Is it even possible to glorify god through gaming?
Can we glorify God through video games? I’ll start with an interesting story incidentally connected to the idea, and then dive right into the meat of the question.
In October of 2011, a user joined the Christian Crew forums calling himself: GameProf. He told us that he needed help with a survey he was taking for a book he was writing.
GameProf was Dr. Kevin Schut, a Professor at Trinity Western University, a Christian University in Langley, BC, Canada. He’s currently the Associate Dean, School of the Arts, Media + Culture; Professor of Media + Communications.
Anyway, he came to the Christian Crew first, and we networked him to two or more other communities, where he got a total of 130 respondents to his survey, (he was hoping for 100). He took those results and used them in a book. He published the book in 2013, and it is available for purchase here:
We were honored to help springboard the effort to finish his book, and after he sent his manuscript off to his publisher, and before his next semester started, he reported back to us with his quick summary of the questionnaire responses. He warned us that ‘quick summary’ did not mean ‘polished or short’, as he was frightfully busy preparing for that next semester of teaching. Having said that, here’s the pdf, for your light reading pleasure:
The book also led to Dr. Schut speaking at Calvin College at one time (his old school), and here’s the video of that talk:
So then, is it possible to glorify God through gaming? Well, certainly. Video games are much like sports, jobs we go to, or even the music we listen to every day.
For example, we can listen to music that glorifies God, or we can listen to music that rebels against God. The choice is ours. Either way, our activities and behaviors aren’t always good or evil, sometimes they are defined by whether by doing them we find a way to glorify God, to learn or teach, or use them in any way to reach the lost to tell them about Our Savior.
Remember Paul’s words to the Corinthians? “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV). Video games, particularly played with others, can teach teamwork, cooperation, leadership, perseverance, patience, and more. But they can also help us reach those who’ve already taken video games to an extreme. How better to witness to a video game addict, or to talk with someone who takes video games to an extreme than by being where they are?
As long as we are very careful that our secular gaming activities don’t become stumbling blocks for ourselves or anyone else, they aren’t explicitly sinful, and can be used as a ministry tool of sorts. Again, gaming isn’t the only place we have to watch ourselves in this world, but as one of many (gaming, music, movies, popular media of all kinds), we can be fairly confident that God can find a way to use it for good.
Keep in mind that Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20, ESV). At CC, we’ve found that not just video games, but arts and music, writing and just doing things together in fellowship are wonderful ways to be fishers of men. There’s nothing wrong with following our strengths. As all parts of the Body of Christ are important, so too are all means of ministry and sharing the Gospel.
Specifically, the Christian Crew leadership has always stated (in my words) that “if everything we do, and all the effort we’ve expended, and all the games we’ve played only assist in bringing ONE PERSON to Christ, it has ALL been worth it.” Think about this…Christ lived as you and I, with all the human frailties, all the human emotions, pains, and more…and went through worse than anyone living can claim, just for us. To say it another way, if you are alive, you have NOT gone through being dead for three days, or dying of pain and anguish nailed to a cross. Jesus did. And He rose again! If by video games, music, or through any other medium, we can share this truth with someone, those things have indeed been used to glorify God.
Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments.