I have these short bursts of micro-obsessions where I find myself going in deep on a story, subject, or project. Six years ago, I was still in youth ministry, on vacation, and bored. In my spare time I created a search engine and application for youth ministry games because the resources available out there were not cutting it. It was a micro-obsessions, so when I was done with it, I put it on a backup hard drive which has been lost in the clutter.
A recent micro-obsession has been something plaguing the online gaming community. People love to livestream video games which has created a way for many people to make a small living as well as huge fan-bases. This has led to “rival communities” that would do anything to win, include a vile act called SWATing. For the uninitiated, you find out where a livestreamer lives (many people have bad boundaries and it’s easy to find out). Then when you know the person is playing a competitive game against your team, you call the local police of that streamer and falsely report a terrible murder is happening. This leads to the SWAT team crashing into the gamer’s house and disrupting their stream.
Because many of the viewers are overseas and have elaborate ways of bouncing phone calls or using Google voice, it takes FBI tools to track them down. Because of the dramatic results, viewers are now doing this just for fun or getting paid as mercenaries.
It’s easy to see how this is a problem. You’re wasting police resources, filing a false police report, and endangering people’s lives. Up until recently, the biggest issues with SWATing has been the damage to the house with broken doors and the emotional implications to the families. But recently SWATing had it’s first death.
Gamers Need Redeemed Too
We talk in church about how we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus, right? This has led to countless missions trips, people standing on street corners with bullhorns, athlete’s using their platform to share the story of the Cross, and so many other evangelism events.
What about gamers? How do we reach them? We can’t leave them behind.
Luckily, you don’t have to invent the wheel on this, someone has already figured it out.
We’ve actually introduced you to GameChurch.com 5 years ago as a place where gamers can go to talk about video games and Jesus. In that five year period of time, the ministry has expanded to include a couple of other features.
The ministry has a thriving Facebook group where people are debating which Zelda game is best or what is appropriate when you die in a video games. There is redemption actually happening with the video game discussions.
Video Game Missions Trips
One of the coolest ideas the organization added is video game mission trips where the ministry actually rents a booth at different conventions for video games and share Jesus with attendees through one-on-one discussions and giving free Bibles.
Interested in going? Here’s what you could expect.
[Video via YouTube]
GameChurch Academy East and West
The final thing GameChurch.com is doing is their Academy. Here’s their description: The Academy is a Conference about gaming, nerd-culture, Jesus, and where they intersect. What does this mean? You get to go connect with other gamers in person to play games, including board games and learn how to take this community mentality back to your own church to start it up there. A very cool idea if you have a lot of gamers in your hometown, which I’m sure you do.
There is actually much more happening with the ministry, but these are some of the big things that I wanted to make sure I highlight if this is something you are interested in.
As I shared at the beginning of this article, gaming culture needs redeemed and this is one way you can be an instrument in doing so.