Online video game becomes avenue for evangelism
While COVID-19 may have hindered door-to-door evangelism efforts, students at The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary remain committed to the evangelistic task. One unique avenue for a recent evangelistic conversation was the chat feature of an online video game.
Jeff,* a master’s student at the seminary from Keller, Texas, took an evangelism practicum this semester with Matt Queen, L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism. One of the assignments in this course is to share the Gospel with a certain number of people. The night before his final report was due, Jeff still needed to speak to two more people.
Confined to his home due to coronavirus-related restrictions, Jeff got creative: he logged into an action role-playing game (RPG) on his computer.
For the past several weeks, Jeff had sensed the Lord directing him to ask his fellow gamers through the game’s chat window whether anyone needed to hear that God loves them and that Jesus died for them. He admits that the practicum assignment being due the following day “put a fire under” him to finally do this, though his urge to share the Gospel outweighed the need to fulfill any assignment.
He typed the question into the chat window and then waited for an answer. Almost immediately, he says, a gamer named Steve* responded, thanking him for the message and sharing that he “really needed to hear that.”
Another player, Eric,* was “instantly antagonistic,” Jeff says, using “semi-strong language” to say that he believed the Gospel “was stupid and we were stupid for believing it.”
Briefly ignoring this other player, Jeff asked Steve if he would like to receive Christ or at least hear more about the Gospel, but Steve replied that he goes to private school and so has “heard it all.” Jeff asked if he could pray for him but received no further response.
Jeff knew the story was not over, however. Apologetics is his passion, he says, and so Jeff “knew the guy God wanted me to speak to was the antagonistic atheist who thinks Christians are stupid.”
“Like Paul and the Gentiles and Peter with the Jews, I feel called to speak to hostile atheists and do not mind speaking to them,” Jeff says.
So, Jeff sent Eric a private message, asking if he would like to talk more about Jesus and Christianity. He responded, “Sure.” But before Jeff could finish typing his next message, Eric added, “But it will cost you some currency,” referring not to real money, but to currency used in the game.
Jeff says he knew God truly wanted him to speak to Eric when Eric asked for the exact amount of money that Jeff had, despite Eric having no way of knowing that.
“Wow!” Jeff says, noting the coincidence. “I proceeded to not say a word but instead invited him to a trade and gave him what he asked for.”
Eric replied, “Wow, you actually did it.”
“He did not respond for a couple moments—long enough for me to say something,” Jeff says. “So, I told him that it was the exact amount I had, and if he had asked for more, I wouldn’t have had enough to give him.”
“Huh, that’s weird,” Eric replied.
Jeff then shared that God wanted Eric to know that He loves him. Jeff presented the Gospel, explaining Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on Eric’s behalf, and he challenged Eric to make a decision.
Unfortunately, Eric never responded again. But Jeff takes confidence in the fact that two people heard the Gospel, and he trusts that seeds were planted—albeit in a unique way.
In an email to Queen about this experience, Jeff thanked his professor for the class and “for giving me the courage to share my faith like I know I should!”
*Name changed to protect anonymity.