X-Box Ministry | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
January 2011

X-Box Ministry

By Chris Wilterdink
The numbers are in for Christmas 2010 - one of the year's hottest sellers was Microsoft's new Kinect addition to their X-Box system. What is Kinect? It is a wireless sensor bar that senses a person's movement - effectively allowing a person to control the video game without the need for a controller. As many of our young people play video games, I think we can apply some theology to this 'revolution' in gaming. To Kinect is to Connect - The kinetic nature of Microsoft's Kinect gaming system utilizes movement to immerse players into their games. Movement equals deeper connection. Isn't our faith the same way? Some of the most memorable moments for young people, moments where young people truly connect with God and each other, have movement at their core. Lighting candles, serving a meal, ropes courses, walking for a cause, movement prayers, building a house - I'm sure you can think of many more examples of your own experiences where movement has lead to a deeper connection with God. Movement equals deeper connection. The Controller is You - Young people want to feel empowered, and in some ways want to change the world even if they don't have the tools to do so. Often we ask our young people to lead, but only after jumping through so many hoops. We ask our youth to witness and be disciples, but only if they have the proper resources first. In some ways, young people still need to know how to 'use the controllers' if they want to play meaningful roles in church. Are there ways that your ministry welcomes those who don't know how to play the game, but want to connect anyway? Could the offering up of self and energy reform change the way we practice our faith? What would the world look like if we were ready for young people to say "I want to change the world, here I am."? Could our faith honor young people who are ready to start connecting, even if the only thing they can offer is themselves? No Hiding the Movement - Depending on the game you play, Kinect will read every one of your body's movements. Similarly, the more we live out our faith - the easier it is to see God moving through our hands, through our feet, and into the world. Young people have a hunger to serve, to put their faith into action, and to have it make a difference in the world. In your area, how does the movement of individuals create movements for and about God? Have you used video games in your local ministry? Want to further the discussion? Leave a few comments!
Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.