Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

Avoiding “Game Rage” in Youth Ministry

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I played some games with my almost 14 year old son this weekend. The game we played was called Summoner Wars and it’s a fun strategy card and dice game. It is a new game, to us, and so we played three times over the weekend, I lost every time. So, I hate losing and I hate losing to my own family members, and I hate losing three times in a row, I think it partly has to do with my age and a whole lot to do with my pride. O.k, it’s 100% pride.

My son says I ‘rage out”. I denied it, but I do, but not with a loud screaming voice, but sarcasm and a sharp tongue. I think we “rage out”  like gamers do when we feel like we are losing at ministry or life in general.

Maybe this is why we, as youth workers, get so upset when only X amount of kids show up and we expected X x 10 to show up. Maybe because we want all things to be fair or least feel like things are fair.

According to the Blog What Games Are,

“A game is a world in which the player is empowered. The levels of play within that world are simpler than reality, and so the path to accomplishment is clearer than reality. The player therefore feels she has a fair chance of winning in a game in a way that she does not get in life”


The problem with “The Game of Youth Ministry” is that it’s not fair. Nothing about it is fair. We have little control, little reward in man’s eyes, and little empowerment from those around us. When we do experience one of thee “hidden treasures” it’s like like finding the Sword of Absolute Awesomeness That Kills Anything. But, maybe we have so little in the resources dept…

  • small budgets
  • cranky bosses
  • unpredictable students (think Israel in the desert with unlimited Red Bull)

so we can’t define winning in our terms and there-fore get no credit.

I think my confusion, doubt, and sadness comes when I set up unreasonable expectations of myself, my church, and God. This life is not about me “winning”. Winning, in my eyes, makes me the center of attention. If winning, in this life, means I get the attention and God does not, then I would rather “lose” by every measurable standard.

So, I guess I will have to learn to live with the losses and look, and be thankful, for the victories God gives, even when I’m playing my son.

Do you find your self “raging out” over your ministry?

Are your “win”expectations too high?

Why do you think you do that?

If you are a gamer, and you deal with gamer rage, you may want to read this article on Gamer Rage from Men’s Fitness

And if you want to see yourself (even if it’s on the inside) from God’s perspective, when something doesn’t go right in your ministry just watch here. Laugh and move on.

To catch the rest of my The Youth Ministry Game series, start HERE





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