As the pandemic continues, many of our youth are engulfed in gaming both as players and spectators. Esports (which is a competition using video games usually with spectators) has grown into its own industry. According to Business Insider, it will likely surpass $1B in revenue this year.

As one person who’s immersed in the esports world, I see this as a digital mission field. 

Some youth leaders are more familiar with esports; some may already be involved in it. Here are some suggested resources (note: these two resources are from secular agencies): 

Here are some suggestions to help you understand esports potential influence on the youth in your group: 

  • Find out what games people are playing and why. What’s attracted them to it? What draws them from one game to another? 
  • Let them show you (or other youth leaders) how to play, even the basics. It’s a way to enter their world. 
  • Allow them to describe/introduce their online friends. They don’t need to use their specific handles/names but understand some of the people they’re playing with/against. 
  • If you’re part of a network of churches, compare notes with other youth leaders and see what games other groups are playing. If there’s enough commonality, you could even host a combined youth group tournament. 

I (Alvin) don’t understand much about esports. I do recognize it is a (digital) space many of your youth engage with. As others have noted in youth ministry, it is a cross-cultural opportunity for us to better understand that world, and to see how Jesus is already bringing his kingdom within it. It’s part of our call to continue that kingdom work with our youth.