Minecraft Youth Group
Kids play video games and attend youth group at the same time
Remember the days when kids would have to choose between going to youth group or staying home to play video games? Well, in this age of social distancing, kids don’t have to choose!
A church in the Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove has moved its youth group over to Minecraft, the online video game phenomenon.
Yes, you read that right. A virtual-Minecraft youth group.
Anthony Lu, a leader of ConneXion, a youth group at South-West Evangelical Church, wondered how best to engage younger people during social distancing.
“We wanted youth to still be connecting with God and each other even though we are unable to meet physically.”
With youth group suspended, Lu and his fellow youth leaders realised Minecraft presented a unique opportunity.
“Minecraft just seemed to be the most appropriate activity for the target audience and would be something fun to try out during this time when people are home without much to do.”
Using Minecraft tools, they built a replica of their church to recreate the youth group experience.
“The meetings generally look like one hour for games [such as] obstacle courses and building, followed by a devotion.” – Anthony Lu, ConneXion youth group
For those Eternity readers for whom Minecraft is a foreign concept (like the author of this article), Lu – thankfully – provides a rundown of how it all works.
“[Minecraft] is a game where you move around in a block world and do stuff like build things and fight each other – which the youth seem to enjoy the most.”
ConneXion has been meeting virtually every Saturday night during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The meetings generally look like one hour for games [such as] obstacle courses and building, followed by a devotion.”
Now, you can probably wrap your head around games over Minecraft, but virtual devotions? How does that work?
“Everyone goes into the chapel and are given a book with the Bible passage on it… We are using Discord as a voice channel so everyone can just sit and listen in while following along on the Minecraft book.”
The appeal of Minecraft youth might be lost on many adults – though certainly not all! – but Lu’s young charges have embraced the concept of virtual youth group wholeheartedly.
“The boys of our youth group were quite enthusiastic, and I think it has been a good opportunity for our youth to bond during this time of isolation.”
Minecraft youth group is just one of many examples of everyday Christians who have used what they’ve got to better love their neighbours and serve their church during this COVID-19 time.
With talk of easing restrictions, Lu isn’t sure what the future of Minecraft youth group will look like, but he’s hopeful about its impact.
“I hope that a growing desire to seek God will emerge out of these times and that the church will be working hard to spread the good news of Jesus to those who don’t yet know him.”
Yet even though Lu’s church has found screens to be an effective way to connect with youth kids during a pandemic, the youth leader says the lesson from this pandemic is certainly not that virtual connection can substitute face to face time spent in a community.
“I think many people have come to realise, during this time of suffering, that there are more important things out there than just our own lives and whatever is on our screens.”