I’m a big gamer – already got my Xbox One on pre-order and excited about the next installment of Battlefield out this week. When I heard about Game Church, I have to admit I was pretty stoked. If you’re not a gamer, this might not be of interest to you personally, but for sure many of your students are into Madden and Halo. Here’s a quick 5-question interview with Jordan Ekeroth of Gamechurch!
Where did the idea of Gamechurch come from?
The idea for Gamechurch came out of the marriage of our own passion for videogames and desire to do ministry and evangelism in a unique way. The founding team happened to meet the guys from XXX church at a conference in Portland. That group’s passion and unique model was a big inspiration for us from day one. We adopted their strategy of crossing boundaries and becoming “all things to all people.” The main thrust of the ministry is evangelistic, going to gaming conventions to tell gamers that Jesus loves them. We also started a website to do gaming news and reviews from a thoughtful Christian perspective, in order to demonstrate that Christians have more to say about culture than a mere value judgment, and to challenge other Christians to tune in to the massive influence that the gaming industry wields, and the simple fact that church has largely failed to engage that industry.
How have you seen God work in the conventions/tournaments, etc?
At every convention we visit, we get to tell thousands of gamers that Jesus loves them, in a unique and contextual way. We pass out a few thousand of our “Gamer Bibles”, which contain the book of John and some “gamer commentary”. We inevitably end up talking to many gamers either at the show or later, who have vastly different presuppositions about Christianity and Jesus, but who are so often impressed and challenged by the message of Jesus’ love.
What would you say to the parent who is upset about Halo and Call of Duty being played at a youth group activity?
Most of our efforts are focused entirely on reaching the unchurched, so we may not be the most qualified to speak authoritatively on church-specific issues. But the truth is that the vast majority of young people are already playing these, and worse, games. There may be a few students who have been sheltered from them, but what better environment for these to learn to engage culture than in the presence of a youth pastor who cares about them? Of course it is more complicated than that, but for us, the example of Jesus is one of constantly subverting religious expectations in order to display radical love and grace.
Which one … Xbox One, PS4 or WiiU?
Oh boy, let’s not open up that can of worms! We already get enough flack for having our “Gamer Jesus” holding a controller that looks like an Xbox one. If truth be told, a lot of our community actually prefers good ol’ PC’s, especially because that is where so much is happening creatively in the “indie gaming” scene.
How can people get involved with Game Church?
We have so many things in the works that we’re incredibly excited about, but for now, we just want to get to know like-minded people on our Facebook group, dubbed “Gamechurch City” and of course, we really hope people seriously pray about joining us on a “missions trip”, and traveling with us to tell gamers about Jesus.