Thursday, December 13, 2007

What the Church can learn from Video Games

...specifically World of Warcraft.

I started playing WoW a couple years ago when I started dating my last boyfriend. I enjoyed it. I was in a long distance relationship, and we used it as a means to interact with eachother. It was more than chatting on AIM or sending "love" letters back and forth through e-mail; it was a way that the two of us could actually play side by side. If he wasn't playing, then rarely was I. My draw to it was my relationship with the person on the other side...

About a year ago I started attending a new church. It was great - at first. I was getting what I needed. I was attending a Bible Study that encouraged us to be reading our bibles every day and to bring questions and/or insights to the bible studies and we would discuss them as a group. It was amazing. Praise and Worship was awesome, the studies were interactive, people were getting to know eachother. And stopped. The pastor leading the study started doing all the talking - still encouraging us to read our bibles every day, but we no longer had the interaction element. As I continued to grow and learn, I recognized a desire to get involved in the ministry of the church, and I told the pastor so. I was approached by the music leader (who happened to like my voice) and asked if I would be interested. I said "YES!!!" It was never followed up on. Six months later, and I'm still there, still a passive member of the church, waiting for these men to follow up on my desire to do more than just listen to them talk. I would show up to places that there was a need, and wait on the sidelines for someone to explain what my role was and what was needed of me, and nothing happened. And lately, my devotion to my bible study has decreased (though I'm working on this ardently), my motivation to attend church has dropped. And where did I go?

World of Warcraft. It was just a little bit at first. Then people in my guild started whispering me that they had missed me in the last couple months. Asked where I had been, and how I was doing. Then the guild in general was demonstrating a need for more raiders. And I wanted to raid with I worked hard to be able to. And then there was a need for Protection Warriors (the characters that take all the damage so no one else does) - I was one. They taught me the fights, they helped me get the gear I needed. Then a bunch of other people wanted to raid too...and now I'm leading a group of them into fights, getting them equipment, and teaching them how to be better players so we waste as little time as possible. I'm tired of it. But I keep going back...why? Here's why:

I am a needed component of a group of people. I am vital to the success of their mission - without me, it can't happen. My company is desired among those my age, as we interact, join new chat channels, and make plans to visit each other (one girl is coming to visit me in January). I am being mentored by the older people in our guild, being taught how to play my part better by some, taught how to better execute the missions by others, and even taught how to be a better leader by even more. AND they are giving me the oppurtunity to lead. Why are they doing this? Why are they investing so much of THEIR time in me? Easy - they saw my desire to interact by my showing up consistently; they saw my desire to be more involved by my being an active learner and participant in discussions; they saw my desire to build relationships by my attempts (though often weak) to socialize.

What did THEY do that my church didn't? Why am I suddenly more dedicated to them than I am to my church? And why can't I find a church that has these skills at building community? A church with these skills of DISCIPLESHIP.