographic to reach for the church, a demographic that is rarely thought about when most churches are organizing outreach plans. According to Geekwire.com, between mobile games on a cell phone, to playing on a Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo platform, nearly 1.2 billion people are playing games in our world today, with nearly 700 million of those playing online (Soper, 2013). My friends, this is a huge demographic that we cannot afford to ignore any longer.
I have been a part of a few different online communities that seek to reach out to gamers through the only way they have the ability to, and that is through gaming with them online. Through this, I have met many people who are in need of forgiveness, love, and peace from God, just as you would by going door-to-door in your neighborhood or in the grocery store. Not only have we been able to minister to those who are not surrendered to Christ, but also minister to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I am a part of a group of online Christian gamers called For The King, and we consistently come together to share the love of Christ with other online gamers, primarily through the game Destiny. We have prayed for one another and lifted one another up through God’s word. Additionally, they celebrated my youngest son’s birth with us by sending us a onesie with our group’s logo on it. To say that For the King has been an encouragement would be a serious understatement.
Our primary calling as Christians is to bring God glory in all areas of our lives, and this starts with us confessing Christ as Lord and surrendering to Him completely. Without this, we could not glorify Him in any other area of our lives. The second area is to bear fruit in our own lives, just as we are called in John 15:8:
We are to be displays for God in this world, to walk in a manner worthy of the calling that God has placed upon us, to be a people that live and love like Jesus. As we are commanded in Mark 16:15, we must glorify God through the sharing of the Gospel with others, and go to the whole world with the good news of Christ: “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
“Our voices, our service, and our abilities are to be employed, primarily, for the glory of God.”
- Billy Graham
God has given us certain talents to employ to His Kingdom work. In these talents we are called to glorify God by surrendering ourselves to Him, to show Christ, and to proclaim the Gospel while we use them. These talents can be in many different areas. I know that someone who is gifted in mechanic work can effectively minister to those who need their cars worked on. The same goes for those who are talented woodworkers, athletes, teachers, caregivers, artists, musicians, and even gamers. God has gifted many people in our world with an array of talents. The goal is not to minister the same exact ways that others have been called, but to minister with the gifts and talents that God has given us uniquely and individually.
Be faithful in reaching others through whatever context you find yourself in. Sharing the light of Christ and hope to a world that seems to be in chaos will show people the One who is holding it all together, and that there is more to life than just living and dying. The God of the universe loves and cares for those that we are encountering and He sent His Son Jesus to live the perfect life that we cannot live, and He died the death that we deserve to save us from sin and death, and to bring us into an abundant life with Christ.