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Speaking the Language of Games

Language of Games Stroup

It's a real miss for the church if we write off the outreach of game playing. If intentionally approached, this could be a strong movement of the gospel to reach people that have been almost totally ignored.

We often talk in the church about the value of small group ministry as a way to help people navigate and discuss spiritual issues. For those who are not ready to even talk on that level, playing the game is like taking a group of guys out for lunch. It's about having a common play experience together.

People interested in reaching out to this often ostracized segment of our society can become acclimated to the world of tabletop games by visiting a local comic book store, and even finding out when the store will be hosting a game open to the public. If that is intimidating, I recommend watching the 23rd episode of the sixth season of the TV show Big Bang Theory – or the 14th episode of the second season of the TV show Community, entitled “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons” – to get a sense of what the game looks like and how a game plays out.

Tabletop gaming can provide an alternate language for communicating the gospel – a language beyond the political, sports, and pop-culture references that typically populate sermons.

There are many ways to connect with the truth of the gospel. It's very easy for us to get stuck in illustrations that we connect to personally. But there are many who don't share our same cultural language, and they need someone to speak their language to them. Sometime the language of games gives them an entryway into what is really real and really true.

Photo: Joe shows the kind of multi-sided die typically used in tabletop role-playing games

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