Before I head off to the Christian Game Developers Conference the week after next, first came the Evangelical Ministry Assembly at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London, organised by the little charity I work for. This year’s theme was “connecting with culture”, and since I was stewarding I had the privilege of being in for most of the sessions. Lots of them were particularly relevant for me as I think about making Christian video games that seek to engage with people who perhaps wouldn’t normally open a Bible.

One of the speakers was David Wells who’s written a tonne of stuff on understanding our culture, which was all fascinating. There’s a brief summary of his first talk over on the Proclamation Trust blog. Here I want to talk briefly about a session that Vaughan Roberts did on the life of Francis Schaeffer, someone who did a brilliant job of connecting with the individuals he met.

Vaughan talked about four key components of Schaeffer’s way of dealing with people:

  1. Truth – a passionate commitment to capital-T Truth, something far more than head knowledge but something that really grips you and shapes the way you live and operate
  2. Engagement – giving honest answers to honest questions, and seeking to always understand the question behind people’s questions
  3. True Spirituality – keeping our relationship with God central rather than just going through the motions; our right doctrine and our desire for people to come to believe it should never be an end in itself – we want to introduce people to a living relationship with God
  4. Love – behind it all is a genuine love for the people that we meet, just as our Christian life is not about us as individuals but us as a loving church community. Church should not be merely functional (something I do) but relational (something I am)

It really challenged me as I thought about my game, Ebenezer – I need to constantly be checking that I’m not merely conveying information but that I’m trying to step into the shoes of those who will play it and try to engage with where they’re at and the questions that they’ll be asking. That’s the only way to guard against feeling ‘preachy’ – to show that you really understand what people care about, and seek to show how the Bible speaks into those issues.

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3 Responses to Connecting With Culture

  1. John says:

    Love, for me, has been a hugely important topic lately. Not only in our relationship with Christ, but also in how we interact with the people around us and how it informs my thoughts about video games and the way I want to build them. It’s the driving force behind a lot of my thinking lately. Which makes me wonder if A) it isn’t more key than we often realize and B) if I’m not a little slow for only catching this now.

    Either way, I really like the thinking from Roberts/Schaeffer. Good things to keep in mind.

  2. andygeers says:

    Big time. Thanks for your thoughts, John.

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