Recent statistics state that more than 183 million Americans play video games for an hour a day. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that the impact of video games on their teens, and pre-teens – and screen time in general – is a top concern and a constant dialogue in their parenting journey.
So why in the world is The Higher Ground Men’s Conference offering a teen-focused breakout session titled “Video Games and the Gospel: Playing Video Games for the Glory of God”??
Well, because we take very seriously the input of our teens who have attended in previous years. At the 2016 event, we provided a great breakout that unpacked the dangers of internet and gaming addiction titled ‘Game Over.’ While the content and speaker was well received, one of our students told us:
“As an avid gamer, … we as a community (those of us who game) tend to respond better to people who are younger and (are)/were at one point gamers themselves. Gamers tend to be a semi-exclusive group. They have fought for many years against the stereotypical “anti-gamers” and as such tend to be very hostile towards such types. Reaching into (attendees) hearts is better received when the speaker has walked the road themselves.”
Enter Drew Dixon. The 2017 Higher Ground Men’s Conference is delighted to welcome Drew Dixon, a gamer, Explore the Bible Editor for Lifeway, and the Online Editor for GameChurch.com, a non-profit that takes the gospel into the gaming world.
“So often the only thing our kids hear in church about video games is they aren’t sinful, they’re just stupid,” Drew says. “But at GameChurch we believe it’s possible to play games not merely as an escape from our unjust world, but as a means of longing for a better one.”
Drew’s Higher Ground breakout session will unpack five positive values of video games:
Video games are made by people who are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). All games are made by people made in the image of God—people who, by their very nature, reflect God’s beauty. We should not be surprised, therefore, when digital worlds take our breath away.
Every time we play games we learn something about the world, ourselves, or even just about the game itself. Playing video games helps us develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, which in turn can contribute to helping us be happier, more productive people. They can also give us insight into the experiences of people across the globe.
It is important to note that these benefits dip significantly when we play for three or more hours a day. To truly tap into the health benefits of gaming, we must play responsibly.
– Drew Dixon
Because games are developed by people made in God’s image, we should expect them to reflect His truth. As with everything else in creation, games reflect truth imperfectly. However, if we will play with discernment, they can deepen our perspective, appreciation, and engagement with the real world.
Current research tells us that video games can relieve stress, improve brain function, stimulate our minds, and boost creativity. It is important to note that these benefits dip significantly when we play for three or more hours a day. To truly tap into the health benefits of gaming, we must play responsibly.
Video games bring people together. They provide us with meaningful shared experiences in a world that often seems to be growing more isolated. Video games can train us to work together—to lean on one another’s strengths in order to solve problems we could not solve on our own.
In addition to these five values, Drew will paint a picture to youth of how video games are not only a fun, learning tool for themselves, but also an avenue for engaging and sharing the gospel with their friends.
“To play video games as a Christian requires being honest and discerning not just about their content, but about their value,” Drew says. “Let’s play games responsibly, with discernment and moderation, but let’s dig deeper. Let’s tap into the many values of games, and ask the Lord to open our eyes to values we’ve failed to see. In playing games ‘Christianly’, we may just become more self-aware, more mindful of our neighbor, and more in love with our God.”
Drew Dixon’s breakout session is one of three sessions that have been developed specifically for teenage young men at the 2017 Higher Ground Men’s Conference Saturday, February 25th at Westminster Chapel, Bellevue. The other two sessions are:
Special discounted pricing available for fathers & sons, individual students and youth groups.
Higher Ground is the premier gathering of men of faith (age 13 & older) for encouragement, straight talk and practical tools for winning the battle for integrity in our hyper-sexual culture. 2017 event features keynotes Jonathan Daugherty & Brian Goins, and more than 20 in-depth breakout sessions concerning marriage enrichment, parenting & fatherhood, biblical manhood, sexual integrity, authenticity & brotherhood and being agents for social justice in our local communities.