Jane McGonigal has spent the last 10 years designing games. Now she wants to use games to change the world. This fascinating TED talk struck me because her audacious vision inspired by the world of online gaming contains interesting parallels with the vision of the Gospel. 

According to McGonigal:

  • People spend 3 billion hours a week playing online games

  • 500 million people, spend 1 hour a day gaming online 

  • In the next decade, the number will increase to 1 billion 

  • The average kid will spend 10,000 hours gaming by age 21

  • 10,000 hours is equivalent to an education between 5th - 12th grade

The question is "why?" Why do people invest massive chunks of their lives into online gaming? What is the "good news" of gaming for the human heart?

McGonigal cites four super-empowering realities of gaming that enable people to experience a better version of themselves. 

  1. Urgent Optimism: She calls it extreme self motivation. Urgent optimism is the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that there is a reasonable hope of success. 

  2. Tight Social Fabric: Games foster trust and cooperation based on an unbelievably clear, common mission.

  3. Blissful Productivity: Games take a lot of work, but people eagerly engage it. We are happier working hard in the right work, than just lying around.

  4. Epic Meaning:  Games are always cast in a larger story line; a greater backdrop of good and evil. Every aspect of the game is tied into the greater story. 

Can these insights from world of  gaming help you design ministry in your church? Here is a challenge: In your next staff meeting place these four attributes of the gaming experience on the whiteboard and ask the following questions:

  • Would we want our people to experience these realities more in our church than an online game? 

  • How do we currently help people experience these realities in our church?

  • Which ministry exhibits them the best?

  • What are we doing that prevents these realties in our different ministries?

  • Would we be willing to listen to a focus group of gamers to help us rethink some of our ministries?

  • How did the disciples experience these realities with Jesus?

Topics: Date: Mar 23, 2010 Tags: church vision / Clear Mission / Epic Meaning / Gaming / TED