Should Christians today consider online games as a means of spreading the gospel?
We’ve asked 14 influential pastors, evangelists, ministers, and social media personalities what they think about it:
- Darlene Joyce Zschech
- Allen Parr
- Kurt Owen
- Cliff Chapman
- Caleb Simakando
- Mark Harmon
- Vernon Lyons
- Nathan Noyes
- Aaron Magnuson
- Jorge Rampogna
- Vanesa Pizzuto
- Crescendo Ministries PH
- Light of Jesus Pastoral Care
- Famous Gospel Radio
Get to know them and their insights about the question.
But first, let’s understand the issues of gaming as far as evangelism is concerned.
The Health and Spiritual Issues of Gaming Concerning Spreading the Gospel
We consider gaming as mainly a form of entertainment, a hobby, or a pastime. Sometimes, it even serves as an escape from our problems.
But we are also aware of its negative impact.
Once we get hooked and addicted to a game, we tend to lose track of time enough to sometimes neglect our responsibilities.
Also, too much of it can lead to health issues such as anxiety, depression, obesity, sleeping disorders, physical inactivity, stress, vision problems, skin disorders, epilepsy, and seizures, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
What else do you have in mind?
Now, on the spiritual side, some Christians consider gaming as the work of the devil because it steals our time to study the Bible.
But it depends on the games we play.
While most games subconsciously bring us to vain entertainment, there are those such as Bible trivia games that lead us to God and into the study of His Word.
With this in mind, how can gaming help us accomplish the church’s mission of spreading the gospel?
Thoughts From 14 Religious Influencers
1) Darlene Joyce Zschech
Who is she?
Darlene is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and worship leader best known for her involvement in Hillsong Church’s worship team in Australia for many years now.
She is well-recognized for songs such as “Shout to the Lord,” “Kiss of Heaven,” “Change Your World,” “You Are Love,” In Jesus’ Name,” “Revealing Jesus,” and “Here I Am, Send Me.”
Alongside, she also serves as a co-senior pastor at Hope Unlimited Church in Australia with her husband, Mark.
This passion for music and preaching translates to her raising and training worship pastors, leaders, teams, and writers.
For this purpose, Pastor Darlene has written five books, namely, “Extravagant Worship,” “The Kiss of Heaven,” “The Art of Mentoring,” “Revealing Jesus,” and “Worship Changes Everything.”
But behind the spotlight, she is a simple woman who “wholeheartedly loves Christ and serves Him [by] loving my family, serving the church, and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
More about Darlene’s story and ministry on her website.
What is her opinion about gaming as a means of spreading the gospel?
Pastor Darlene acknowledges that “we’ve been instructed by Jesus to take the gospel out to the world and spread hope.”
This gospel commission is written in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV): “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
And as we are in a digital era, Pastor Darlene recognizes that “social media, online games, and others are more prevalent than ever before.” So, “why not use online gaming as an avenue for spreading the gospel?”
2) Allen Parr
Let’s first get to know him personally.
Allen is a gospel ministering blogger and content creator with over 874,000 subscribers on YouTube.
But back in his childhood, he didn’t enjoy going to church. He never prayed. He never read the Bible. And he didn’t have a personal relationship with God.
Until a man taught him to study the Bible during his college years. Surprisingly, it had a great impact on him enough to read it diligently and listen to religious tapes and CD series he could find.
This passion to know God more led Allen to teach the Bible in 1998 and graduate with a master’s degree in Theology in 2004. With this, he started working in the ministry.
And in 2015, he met the love of his life, Jennifer, and had two children.\
Learn more about his life and ministry by visiting his website.
Does he agree that gaming is an effective tool for spreading the gospel?
Allen believes that “God will use any means of technology to help people understand God’s Word.”
Also, “people all over the world are playing games of various kinds.” True enough, there are about 2.95 billion gamers around the world in 2022 and will probably increase to 3.07 billion in 2023, according to Finances Online, a business review site.
And particularly about Bible trivia games, Allen says these are “an amazing and fun way to increase your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God.”
3) Kurt Owen
His personal background
Kurt currently co-pastors Real Life Church with his wife, Terry.
Having been in the ministry for over 20 years, he has traveled to more than 25 nations planting new churches, supporting church leaders, preaching the Word, and teaching leadership.
To further his ministry, he founded the Ministers of Victory (MOV), a ministerial organization that equips, encourages, strengthens, and ordains ministers for service.
And to help churches become healthy, strong, vibrant, and active, Pastor Kurt established the Kurt Owen Ministries.
Learn more about him by visiting his website.
What does he think about spreading the gospel through gaming?
Pastor Kurt says that “there is a lot of people gaming to get away from real life because they have challenges.”
Some of them may be suffering from a personal problem, family issue, work conflict, or anything similar. And gaming serves as their temporary escape.
But gaming is not only a means of entertainment. It can also be used to educate and inspire people such as in evangelism.
Given that there are Bible-inspired games in the market, Pastor Kurt says that “Christians ought to be ready to share the gospel when they’re online gaming.”
4) Cliff Chapman
Who is he personally?
A gospel minister, Cliff is the lead pastor of the global network of Grace Christian Churches.
He has appeared on various Christian television stations around the globe and in different teaching videos on YouTube.
He also hosts his own teaching broadcast, The Grace Show, on World Glorious Network Television and Lancashire’s Lighthouse Radio.
To know him more and learn about his ministry, visit his Facebook page.
What does he think about the question?
Sharing the gospel knows no border. With this, Pastor Cliff advises, “Share the Word any way we can.”
This means using whatever talents we have or ways we can to preach about Jesus, including gaming. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV).
5) Caleb Simakando
What is his personal background?
Caleb is the president and founder of the Global Latter Rain Remnant Ministry. It is a religious organization that helps people overcome sin through prayer revival.
In the past, he has worked as a research director, finance manager, sales and marketing executive, and accountant.
Visit his Facebook page to learn more about him.
His thoughts on gaming as a means of spreading the gospel
For Caleb, it is a “good idea to have Bible games.” In this way, we “can have fun while becoming familiar with the Word of God.”
By studying the Bible through these games, we can share our knowledge and faith with other people as a way to spread the gospel.
6) Mark Harmon
Up close and personal with him
Mark is an admin of at least two Facebook groups of evangelists and ministers.
He used to work in the army and in the post office for quite several years. But time came when he needed to prioritize taking care of his family, resulting in his retirement.
This gave Mark more time to study the Bible, which he has been diligently doing even without a degree in Theology.
With this passion, he has been ministering online by preaching and interacting with fellow ministers and evangelists on social media.
Especially during this pandemic, this online ministry has been his primary means to share God’s Word.
If you want to benefit from his ministry, feel free to join one of his Facebook groups, and study and discuss the Bible with people from all over the world.
What are his thoughts on the question?
Mark quotes from 1 Corinthians 9:22 (NIV), saying, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
As such, “if there is an avenue to save ‘some,’ then I believe it is worth it,” he affirms.
But while gaming is an effective means of spreading the gospel, he advises being “willing to be led where God will use you in the greatest way.” In other words, “be open to being guided a few degrees left or right of center, wherever God wants to lead you.”
7) Vernon Lyons
Let’s get to know him first.
Born in Mississippi, Pastor Vernon was raised as a Lutheran but is now a Baptist.
He was a staff member at WBMI, Mississippi’s pioneer Christian radio station. He has also been on television in every city in the US.
Preaching the gospel since 1941, he has traveled in 39 countries, including 10 trips to Israel. Through his preaching, he has penetrated Islam’s secure stronghold in Iran.
Lastly, he has been pastoring Chicago’s Ashburn Baptist Church since 1951.
To know more about him and his ministry, visit his website.
His answer to the question
Pastor Vernon says, “video games are a good idea for sharing the gospel of Christ.”
Though video games are just one of the types of online games, they are a good representation of gaming as a whole.
8) Nathan Noyes
A little bit about him and his organizations
Nathan Noyes is a minister and deacon of Gethsemane Church and the founder of KJV 1611.
Gethsemane Church is not affiliated with any religious denomination. It simply seeks to know the truth from the Bible and help those who are searching for it by listening to them and doing them charity.
Meanwhile, the KJV 1611 is a Facebook ministry dedicated to helping people build up faith in the Word of God through the King James Version, the most respected Bible translation.
Does he believe that gaming can be used in spreading the gospel?
Nathan quotes from 2 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV), saying, “I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.”
With this, we are charged to preach the gospel in and out of season. “In season” means the most effective time and place to share it. And apparently, “out of season” implies the opposite.
Speaking of “out of season,” Nathan remembers establishing KJV 1611. People were skeptical about it at first but it proved to be an effective ministry later on.
Because of this, he believes that “if we play on a softball team, belong to a business group, or at the workplace, it is still and may be the most effective time and place to share the gospel.”
As such, how can we not consider gaming as an effective means of sharing the gospel, especially if the game talks about Jesus and the Bible?
9) Aaron Magnuson
Who is he and what is he doing?
Aaron is the online director of the Shoreline City Church in Dallas, Texas. He takes vision from his lead pastor, builds an online strategy around it, and leads a team to execute it.
Alongside, he serves as a consultant for other churches and nonprofit organizations, helping them build a digital strategy and implement it.
In the past, he has worked at The Grove Church by building its digital community. And for three years, he pastored the ONE&ALL Church.
He also co-hosts the Social Media Church Podcast with Nils Smith where they talk to various leaders of the digital church space.
What does he think about spreading the gospel through gaming?
Pastor Aaron believes that “the gaming community, like any community, needs to be reached with the gospel.”
Aside from the fact that this industry is so big and prominent, addiction to it can damage the health, corrupt the mind, promote violence, and so on, when not dealt with responsibly.
As such, it makes a good subject of physical and spiritual healing and restoration. And given its big market, evangelism can create a massive influence in its environment.
In fact, Pastor Aaron knows “a handful of streamers who are leveraging online games to create opportunities to spread the gospel.”
10) Jorge Rampogna
Who is he personally?
Living in Brazil since 2012, Pastor Jorge is married to Lia Treves with two daughters.
He studied Theology at Universidad Adventista Del Plata in Argentina where he had built a career as a pastor.
He also finished a postgraduate degree in Corporate Communications at Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo (UNASP) in Brazil.
At some time, he served as the associate director of the Nuevo Tiempo de Comunicação Network for South America.
Currently, he serves as the communication director of the South American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
What does he think about gaming as a means to spread the gospel?
Pastor Jorge believes that the preaching of the gospel to all the world is “a responsibility given by Christ to us.”
He quotes from Matthew 24:14 (ESV), which says, “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
As such, the message “must reach every tribe, tongue, and nation,” Pastor Jorge echoes Revelation 10:11.
With this, he believes, without a doubt, that “online gaming is a huge opportunity to reach specific groups of people who also need Jesus.”
“Christians who intentionally use online games to develop relationships with others can be used by the Holy Spirit to share the good news of Christ in innovative and powerful ways,” he concludes.
11) Vanesa Pizzuto
Her personal background
Vanesa is a Latin-American author, broadcaster, and storyteller.
She began writing poems at the age of nine. As she grew older, these poems turned into stories, then articles, and eventually, books.
Gifted, isn’t she?
Well, that must have been her motivation for taking up Journalism and Media as her bachelor’s degree in Argentina.
Then, moving to the United Kingdom, she supplemented it with a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration.
With this educational attainment, she worked as a radio producer for Adventist Radio London, became a brand ambassador for Heroes in the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, among her other past employments.
Currently, Vanesa is the communications associate director of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
To know more about her and what she does, visit her website.
Does she see gaming as an asset for evangelism?
With about 3 billion people (roughly a third of the world’s population) playing games, Vanesa affirms that gaming is now “a bigger industry than movies and sports combined.”
True enough, as we have learned from Finances Online earlier, there are about 2.95 billion gamers worldwide this year. And it is estimated to rise to 3.07 billion by 2023.
To neglect this fact for whatever reason “would be a catastrophic mistake,” Vanesa continues.
As such, it is necessary for us to engage in the gaming community with a purpose of sharing the gospel.
“Thanks to mobile technology, we all have access” to this wide mission field in the palm of our hands.
Hence, now is the time “to get creative, to engage, and to learn from gamers how to build strong online communities that shape the lives of [their] members,” Vanesa concludes.
12) Crescendo Ministries PH
What is this ministry?
Crescendo Ministries PH is a religious organization in the Philippines.
Founded on the core values of excellence, empowerment, enlightenment, and encouragement, the organization envisions equipping every Filipino worship minister in faithfulness, excellence, and commitment in service.
Answering the question
Crescendo Ministries PH says, “Anything can be considered as a means to spread the gospel, including online games.”
She quotes Psalm 24:1 (NCB), saying, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”
But “we should be careful in engaging—as we should be the one to influence it and not to be influenced by it.”
As such, the organization advises, “Check also the nature of the online game if it violates any convictions that God has set.”
But over all, Crescendo Ministries PH concludes that “any place can be a breeding ground for the gospel to spread.”
13) Light of Jesus Pastoral Care
A little bit about this organization
The Light of Jesus Pastoral Care is a ministry founded by Bo Sanchez, a Filipino preacher and motivational speaker, in 1993.
Its mission is to nurture and empower people through pastoral care. Specifically, it provides psycho-spiritual support for people seeking help and prayers. It is done through voice call or live chat.
More about this organization by visiting its website.
What do they think about spreading the gospel through gaming?
Considering gaming as a means to spread the gospel, Light of Jesus Pastoral Care says it “depends on the game.”
True enough, you can’t just use any other games for evangelism except those inspired by the Bible. Good thing, among several Christian apps, “there are Bible trivia games,” the organization acknowledges.
14) Famous Gospel Radio
About this radio
Famous Gospel Radio is a hiphop gospel radio station hosted by Frank Willis, DJ Switch, DJ Pandamonium, DJ Black, DJ JustMat, DJ Get Right, Ken Jackson, and DJ CPT.
Among its programs are FaceTime Radio, The 420 Show, and Splash Radio.
Do they see it possible to share the gospel through gaming?
Famous Gospel Radio believes that sharing the gospel of Christ is “by any means necessary” in this season.
And there’s only one way to do it—through Jesus Himself—but it takes “many vehicles.”
Gaming is one of these vehicles. Given its prominence especially among the youth, it can be used as an avenue for evangelism to penetrate the trend.
For instance, we can introduce Bible trivia games in any way that gamers will find interesting and engaging. In this way, we win their confidence and educate them about God at the same time.
“Use this vehicle to get them to the right way, Jesus,” Famous Gospel Radio encourages us.
Got Any Thoughts?
So, you’ve heard from 14 religious influencers and organizations what they think about gaming as a means of spreading the gospel.
What about you? We would love to know your thoughts as well.
See you in the comments below.