G&G Farewell

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Hello all,

It is with heavy hearts that we announce today that Gospel & Gaming is shutting down.  Due to recent changes within our organization, and after much prayer and discussion amongst the team, we feel that God is closing the door on this ministry and calling us elsewhere.

Despite the fact that Gospel & Gaming is coming to an end, we are amazed by all that God has done through us over the last four and a half years.  Since the ministry launched in the fall of 2013, eight people that we have interacted with as a ministry have come to know Jesus as their savior.  We have had hundreds of gospel conversations with people from all walks of life: young and old, single and married, those with children and those without.  We’ve made friends with people in the U.S., Canada, China, and many other countries.  We’ve started conversations with folks online about a wide range of moral, religious, and philosophical issues.  We’ve posted hundreds of pieces of content (articles, videos, interviews, podcast episodes, etc.) that have been seen by people across the globe.  We’ve given sermons, led Bible studies, and shared gamer culture with churches both in St. Louis and elsewhere in the United States.  And all of this was done by a team made up of four people (and it started with just one)!

In light of all this, all of us here are confident that God is at work in the lives of gamers globally, and that relational evangelism through gaming is a fruitful means of ministry.  Still, we believe that God is bringing this particular ministry, Gospel & Gaming, to a close.

 

Ben and Shelby Kieffer will continue to serve the gamers at Lake Saint Charles Retirement Community.  They will also continue to fundraise through Global Service Network; click here to learn more about their work at LSC, and to donate.

Michael Mendis will continue to write about gamers, gaming culture, and faith on his personal website, The Heartland Gamer (www.theheartlandgamer.com).   Michael can be reached by email at michaelcmendis@gmail.com

Jacob Toman will continue his work and involvement in St. Louis with his wife Amy, and children Alethea, Ezra, and Rahab. Jacob can be reached at toman.jp@gmail.com

 

If you’re interested in learning more about what God is doing in gaming, check out some of these other organizations, ministries, and communities that are serving gamers:

Saving the Game

Innroads Ministries

Nerd Chapel

Gaming and God

Geek Preacher

Christ and Pop Culture

Gamechurch

Theology Gaming

Geeks Under Grace

The Reformed Gamers

The Dignity of Gamers

By Ben Kieffer

I’ve been a part of Gospel & Gaming for over two years now and I’ve learned a lot about gaming and gamers.  The goal of Gospel & Gaming, like with any ministry, is to meet people where they are and share the Gospel with them. In this day and age, ‘where they are’ is playing games.

I grew up in a church that supports missionaries and we often heard about their work in other countries. I thought it was amazing how they went to another country to serve people and tell them about Jesus, but our pastor and many of the missionaries who came to our church would always tell us how the work of sharing the Gospel is not just for them, and you don’t have to go overseas to do it. They encouraged the adults to talk to their coworkers about Jesus, and led Bible studies and Sunday school classes on ministry in the workplace. In youth group they told us to be praying for our classmates, that we could tell them about Jesus and invite them to the church.

It made so much sense. Adults spent their days at work, kids spent their days at school; so, tell people about Jesus where you meet them.

The model was great but it left a gaping hole in the area of our lives known as “free time” or “recreation.” This is the time we fill with movies, TV, coffee, naps, meals, and of course…games. We play board games, card games, video games, online games, mobile games. With technology today, we have the opportunity to play games in every little gap of free time we have, and many people do.

Gamers playing on PC.jpg

Gamers need the Gospel because gamers are people. People are gamers because, well, it satisfies many of the desires we have. As humans we all have desires to explore, to accomplish things, to create things, to work with others on a team, and to develop relationships. Games provide us with the opportunity to do all of this in a relatively low risk environment. We can triumph in battle without actually getting shot at, we can design a car that in real life would cost an impossible amount of money, and we can connect with people over a shared passion who we might never meet otherwise.

So, when we say we are seeking to talk about Jesus and why he matters with gamers, we’re saying we want to minister to people: people made in the image of God with all the dignity that affords them, and living in a fallen world with the depravity that comes with it.

Anita Sarkeesian game collection.jpg

There are some people who have made an idol of gaming, like there are those who have made idols of money, alcohol, food, or gambling. That does not mean that when a foodie comes to Jesus, we convince them to stop eating. We seek for them to know Christ, and help them orient the other aspects of their life around him. They will still eat. Gamers will still play games. It is good for us to enjoy food and games in recreation. The question is whether or not it is done to the glory of God. There are people who idolize food, and there are also people who live healthy lives. A healthy life, I think, means that our priorities are in order. God does not have a problem with us finding joy in his creation; he himself called it ‘good’. But our main source of joy is to come from him, and what we do in our lives (including recreation) will then be put in the proper order.

Some people view all gaming as an addiction, a waste of time and potential. While it is true that there are people who dive into a game and rarely come up for air, there are other well adjusted, productive members of society who enjoy their games in their free time. I would say that anyone, regardless of their work, their recreation, or their addictions, is made in the image of God and can benefit from knowing him more.

Thanksgiving 2017

By Jacob Toman

For some, Thanksgiving is a time of feast and family; for others, it’s a time of fellowship and congeniality with friends. While there are numerous traditions, myths, and legends surrounding the food, music, celebration, and history of an annual day of thanks, the common thread of thankfulness often prompts us to ask questions of ourselves and others during this season, questions like “what are you thankful for?” or “What are you grateful of?” Naturally, the answers are as varied as all of us who answer them: our material possessions, the beauty of the world around us, an act of kindness that someone else has done for us (the website Thnx4.org is a great place to see the things people talk about what they are thankful for; it’s essentially a public, online journal of thankfulness).[1]

The focus of these questions, and thus the answers we often give, usually center on the object of our thankfulness, rather than the origin of the object. Thankfulness can become a social commentary on moments, things, and memories, rather than an activity to denote gratitude. Some have hailed Thanksgiving as a secular holiday, a day in which no general direction is needed for thankfulness to be pointed.[2]

The national holiday many celebrate in the United States isn’t meant to be something abstract or ambiguous. Our thankfulness isn’t to be directionless. Thankfulness isn’t a sandbox game without guidelines, rules, boundaries, or directions. Thankfulness entails an attitude of gratitude by a receiver or beneficiary (the person thankful) towards the giver or point of origin (the creator of the gift or benefit).

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln institutionalized Thanksgiving as a national federal holiday with these words (bolded words my emphasis):

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State[3]

The direction at the inauguration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday was to rejoice, give praise, and thanks. But this praise and thanks wasn’t directionless or aimlessly given in a happenstance circumstance. Regardless of your own political beliefs regarding Abraham Lincoln, one must acknowledge that he raises a pertinent question for you and I today. Rather than ‘What are you thankful for”, ask the question ‘Whom are you thankful towards”?

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful towards 4 groups of people.

Firstly, I’m thankful to the great Creator, the God and Father of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for affording me the opportunity to share who Jesus is, and why he matters with gamers locally and globally.

Secondly, I’m thankful to my family. My wife for being the backbone and bedrock of my sanity. My children for being the spring of energy that is renewed every day. My parents for the faith they taught me with. My sisters for the example of godliness they set in my life. My in-laws for their ever present acceptance. And my extended family for their kindness and prayers.

Thirdly, I’m thankful to our staff at Gospel & Gaming. Michael is the eyes and ears of Gospel & Gaming, always seeking to be on the cutting edge of content. Ben is the heart and hands of Gospel & Gaming, ever present with those who lonely and in doubt.

Fourthly, I’m thankful to our supporters. Without the prayers, donations, and time of volunteers and committed believers, Gospel & Gaming simply wouldn’t exist. Thank you for making evangelism in gaming an important part of your lives.

 

 

[1] https://www.thnx4.org/about-thnx4

[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/19/thanksgiving-a-holiday-fo_n_786254.html

[3] http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm