I feel that I need to talk about the subject of Gamers. I have been playing games on PC’s since I was 15. In the past 16 years I have heard so many different articles and views about gaming that truly gives gamers a bad name. We always seem to be put in the shadows of anti-social, mentally ill, or lazy. As this could be an issue for some it should not be a description to all.
My first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Games) was World of Warcraft (WoW). These games are designed around you creating your character to do quest, travel across virtual lands, and battle against other players to protect your land. I am guy who enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis. I also enjoyed books like Call of the Wild and Red Badge of Courage. You can almost imagine what these worlds are like in your head. Even as kids we would go into the forest, make bases with sofa cushions, or create weapons from boxes. We would fight monsters in the woods or Nazi’s invading America. It was all about being apart of a story. When gaming opened the door to MMORPG this provided an electric viewing and opportunity for people like me to create a character to face an adventure.
I wanted to play to bring Christians together who also like to have an opportunity to use their imagination, but they want to spend time with Christians. Even though I had a “good” reason as to why I played my heart was not in the right. I was playing to escape the world, the issues, and the loneliness. I was able to play my character to feel important, powerful, and in control. God cornered me with, “Who do you love more, Me or Gaming?” I had to stop for the right reasons and focused on God. I thought I would never play another MMORPG again for fear. When Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) came out I really wanted to try it, but I feared I would play for the wrong reasons again. God actually made it clear that He never wanted me to never play, but He reminded me why I wanted to play. I made a commitment that I would play for Him, reach out to the Lost, and edify the believers that join my guilds or even meet. God blessed this commitment.
I became the leader of a Christian Guild in LOTRO for 3 years. We ended up with 100+ members, 7 officers (all Christians), and a ministry based guild. We had a Bible Study each Sunday night (3 of 4 Sundays). We had 2 people come to know the Lord, and several people renew their relationship with Him. That may not be a lot to some, but in the gaming community Christians are not liked very much so those willing to join the guild are those usually searching.
Christian Gamers are not always like me. In many cases many play games to relax or escape for awhile. The truth is we can still have fun but do not forget our duty as a Christian. Even I personally make time to just relax when I play, but I am always ready to help a fellow Christian or even talk to someone who is searching for Jesus Christ. My first mission is to God while gaming is my hobby.
3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. -Proverbs 16:3
This verse was one of the verses that hit me about how I should invite God in everything I do. After reading the book “When God writes your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy, I realized that I had not surrendered all of my life to God. In every area love, family, friends, jobs, school, and yes… gaming. I needed to let God into my hobby, and He shown through me as I played. Even today as I play Guild Wars 2 with my Salt of the Earth family, I look for each opportunity to serve Him with my fellow Christians or anyone I meet as I play. It is a mission field that is ripe for Christians to be Salt and Light.