In the past two weeks we have launched 2 pre-recorded webinars about esports: one for youth leaders and one for parents (both can still be viewed at cboqyouth.ca/esports). Engaging in the digital space is an important topic for both parents and churches as it’s a main form of communication and interaction in our world, especially for young people. Digital space is reality; it’s not virtual or make-believe.
We hope both webinars continue to be helpful resources for churches to use. We encourage youth leaders to join our live Q&A with Bret Chapman on Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 pm and parents on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 pm. (Again, see our website for details.)
Below is an example from Rev. Rici Be (Director of Youth and Family with UEBFC and a member at Montreal Chinese Baptist Church) of how MCBC has engaged with their gamers both with digital and physical games.
Long before the pandemic hit, we had a series of gaming nights and mini tournaments at Montreal Chinese Baptist Church. Before most owned quality webcams, headsets and high-speed internet, we took advantage of the church’s high-speed internet, large rooms and easy–to–clean furniture to offer space plus a buffet of gamers’ finger foods to groups of gamers. The idea really came from the youth after one of our envisioning talks.
Our typical setup utilized our entire basement and sometimes the sanctuary (for big-screen projection and sound system) and set-up various stations for different games including:
- different types of consoles everywhere with either screens or projectors, if some games attracted spectators
- online corner (nearest to our router…haha!)
- infinite buffet table of finger foods
- kitchen firing all night long
As part of our program, we would pause all the games midway and bring up an issue to the floor for discussion. I remember one particular night, a first shooter game was the game of choice and a U.S. mass shooting happened that same week. We discussed the issue of justice and violence. The conversation was rich and I learned a lot from the youth. While none of our topics were ever overtly Christian, good discussion will always lead to the Gospel.
I’m not sure if other groups who have/had the freedom (or forgiveness) to let the youth ministry bring questionable games in the church but that’s what we did pre-pandemic. Now, we have integrated games night in our monthly schedule. So far, we have seen lots of new friends come just because the Christian friend who invited them happens to be part of their squad/alliance/league/raiding party/etc; in some cases, some are coming not for the game but for other programs.
In the future, I’d love to see tournaments between families, kids vs. parents, pastors vs. pastors, church vs. church. I think some of these tournaments could be huge platforms to introduce non-Christian to our family. Otherwise, I do believe the gaming world needs ministers; otherwise ”who influences our youth?”.
Directeur Jeunesse et Famille