“… popular world of video gaming in such a way that gaming can become, like basketball and other sports, a vehicle for Christian discipleship? ”
Some Christian leaders choose to ignore or even condemn gaming in young peoples’ lives (thereby alienating those whom they would serve); even those who recognize the importance of “meeting people where they are” do not know how to begin a meaningful, productive conversation.
But despite negative attitudes and persistent worries, Christians can engage the new world of video gaming constructively, just as we learned to do with sports or other modern inventions such as movies or the internet.
Gamers inhabit a complex social world through multiplayer online games. When we listen to the stories they tell, we hear them describe relationships and meaningful communities where young people can choose to be ethical – or not.
This project, to be disseminated primarily through both a book and a website, will provide an introduction to the disciple-building potential of video gaming. Understanding the life-enhancing dimensions of gaming is critical if conversations with gamers are to become profound parts of Christian formation.
Research for this project entails the recovery of an important theological heritage – the “status” of play and the ecclesiological importance of simply having fun together. Complementing this textual exploration are interviews with gamers about their experiences as well as interviews with church leaders and parents about what they need in order to mentor, guide, and set boundaries for young gamers. Lessons learned will be used to develop resources for eliciting ethical reflection and encouraging gamers to live out their faith in their online interactions.
By equipping congregational leaders to engage in substantive conversations with young people concerning the ethical potential of gaming, this project will help digital natives to practice on Friday night what is preached on Sunday morning.