Finding God in gaming

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Finding God in gaming

By Tomasz Juszczak, Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation

I am not much of a gamer. I have played some computer games in the past but I’ve never had a great knack for it and, therefore, did not take much interest in it. I realise, though, that many young people are or have been hugely into it. In fact, the gaming industry pulls more money worldwide than Hollywood. This is not just something that affects a small portion of young people, it affects millions.

When most of us read about the trends relating to young people and modern technology it concerns us. I have held the mindset that gaming is a terrible way to pass time and is doing much more harm than good to our society. While my concerns are not completely unfounded, a recent encounter has also given me genuine hope in this community of youth.

I recently met a guy from the US who is himself a Twitch streamer. In layman’s terms, he basically live broadcasts (streams) a video of himself playing video games, and the gamers viewing his stream are able to chat with him and each other while viewing the stream. As you can imagine, communities like this can potentially be very toxic, with many streams containing inappropriate language and offensive/threatening commentary. However, the particular person I met has decided to buck this trend.

Under the handle ‘Bearded Blevins’, this guy has decided to set up a stream that focuses on positive messages. He uses his stream to connect with his followers on a personal level, prays with them, fosters a culture of positivity and encourages everyone to lift each other up. Whilst initially this may sound a little lame – and admittedly some people who randomly find this stream think so – the community very quickly run to this gamer’s defence talking about how much of a positive impact he has made on them.

I will admit, I was hesitant to believe that Blevins’ ‘ministry’ could be making a genuine impact. I was stunned when, after finding out I was from Australia, he informed me he has a current follower from Sydney who has just started the RCIA program after being introduced to the faith on his stream. He regularly has people thanking him for his help, prayers and positivity and his community is continuing to grow.

Blevins is meeting people where they are at and bringing them the Gospel. It goes to show what can happen when we allow God into every facet of our lives.