It’s been a long time since I’ve posted something on this blog (or any of the blogs I write for that matter). I can’t say much other than point to a mindset that really didn’t leave a lot of room for blogging, or any space for particularly deep thinking. This mindset also didn’t lend itself to any form of digital mission – most of my year has been spent just ‘keeping active’ on the games I play – little to no communication with anyone, but still playing.
That’s changed through a long process that I don’t want to talk about here. Today I joined a new world on Tribal Wars – one very similar to the world where I had the most success with building relationships in the past – and I sincerely pray that I remain true to the calling I feel upon my life, and the Gospel which I plan to spread.
I guess the purpose of this post is to ask the rest of you (anyone who still reads this blog) to pray for me as I begin this mission.
I’ve posted before – I think (if I haven’t, let me know, I’ll pull out my old notes from Bible College and summarise them for you) – on the principles of a Missional Lifestyle, and a big part of my life is spent working out how these principles can be used within the online world, and particularly the communities that are found within (I’m not talking about Facebook/twitter/etc – they can be good for enhancing or reestablishing a physical community, but I have yet to see anything resembling a community spawn on it’s own from these sites). I do spend a lot of time in the communities formed around a couple of online games that I play, but another place I spend time is on blogs, reading, commenting and interacting with people on a couple of different blogs.*
One of the blogs that I’ve found recently is run by a gamer girl from the U.S, and she uses her blog (which is only new) to share her thoughts about games, the gaming industry, and many other things. I’m following her blog, and have commented on a few things, including her latest post, where she talked about using games as a means of escapism from a difficult situation. What I read broke my heart – much in the same way that watching the videos Extra Credits did about game compulsion last year broke my heart and clarified a calling on my life – and I ended up calling a lot of the people who know about my ministry online to pray for her. In my comment the next morning, I sympathized (as someone who has had hard times that they’ve used games to escape from I could do no less), and warned her against using escapism excessively – as a way to avoid having to deal with problems at all – and told her that I had been praying for her and the situation she’s going through (and I still am). I’m glad to say that her response was positive, and I’m praying that I would have more opportunities to talk with her about the things that she’s writing about, and about God through those discussions.
I don’t have a big point with this post, but I would like you guys to pray for this blogger and what she’s going through, and for me – that God would give me more opportunities to share with both her, and with others that I interact with online. If there are any other bloggers out there doing similar things, please let us know – we’ll pray for you too!
*Unfortunately not mine at the moment, commenting has completely died out – which I’m not happy about, and would like to change. As always, if there’s something you want to agree with, share about or argue with, feel free to comment (hint, hint)
I really haven’t talked about what I’m doing within the Digital Missions field, have I? Better get that rectified…..
I’ve worked mostly within the realm of Online Games. In the past I’ve spent a lot of time playing the online ‘browser’* games Tribal Wars and The West, and I still play The West (I’ll talk about that in a bit), but it has always been my hope to minister within the world of more broad games – games like Team Fortress 2, or some other online multiplayer shooter** – which thankfully I now have greater opportunity to do.
My goal has always been to become part of one of the groups that form naturally within this world (Towns and alliances in Tribal Wars and The West; clans in online shooters), and be a light to those communities. I am always open about my faith – I don’t preach to them, but I do say that I’m a Christian – and that I am open to people asking me about it, but other than that, I normally just try and let my actions and words reflect my worldview. I make friendships in the hope that I have a lasting impact upon their lives. Occasionally I have opened myself up in the forums of groups I’ve been a part of, offered to pray for people (which they were surprisingly open to 90% of the time – I only ever ended up with one flame war), even ended up having a civil public debate*** about Christianity with one of the guys I had become friends with.
I’m not sure what I’d do when someone does come to Christ through my ministry – which I hope does happen – I posted before about the assignment I wrote about the possibility of an online Church within one of those games, which is something I would still like to do (and something which needs a lot more thought put into it), but I would most likely encourage people to find a good church nearby as well.
So that’s a little of what I have been doing, and some of what I hope to do. If the few people that still read this want to know more, feel free to ask in the comments – I’ll do my best to answer.
*Games that run exclusively within a web browser
**Not an MMO, I’m not sure about whether I’d come back out if I got involved in one of those.
***We were both forum Moderators, so as per the rules of the debate any posts that didn’t come from us – particularly those that belittled one side or the other – were quickly deleted.
It’s been a while since I’ve written here…..I suppose it’s mostly due to my getting slightly depressed that this didn’t take off the way I’d hoped. I’d thought that a few more people would find this blog, and that I’d have more to say than I have so far. I’m planning on changing how dead this blog has become, however.
I’ve applied to do a few elective talks at this years Black Stump (see my write up on last year’s Stump here). If I get accepted, I’ll be talking about Digital Missions, and if I end up doing more than one talk (which I’ve applied to do), I’ll use the second talk to speak more about what I have done in the past, what I’m doing at the moment, and what I hope to do in the future within the world of online gaming – and hopefully get some back and forth going on different ways that Digital Missions can be done.
The practical upshot of this is that – no matter whether or not I get the spot – I’m going to be doing some serious thinking and reflecting on the reasons I set this blog up, and on what could possibly be called content. I’m not promising super regular posts, but I will be using this space to sort through my thoughts and actions concerning Digital Missions. So expect to find a few more posts during the next few months……..they may even be interesting to people other than myself.
One of my classes last year was a Church Planting intensive. I spent a lot of time during the class thinking about the possibility of a fully ‘online’ church, made up of people around the globe, to the point where I did my major assignment (an assessment of a community as a potential area for a church plant, along with a theological reflection on the form of church I intended to plant, with a value call on whether a church needs to be planted in the area, along with what ‘model’ of church plant would work best) on one of the communities I was involved with at the time. I was going to copy and paste the report I made for anyone who is interested, but for some reason WordPress isn’t letting me do that, so I’ve uploaded it to Google Docs here
I can’t decide at the moment if I should follow up on this at all, so I’m going to leave it for the moment. If you’d like to hear my thoughts from a few months later, I’ll either edit this post, or put it in a new one….
Assuming you didn’t find this blog through my original blog – Freelancing for the Kingdom – and you still look at this regrettably empty blog, you may be interested to know that I’m doing a wrap up of the year that has been, and looking towards the year that is to come. The stuff I’m writing there is going to involve this blog too, and rather than seperate my thoughts between two blogs, I figured that I’d just link this one to there.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, to all of you.
Probably the most fitting post to follow the blog’s introductory post is this one – an introduction to the broader themes that will be addressed within it. So without further ado, the answer to the question: ‘What is Digital Mission?’
To my mind, and the minds of those that I’ve spoken to/listened to on the subject, Digital Mission involves seeing out online interactions (from talking to friends on facebook to writing a blog post) as a mission field – that is, a place where we should be seeking to spread the Gospel, bringing people into relationship with God through our words and our actions. Practically, this can take numerous forms, from having conversations about life (and faith) with our friends on Facebook, to weighing in on (or starting) discussions on forums, to offering to pray for people throughout the range of online interactions that you have, to (my major personal interest) building communities that share life and faith through the varied challenges offered by online gaming (which I will probably talk about at length in the future).
Throughout my personal interactions with people online (mostly through online games), I’ve made friendships that are as deep (or deeper) than the friendships that I made during my years at school, or the friendships that I have with a variety of people from college and church. So – at least for me – when I came to the realisation that sharing my faith with the people around me wasn’t an option, it seemed fairly natural for me to start thinking about how to do this through the games that I play online. I’m sure that it’s the same for many other people around the world, and it’s to those people more than anyone else that I say this: Use the time you spend online (whether on social media, on forums, or on games) to share the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus. See the time you spend connecting with people online as a place to bring people to an understanding of who God is, and let God work through you to bring the people around you into relationship with Him. You don’t have to do the same things that I (or others you may know) do, but you should be doing something.