I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t think Minecraft was a big deal. A year ago, I would have thought the same. In fact, a year ago I thought it was a waste of time. “It’s just virtual Lego,” I would say. “What’s the point?” But then Lockdown hit, and everything changed.
All meetings were cancelled. Even today, meetings are only just starting to re-open with lots of social distancing restrictions. So, my daughter asked me if she could play Minecraft online with one of her best friends. Now, normally I wouldn’t let Lydia play games with online interaction, but because she wasn’t able to see any friends and this would only be with one specific friend whose parents I knew quite well, I thought I could make an exception. Then two things happened. 1. I realised how many people play Minecraft (about 126 million…most of them children and young people). 2. I actually enjoyed playing Minecraft (as she asked me to play with her as well).
Then a big idea hit me. I saw an article of a church using Minecraft to meet with young people virtually during lockdown. I thought this was amazing and I instantly wanted to replicate it. The problem was, I didn’t know anything about Minecraft: how to set up a multiplayer space, and more so, how do that safely. Well, given enough time in Lockdown and you can learn anything! I feel as if I’ve had a degree in Minecraftology! And now, I’m excited to say, that as of this last month, I’ve been able to start a Minecraft Ministry, and it has been buzzing! I have had most of the youth in our church get involved and have started having requests from friends and parents from outside the church.
Anytime the word Minecraft is mentioned, I instantly have a small crowd of kids asking: “How big is the Jesus statue now? You’ve built a Spleef Stadium…What?! Mario Kart, in Minecraft? How did you do that?” With Minecraft, the possibilities are nearly endless, but I’m not just talking about games, I’m talking about a way to reach young people. You see, God gave me another idea. Our church is currently going through the “I Am” statements of Jesus (in fact I’m preaching on it next week), and then someone sent me an email about a contest for making the best Bible scene in Minecraft …these two ideas came together and I thought, “I could build a giant Jesus statue, displaying elements from Minecraft that illustrate who Jesus is.” Namely, Jesus is the Light of the World, so, Jesus is like the torch in Minecraft, and Jesus is the Bread of Life, so, Jesus is like the bread in Minecraft. The idea kept growing and I got to thinking, “Minecraft could really help teach Jesus!” And here we are, third week in, and we are teaching Jesus through Minecraft! It’s amazing!
So, I’m very excited about this, not only because we are reaching kids locally, but because I really think we could be on to something. You see, the other day I was in a meeting with Youth for Christ Directors from the North West of Britain, and when I mentioned my new Minecraft Ministry, all their ears pricked up. In fact, one mentioned this could be used as a potential training session to equip other youth leaders. It was then I realised, “This idea is bigger than Colwyn Bay, it’s a whole new way of teaching Jesus.” So, if you’re interested in learning how to use Minecraft to teach Jesus…then please contact me. But If nothing else, please pray that young people here in Colwyn Bay and around the world can learn who Jesus is: The Way, The Truth, and The Life!
We’ve had lots of new year 7’s coming up through our church and Youth for Christ. So, both youth groups are growing and it’s exciting to see the two groups working together to have a greater reach. Speaking of Youth for Christ, this last month we had virtual camp weekend. Granted it wasn’t exactly the same, but it was still pretty awesome. Young people camped in their back gardens and then tuned in for morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. It was good time and another great way to plug in the year 7’s. Lastly, we we’re able to get away for an extended weekend with Miriam’s parents and family. It was a great time to be with people again and relax for a bit.
Please keep praying for us…there’s so much potential and I’ve got even more big ideas. In three words…Skate Park Ministry! Stay tuned! =)