Yesterday I shared a conversion I had at a game store that sold me on a hobby I was interested in. As a youth pastor who focuses, (some say obsess) over the process of discipleship, I knew what was happening to me, I was being evangelized and offered the opportunity to be discipled in the
Warhammer 40k way. As with many things, such as sports, Warhammer 40k is not a hobby but a lifestyle to some. They live it, breathe it, talk about it and share it. Isn’t that what we desire for ourselves and for our students who claim the name of Jesus? With that said, let’s look at how my conversation with a game store owner breaks down into some practical principles for our youth ministry.
Let’s start again:
Her: Welcome to Games Workshop!
Her: What brings you by today?
Note: This is a key question. Why did that guest come? Why do our regulars come? Asking students why they come to our meetings may seem obvious (social, parents make them, etc.) but when I entered this store I was looking for information and connection, not just a salesman who wanted to sell me stuff. The same can be said of the kids who come to our meeting.
Me: Just looking
Note: Defines many of our kids.
Her: Do you know what you are looking at?
Note: Great question. Do our kids know what they are looking at? Even our most seasoned kids may not know. They don’t know or understand that we are Christ’s hands and feet, His church. We should ask this questions more often.
Her: What are you working on right now?
Note: She knew I had some gaming affinity and thought maybe I already had an army, etc. I include on my guest cards and I ask, “So where do you normally go to church?” I think a better question is, “What are you currently working on in your life right now? ” The answer to this quesiton will clue us in to where kids are with Christ and not just their religious affiliation.
Me: Nothing at the moment, I’m a newbie. have some unpainted models at my house.
Her: Would you like to put some paint on a model?
Note: Here’s what she did not do: “Let me tell you all the rules of Warhammer 40k and it’s history.” She had me start painting and engaging to see if something would spark. I have decreased, to almost nil, of what is required to be a leader in our youth ministry. The “rules” to becoming a leader became impediments to kids “putting paint on a model.” If you want to see how we get kids “putting paint on models” you can watch my video HERE and HERE
Note: Once she knew I had an army, unpainted, she knew I had interest but not desire. Many of our kids love God in theory, but their desire has lapsed. It should be our goal to get kids re-engaged with the God who called them in the first place.
When I finished my basic paint job,
Her: Would you like to put your model in a game?
Note: Now, after I painted, she challenged me to play. She knew, “if I can get him to play, I can show him how much fun this is.” We should always be introducing the next level of joy in knowing Christ.
She taught me some basic rules and had me moving pieces and rolling dice. After we were done she continued:
Her: What did you like best? Painting or Playing?
Note: In the end, this gaming evangelist wants to sell product and create another gaming enthusiast which will add to the gaming community synergy. In the Warhmmer 40k community there are painters, and they enjoy collecting and painting models, but that is it. There are players who enjoy the game but not the painting process. It’s the same with faith.
We will always have students who like to paint. they like the artistry and color of religion. Students will come to events and enjoy the pageantry. We know the joy of living our faith and our joy of knowing God, let’s create and offer the next level of joy to our kids every week.
Me: I like both
Her: Great, how would you like to get started?
Author Donald Miller, in the forward of his book Blue Like Jazz, talks about not being interested in jazz until he watched a man passionately play jazz on his saxophone. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it. Christianity is not hobby. It’s not something we dabble in. Jesus is life and lifestyle or he is no life at all. Lets’ all live passionately for Christ but let us also create and offer every kid a chance to “put paint on their model” (know Christ) and play it out (live for Christ).
How are you getting kids to experience or re-experience faith in your youth ministry? Share your process of how you get kids to re-ignite their faith