Thursday, April 14, 2016

That One Time Jesus and I Went to a Gaming Convention

My PAX East 2015 team at our booth. Pretty much the coolest kids on the block.
Last year I had an opportunity to blend everything I'm most passionate about into one amazing weekend with a group called GameChurch. What is GameChurch, you ask? Good question! That's why I'm writing this post.

Put simply: GameChurch is a unique missions organization made up of Gamers who love Jesus who want to share Jesus with other Gamers. If you're a Christian I'm sure you're familiar with a half dozen missions organizations focused on outreach to unreached people groups, translating the Gospel into the language and culture of people who have never heard it. That's what GameChurch is doing, except they recognize the Gaming community for the uncreached people group it is and are working to bring God's love straight into the heart of Gamer culture. Want to hear more specifics? Let me tell you more.

Gamertag: 1337Savior360NoScope

Every year dozens of gaming conventions take place across the world drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees to come see all the coolest new stuff happening in the world of video games and tabletop games. Game makers rent out boots at the convention to advertise the exciting thing they have to share with the world. That's what GameChurch does. GameChurch gets a booth alongside your favorite video games (last year we were across from the stellar This War of Mine) and advertises the exciting news: Jesus Loves Gamers.

GameChurch hands out stickers, lanyards, and little books called Jesus For the Win! which Christians would recognize as the unabridged Gospel of John with several stories from Gamers who have found Christ and other bits relevant to any Gamers looking to learn more about a relationship with God. At the booth GameChurch hands out all these things and as each convention attendee gets their book a GameChurch missionary looks them in the eye and says the all important words: "Jesus Loves You."

When I first heard that I thought it sounded kind of stupid. Saying "Jesus Loves You" to a stranger? Why would they care? Wouldn't that be weird? I completed underestimated the impact those 3 simple words could have. Some people just sat there kind of stunned. Some people thanked me. One girl cried. Sometimes I forget how many people feel unloved and forgotten and just how important a reminder of the fact that they are loved can mean the world to them.

To me the coolest thing about GameChurch is that it really is missions in it's purest sense. We are going to where the Gamers are, sitting in the heart of their culture, and sharing God's love and the reason it works is because the missionaries are gamers too.

My favorite experience at PAX East last year was at a Magic: The Gathering tournament. I am absolutely obsessed with the world's original card game and when I realized I had a chance to play in a sealed tournament after I was done at the booth I jumped at the opportunity. In the second round of the tournament I lost rather quickly, but I had a friendly opponent and we had chatted the whole time. Since our match was done but we still had about half an hour left in the round we continued to hang out at our table were two other matches were still taking place. As we were chatting he noticed my exhibitor badge and "Jesus Loves Gamers" lanyard and asked what I was doing at PAX. This gave me the opportunity to tell him, and the four other guys at the table, that we had come to PAX East to tell gamers that Jesus loves them. I looked him in the eye and said "Jesus Loves You."

Me in action! Look at me go!

My experience with GameChurch also led to me being able to share about gaming and faith both in a devotional at United, a regional gathering of Salvation Army youth, and do a session at Youth Councils, a larger SA youth event, which I am doing again this year.

By the way, have I mentioned yet that I'm going to PAX East with GameChurch again next week! Absurd, right? Also, it is a mission trip so I am fundraising. So far I've managed to get $820 of the $1000 I needed. I'm only $180 short of being fully funded for this amazing experience. If this year is anything like last year I know that this $180 goal will be met just in time by people just like you! If you're reading this and thought this sounded like an amazing ministry, opportunity for me, and just all around cool thing please consider throwing a bit of money my way to help me finish strong with my fundraising. My fundraising link is here:

Thank you for reading this post. I haven't been blogging much lately, but this is a post I've been needing to write for a while. If you have any questions about my experience or want to know more about GameChurch feel free to comment or shoot me a message. Until next time, Jesus Loves You!

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