I spent the New Year’s visiting my friend Tanner the photographer in Seattle. Tanner just launched a project of his own; a year-long endeavor to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking through photography. Spending a few days travelling gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned already from running this site, as well as a chance to look to the future and imagine what this next year might hold. I wanted to take a moment and share some of my vision for Follow and Engage in 2012.
On New Year’s eve, Tanner hosted a huge event to promote his project. A 10,000 square foot warehouse, 60 huge prints of his work, 11 musicians performing throughout the night; he went all out to raise awareness for something that he’s deeply concerned about. Working with him in the days leading up to the big night, I had a realization that what I’m doing isn’t so different: I’m raising awareness too.
I’m raising awareness for something that I’m deeply concerned about. That is, that the Christian church at large has severely neglected to reach out to the gaming community. 183 million Americans play video games and Christians in general should be more interested in the medium than they currently are. It has enormous influence in people’s lives already, and as gaming experiences continue to grow more immersive, that influence will continue to grow too.
One of the ways I plan on raising more awareness this year is by pushing to have articles published in prominent Christian venues. It was encouraging to have a piece published just before the end of the year by RelevantMagazine.com, (If you haven’t seen it, check it out.) but I believe that’s just the beginning. I’m praying for more open doors and more influence and I’m praying that God would help me to be faithful with what he’s given me now so that he can give me even more in the future.
You know, I wrestled with it over the holidays, this whole games thing.
I mean how awesome is it that my friend Tanner is doing something to prevent human trafficking? That’s something that everyone cares about, myself especially. Compared to freeing people from literal, physical slavery, oppression, and abuse, games somehow seem unimportant, petty. Wouldn’t my time be better spent elsewhere?
But I started thinking about why I got into this in the first place. It wasn’t out of some sort of desire to rationalize my own gaming fixation, (I actually had to coax myself back into playing games). It was out of a sense of calling. Long story short, I remembered that this whole gaming thing wasn’t just something that I cooked up because I was bored, it was actually something that I believe God himself led me into. It might not be the easiest path, because it means doing something that most Christians don’t yet understand, but I have to trust that God has a plan, and he has me doing this for a reason.
If you, as a friend or simply a stranger with a piqued curiosity, are interested in supporting my efforts, there are a couple ways that you can help.
One. Easy, follow @followandengage on Twitter! This will help you with:
Two. Keep up with what I’m doing, check back regularly! This in turn will enable:
Three. Tell everyone you know. Retweets, Facebook likes, personal recommendations, etc. We’re creating awareness together! Especially when I have articles published elsewhere, if I can get a lot of support in the form of comments and social media sharing, it will make it much easier to get republished.
Something else worth mentioning is that I plan on completely redesigning the site in the near future, moving to a much more aesthetically-pleasing, picture filled theme. I actually want to buy a premium theme for around $40, but am a bit low on funds, if you’re interested in helping me purchase it, well, I’m sure we can work something out…
Finally, if you’re still here, go check out the newly redesigned “Resources” page. I think it’s starting to capture the heart of what I really want this site to become, a resource for Christians interested in engaging the world of video games.
As always, much love to you all. Have a wonderful weekend.
Photo: “The Shack and Road” by Tanner Wendell Stewart