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I was scrolling through some Mashable articles and saw a headline with Justin Bieber and Minecraft in the same sentence. That immediately got my attention, not because I am a Belieber or because I’m a Minecraft crafter, but because the guys of TeamCrafted are just normal guys who like playing games and making videos with their friends. They have over one million subscribers and are building quite an empire. The article shares their journey from video game players to becoming real players in how video games, video game players, and Youtuber’s are perceived.

If you are not familiar with Teamcrafted, here is a  sample video (Warning, a few choice words)

As I read on I saw three nuggets of youth culture info that may interest you

1.   Youtube is the new Saturday Morning Cartoons

My son (14) plays Minecraft. He’s not obsessive or anything, he just like playing. When he is not playing Minecraft, COD, or Warhammer with his dad (me) he is watching YouTube videos. I never made the correlation until I read this article from Seth Porges of Mashable. Here is the quote

“They are this generation’s cartoons,” Michelsen says.

“When I was growing up, we had Super Friends and The Smurfs. Today, we have these YouTubers.”

    “When I was growing up, we had Super Friends and The Smurfs. Today, we have these YouTubers.”

I reflected on my days growing up with Saturday Morning cartoons like Thunder Cats, The Herculoids, and Spaaaaaaaace Ghooooost! After school I would watch Batman, G.I. Joe, and The Transformers. But even my habits have changed over the years. I have my favorite Youtube channels and watch them in equal amounts as my t.v. watching.

2. YouTube is THE place for game Info and entertainment

“Ninety-five percent of gamers go to YouTube for their gaming information and entertainment,” says Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s head of culture and trends. “And these are loyal fans from all over the world. Top gaming channels regularly reach millions of subscribers.”

Wow, if the gospel were gaming the whole world would be saved by now. If you have gamers in your group, they are seeking answers and entertainment from YouTube. This makes me think about how we do things like devotions and follow up with new believers. If kids are using YouTube as their go to for games maybe we should leverage Youtube to help kids find answers to their questions about God, the Bible, etc. I am not saying we do not have any more face to face time with students for discipleship, that would be be crazy and counter- productive, but maybe we, as youth workers, should make it easier for kids to consume, understand, and engage with the Bible and the Christian community a.k.a the church, through YouTube. I’ll have some more suggestions and ideas about this in an upcoming article.

3.   Kids open up when they do stuff they love (Like Youtube)

“That’s why I enjoy hanging out with TeamCrafted — they understand what it’s like,” Adam says. “When you see us do a video, that’s when we open up. That’s when we’re ourselves.”

This seems like a no-brainer right, kids are more relaxed and open when playing game but I can’t tell you how many times I have created super structured meetings that made it difficult for kids to share or talk about their life with God. I am not proposing that we play video games every week to get kids to open up, every kid is not into Minecraft or COD, but maybe we can figure out better ways to make our students less guarded in their conversation. For some it may be video games, for others it may be  using their hands to build something, or in our group, skateboarding. Whatever it is, let’s figure out better ways to let kids relax, share their hearts, and be more themselves rather than the religious selves we want them to be.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Did you read the article? What insights did you draw from it?

In what ways can you make your youth ministries less structured so kids can “be themselves”

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