We are excited to be launching this esports series next month. We hope it will give a baseline of understanding for our youth leaders and parents as they navigate the relatively new frontier of esports, which is becoming a mainstream entertainment option. It’s not just some people gaming alone on their computers. Esports is both a competitive profession (professional athletes) and a spectator entertainment choice. In 2019, it was a $4.5 billion industry in Canada.
While CBOQ Youth is not intending (at this time) to initiate any specific esports ministry (league or otherwise), we do believe this is a key area of focus for churches to consider. In many ways, the digital world is as much a part of our reality as the physical world. One could argue that the movements of the digital world are more akin to the spiritual world, which is a crucial part of our faith.
There are two ways we’re investing into churches: a possible one-time grant and a series of webinars for youth leaders and parents.
Our CBOQ Grant Committee set aside a series of $500-$1000 one-time grants for churches to use to initiate some kind of esports ministry. We want to support our churches and their youth who are willing to venture into this digital space in the hopes of being the light of Christ there. For more details, go to the micro-grant page. Applications are due April 15. One pre-requisite is a representative of the church must register for the Youth Leader Live Q&A session.
Our intention is to introduce a health dialogue for Sr. Pastors, Youth Pastors, Youth Leaders and Parents regarding the significant increase of participation in the digital landscape and the impact on youth mental health and relationships.
Here’s what we’re planning to do with our webinar series in April (all start times are 7:00 pm EDT). You can read about our presenters below.
April 13: We will launch a pre-recorded webinar for youth leaders. This one features Jamie and Bret discussing how to engage youth culture and the digital landscape in particular esports and Video Games for youth pastors and youth leaders. The recording will be available on-demand on YouTube afterwards. No registration is required.
April 20: We will launch a pre-recorded webinar for parents. This one features Chris and Bret discussing how parents can build a healthy conversation with their children surrounding the impact of digital engagement (suited for youth ages 12-22). The recording will be available on-demand on YouTube afterwards. No registration is required.
April 27: Alvin will host a live Q&A with Bret via Zoom Webinar. This is an opportunity for youth leaders (or any church leaders) to ask questions and delve deeper into the content shared in the April 13 recording. THIS MEETING DOES REQUIRE REGISTRATION by clicking here.
May 4: Alvin will host a live Q&A with Bret via Zoom Webinar. This is an opportunity for parents to ask questions and delve deeper into the content shared in the April 20 recording. This meeting does not require registration and is available by clicking here.
We’ve partnered with 3 others in this project:
Bret Chapman—Founder “the Enthusia project”
Over the last 25 years in full-time youth and family ministry, Bret’s passion for the emergent generation has only grown stronger. Bret and his wife Lisa, have raised four kids into young adults who are already starting to make an impact in their world. With the development of COVID-19 and its influence on young people and their families, Bret and Lisa have begun to shift their ministry focus towards the digital landscape and the introduction of esports. Bret has become a significant influencer in the esports space and the effects anxiety and depression are having on the mental well-being of the present culture and the future of generation Z. Bret and Lisa’s current ministry focuses is centered on helping parents and Christian leaders better understand the aforementioned digital landscape and how the Gospel can be best utilized to build healthy relationships.
Jamie Harris – Founder/Director “Satellite Gaming”
My name is Jamie Harris and I am a husband, father, Jesus lover, and of course, a big–time nerd! My particular flavor of nerd is video games culture. Growing up with a family of gamers made it pretty easy to engage with this culture in a positive way. Over the years my passion for games and Jesus, and my desire to create a positive culture around video games, opened the door to the birth of Satellite Gaming, whose mission is to “point students to Jesus Christ, by building relationships through video games. “As the lead director, and founder of Satellite Gaming, I have a finger on the pulse of every element of Satellite Gaming. My role in seeing our mission statement come to life is to be creative, innovative, and build teams of volunteers that can execute the particular strategies. My hope is that Satellite Gaming can be a part of building positive gaming communities across the globe.
Chris Gwaltney—Chief Executive Nerd “Love Thy Nerd”
Chris is the Chief Executive Nerd of Love Thy Nerd as well as co-host of the Humans of Gaming Podcast. He’s been a nerd longer than he’s been a Christian. He was a church planter for seven years and has worked in nerd ministry for the past eight years. He loves his wife and games. He lives in Ventura, CA with his wife and his games.
Esports is one part of the digital world. It would be wise for us to understand how we can best engage with those who reside in this area of life. We hope to be a part of that conversation within your church.