Heroes game


The Crazy Idea That Kickstarted Heroes—What Was It?

Curious how Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game was created? What if we told you it came out of a crazy idea?

In this blog, you will:

  • Meet the 2 brilliant brains who initiated that “crazy idea”
  • Know what that crazy idea was and how it paved the way for the creation of Heroes
  • Learn valuable lessons from the humble beginning of this project

Who Were These 2 Dreamers With a Crazy Idea?

Sam Neves

Heroes: Sam Neves

At present

Neves is the associate director of communications for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He oversees the global branding and digital marketing efforts of the world church.

A glimpse of his past

Neves was born in Brazil and spent his childhood there.

Growing up, he went busy planting churches with his parents. This gave him exposure to the church ministry very early.

Eventually, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree of Arts in Theology/Theological Studies at Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo (UNASP) in 2004. He also acquired the same discipline as his master’s degree at Newbold College in 2006.

Then, he spent his working years serving the church. He worked for Stanborough Park Church as the associate pastor for communications from July 2005 through January 2016.

It was almost 11 years. Within this period, he ministered to over 60 nationalities until he moved to the United States in 2015.

Since 2016, he has been with the General Conference as the associate director of communications.

Now, where was Heroes in his timeline? And what was the crazy idea? We’ll find out later.

Sam Gungaloo

Heroes: Sam Gungaloo

Gungaloo was another gospel minister. And you probably noticed that he had the same first name as that of Neves.

His current occupation

Since January 2020, Gungaloo has been with the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has been working for its community and social services.

What he did in the past

Like Neves, Gungaloo also got a master’s degree in Theology/Theological Studies at Newbold College.

He went to this school in 2007, a year after Neves graduated. He left the campus in 2012 and graduated in 2013.

Could they have met or at least have known each other during these years? Well, who knows?

Anyway, Gungaloo started his ministry at the South England Conference in March 2013. He served the churches in Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Watford Town, Weston-super-Mare, Taunton, Yeovil, and Holloway until December 2018.

Now, where was Heroes in the equation? And, again, what was the crazy idea? That’s what we’ll discuss next.

The Crazy Idea

The inspiration

Of Sam Neves

Heroes: Steve Jobs
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The legendary Steve Jobs was Pastor Sam’s inspiration. Sam discovered a part of Jobs’s life that he found relevant to our current situation.

Specifically, Jobs described his company this way: “Apple is a company without identity. We are 2,000 employees making computers without knowing why we are making computers.”

This made Sam realize that the Adventist Church has also “failed to pass on a clear identity to new generations. However, Apple today is thriving and seemed to have found its identity.”

How was that possible?

Jobs started a campaign that “transformed Apple from within itself,” Neves noted. It propelled the company to what it is today.

Jobs summed up his thought process, saying, “Instilling identity is easy. You just have to remind people of who their heroes are.”

With this, Sam realized that his work was cut out for him. He was “to remind this generation of who the real heroes are” as well.

These heroes were “not the child-like, sanitized stories we present in children’s Sabbath School.” They were rather “the raw biblical stories with all of their rich and powerful details.”

Of Sam Gungaloo

Heroes: Breaking the word 'unemployed'
Photo credit: Canva

Gungaloo had been jobless for some months after he graduated in 2013.

“I’m not gonna lie—it’s a little bit discouraging. You studied for five and a half years. You’ve done your bachelor’s [and] your master’s. You screened out, booked out, libraried out, and moneyed out,” he shared.

But “after all of that experience, you just kind of expect the next chapter to be all right.”

Then, his mother advised him to speak to their pastor at Wimbledon International Seventh-day Adventist Church. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to work in a church with her.

The first meeting

Heroes: Shaking hands
Photo credit: Canva

Although Gungaloo didn’t want his mother’s idea at first, he eventually dialed the church pastor on the phone. Guess what, this pastor was Sam Neves himself!

Gungaloo didn’t expect it but Pastor Neves invited him for a job interview. Though hesitant, he came over because he badly needed a job.

As they met and began talking, Gungaloo realized Pastor Neves was also a dreamer like him. He described him as someone “naive enough to believe that [he] could change the world.”

“I thought I was the only person who was like that.” Surprisingly, here was “another guy who was just weird like that,” Gungaloo expressed.

Neves introduced him to a world where impossibility was the only challenge to rise up to. “The sky is the limit,” as the popular saying goes.

Now, what was the crazy idea?

The collaboration

Heroes: Collaborating on a project
Photo credit: Canva

Neves and Gungaloo dreamed of something “upon which people could come into a space” wherein to inspire and let them go home challenged to take action.

In the collaboration process, they discovered they both loved watching TED Talks. They particularly liked the idea that someone gets on stage to talk about a certain topic.

Every speaker has a profound experience in his subject. It makes him an expert or a credible authority to impart his knowledge with conviction and excitement.

Also, every subject discussed is just relevant, timely, and irresistibly engaging. The message penetrates the listeners’ subconscious mind enough to make a difference in their mentality and outlook.

Neves and Gungaloo wanted to adopt this idea into something that would effectively encourage people to study the Bible. And that was the crazy idea—crazy because how on earth can you use that medium to convince people to deep dive into the Word of God?

Here Was How It Turned Out

Laying out the concept

Pastors Neves and Gungaloo agreed to take the Bible characters as the focus of their campaign.

They aimed to give them their “rightful place in the heroic story of the entire biblical narrative.” They would present them as “stories lost in antiquity” that children would find interesting.

Heroes: Bible story books
Photo credit: Wikipedia

But beyond that, they wanted people to imagine themselves in the shoes of those characters. That is, they were not saints or any perfect beings. They were also humans who made mistakes in their lives.

Also, “you don’t have to have superpowers” because only God has them. ”You’re human. You’re broken. [But] God will use you for His kingdom,” Vanesa Pizzuto built up on Gungaloo’s point.

Materializing the crazy idea

Heroes: Group Bible study
Photo credit: Canva

Pastors Neves and Gungaloo started an evangelistic series in London. But, with traditional methods of preaching, they realized it wasn’t that effective in transforming people’s lives.

So, they began integrating the concept they agreed upon regarding Bible characters. They named their campaign “Heroes, the Series.”

At first, “there was pushback,” Gungaloo admitted. People didn’t like it because it was a whole lot different approach to evangelism. They claimed it was a totally “crazy idea.”

Fortunately, Neves found a mural artist to draw a huge picture of David, about 12–13 feet high. It depicted David with “muscles…sword and shield,” Gungaloo described.

Eventually, the people became more excited because they got to visualize what the 2 pastors were preaching about.

This made it easier for these preachers to invite more people to come into the crusade. After all, to make a difference in people’s lives was exactly what Heroes was created for.

This was the humble beginning of Heroes though it was not yet a Bible trivia game during this time.

What Lessons Can We Learn From This Collaboration?

1) God always knows what’s best.

Heroes: Jesus hugging a man
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Gungaloo wanted to be employed as a gospel minister as soon as he graduated from school. He was targeting a formal job.

So, any side job or project was not that interesting for him. Yet, as you’ve seen, he came to meet Pastor Neves after the phone call.

Eventually, he enjoyed the collaboration for Heroes. Their intellect, skills, and passion complemented well to develop a crazy idea and make it happen.

From this, Gungaloo learned to be humble enough to set aside his personal plans and let God take the lead. After all, God knows what’s best for His laborers and the ministry.

2) We must lift each other up. 

Heroes: Mother comforting her daughter
Photo credit: Canva

Sure, Neves and Gungaloo faced challenges working for the success of Heroes. But what kept them going, aside from their passion, was their support for each other.

When one felt discouraged, the other encouraged him, and vice versa. “We kept pushing and we made it happen,” Gungaloo shared with pride.

This is what God wants us to exercise as well.

3) Evangelism is not limited to physical space. 

Heroes: Filming a worship service
Photo credit: Canva

Going to church. Singing with each other face to face. Praying for each other without a physical barrier. Preaching in person. Name it all!

But thanks to the Internet, we have the option to do these things virtually. We can use our mobile phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets to study and preach God’s Word.

Especially in this pandemic era, “there is a need for digital evangelism,” Gungaloo put it. In fact, “God is amplified in any way that He wants to try and speak.”

“There are people out there who need to be engaged through a screen,” he continued. “That is the language that [will] take them to the foot of the cross.”

“There is such a huge area of untapped space which God has already asked us to walk into.” Surprisingly, “He has already claimed that…for us.” All we have to do is step into it and use it responsibly.

On this note, Heroes is just one of the tools to get this digital evangelism started.

Share Your Thoughts!

Did you enjoy this article?

What could you say about this crazy idea that paved the way for Heroes to become what it is today? Also, how did you find the collaboration between Pastors Sam Neves and Sam Gungaloo?

We would love to hear from you.

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