Are You a Gamer?

While I don’t think it’s a requirement for all student pastors to love video games, I do think there’s a corolation between the personalities that are drawn to ministry with students, and the personalities that enjoy “hitting the sticks” as we called it when I was in college.  I’ve never been a World of Warcraft gamer, or an “addict”…technically.  But, I do love video games.  In high school, it was an escape.  I LOVED SOCOM II on PS2, with my super advanced network adapter that opened up a whole new world of gaming.
In college, we played FIFA, NBA Jam (He’s on fire!), NCAA Football, any of the Assassin’s Creed games, and a couple others.  But in college, there was a transition.  No longer was it an escape, it was a community event.  It was not uncommon for me to come back to my dorm room on a Wednesday night (I served at a church an hour away) and find 9-12 guys in my room, watching one person play Assassin’s Creed, or watching two people duke it out in a game of FIFA.  Oddly enough, it was par for the course for none of the spectators to live in my room.  Our dorm living room was a hub for community, fellowship, accountability, and “doing life” together, and hitting the sticks was a big factor in that.
Obviously, with my history, I don’t think video games are the anti-christ, I don’t think they’re destroying todays youth, and I don’t think they’re an outlet for the devil.  Just like any form of technology or entertainment, being neutral it can be used for good or bad.
As a newlywed student pastor, I’ve found I don’t have time for video games.  It comes down to choices, really.  I can either hit the sticks and play FIFA on XBOX Live, venture through Assassin’s Creed, or take a player through the Road to Glory on NCAA.  Or…I can spend time with my wife.  I can catch up on some of my reading.  I can help cook dinner.  I can go for a walk.  And yet, I still LOVE playing video games.  I love getting game invites from students over XBOX live, and I love taking them to school on how Modern Warfare is supposed to be played.
So here’s my question.  I see posts like Josh Griffin’s (a student pastor I highly respect.  If you don’t follow his RSS, start) and tweets and all sorts of things about hitting the sticks and playing video games.  Whether it’s for leisure or for connecting with students.  My question is HOW!?  How do you find time or justify time to play games?  Is there a certain point in which it’s time to put on your big boy pants and quit?  That’s not the result I want, but is this the inevitable outcome?
So how do you view video games? How do you make time to play video games?

16 Comments

  1. There definitely needs to be a balance. Its interesting. With a handful of the kids I teach and lecture too, we talk about what we've learned from God one moment, and then later on in our conversation, we may talk about who out did who in Halo.
    • Haha, I had the same issue with my last group but it was Call of Duty. CoD was huge for community with the guys in my last group, but here video games don't seem to be a factor at all.
  2. There definitely needs to be a balance. Its interesting. With a handful of the kids I teach and lecture too, we talk about what we've learned from God one moment, and then later on in our conversation, we may talk about who out did who in Halo.
    • Haha, I had the same issue with my last group but it was Call of Duty. CoD was huge for community with the guys in my last group, but here video games don't seem to be a factor at all.
  3. I use to be a huge gamer, but since I started a family, doing full time ministry, and going to seminary, I've become more of a casual gamer. I still enjoy playing them and keep up on the latest stuff, but I usually only play maybe once a week. However, one good thing about playing video games is it can be used as a way to connect with students in your ministry, and if you have a core group of students who do play, you can have game nights and use that as a tool to meet with some of their friends.
  4. I use to be a huge gamer, but since I started a family, doing full time ministry, and going to seminary, I've become more of a casual gamer. I still enjoy playing them and keep up on the latest stuff, but I usually only play maybe once a week. However, one good thing about playing video games is it can be used as a way to connect with students in your ministry, and if you have a core group of students who do play, you can have game nights and use that as a tool to meet with some of their friends.

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