It’s OK to play video games with students

“All you do is play video games, right?”

“You have the easiest job in the world. All you do is play video games.”

If you are a guy student minister you have probably heard these 2 sentences before…maybe even hundreds of times before. One of the big stereotypes guy student ministers face is that because they are a student ministry leader they MUST surely spend every waking hour playing video games.

Like many things in life, this is NOT a black and white issue. Do student ministers play video games? Yes, they do…in large part because they have to.  There is tremendous value when student ministers play video games with teens.

“What are you talking about Tom? Student minister need to share about Jesus to students, not play video games with them. Playing videos games is a waste of time.”

video gamesWhy yes, they do have to bring teens to come to know Christ as their savior. But is is most definitely NOT a waste of time.  Playing video games with students builds bridges with students, allows connections to be made and build community. And through this very strategic evangelistic opportunity, they can help many students possibly hear about Christ for the very first time.

For instance, years ago when the PlayStation 2 was new and popular, we did a weekly event called PS2uesdays after school where we had food and played video games the entire 2 hours. It was an amazing opportunity for the student ministry leaders ad I to meet new students and develop relationships with them.

As great as video games are great for connecting with guys, they not just for nerds or guys anymore either. With the advent of games on your phones and, in particular Game Pigeon on iPhone, more and more average Joes AND girls are playing video games. It doesn’t look the same, but it is still helps accomplish the same thing – building relationships with students in order help students hear about and grow in a relationship with Christ.

What if you aren’t any good at video games? Don’t worry about it! Seriously, I am terrible at all these first person shooter games and I’m barely ok at Madden football. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to play and participating with students. We all laugh at how bad I am but the reality is you are still building community with students every time you play video games with them.

So, at the end of the day know this. It’s OK to play video games with students. In fact, it is more than OK. You should embrace it and use it for God’s glory. Yes, guy student ministers play videos games. I’m not particularly good at video games but I play them any ways.

So, what do you think? Do you play video games with students? How have you seen it benefit your ministry? Share your thoughts below or on social media using #ymsidekick as part of your tweet.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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