“Jesus loves you.  Take our stuff.”

Despite what people may think, there are a ton of Christian gamers at GenCon.   The Christian Gamers Guild has a continual presence (as well as church service).  A newer presence made their debut this year, creating a buzz about themselves, both positive and negative.  Handing out t-shirts, popcorn, and a version of the Gospel of John written for gamers, GameChurch.com knows how to enter a room.  So I sat down to chat with its founder, Mikee Bridges.

What led you to found GameChurch?

Mikee:  I’ve been in fringe ministry for a really long time.  We like to do stuff that’s a bit controversial.  We were doing music as our workspace.  And in one of the venues we had constructed, we had a gaming room.  The next venue we built, we put in 31 such rooms.  We started doing what we called Game Church on Thursday nights, just a kind of Christianity 101, hanging out with people.  It grew and we wanted to take it national.

You spent 2010 going to all of the video game expos and saw no one doing it there.  You called your appearances really successful.  How do you define being successful?

Mikee:  We thought we’d get laughed or thrown out.  Instead we got major press and gave out 3,000 Bibles.  We’re not shoving it in people’s faces.  They are coming up to us asking “what is this?”  We’re not trying to sell anything or have an agenda.  We’re just saying “Jesus loves you.”  It’s no different than me saying “my mom loves you.”

If you were to boil the Gospel message down, what would it sound like?

Mikee:  That Jesus loves you.  And to be reminded of that.  Not the American, western version of Jesus.  I think where we get a bad rap is when we take it too far.  We don’t want to just say “Jesus loves you” but we want to “convert” them, change them, control them, and judge them.  It’s not our job to be the morality police.  Who am I to say what you should and shouldn’t do.  “Jesus loves you” is the message and then God takes control.

I’ve seen popcorn.  I’ve seen t-shirts.  I’ve seen these mini-Bibles.  What’s the thinking behind the sort of methods you guys use?

Mikee:  It’s really a tongue in cheek thing.  We like to use irreverent things and joke around.  We have legitimate content from the gaming industry on our website and also doing parodies and viral videos.  It brings people in, folks think we’re funny, and wonder how we could be Christians.  Some people come up thinking that we’re making fun of God.  In both of those cases, a dialogue gets started.

Where do you think the “controversial” aspect of your ministry comes from?

Mikee:  We get way more controversy from other Christians.  I had a guy come up to me yesterday and say I really like your concept, but it’s hard for me because of your imagery.  It’s a giant picture of Jesus with a hand control and a headset.  (Besides the fact that Jesus probably looked more like Said from Lost than this blond haired, blue-eyed version).  But we use it because it draws attention.  People come up taking pictures and asking questions.

How do you think you’ve been received?

Mikee:  We’re stoked.  Every once in a while you’ll get that person that has that uneducated opinion, that judges you immediately and walks off.  I offered one of our neighbors a couple of bags of popcorn.  On it, it says “what would Jesus do?  Give out popcorn, duh.”  He just looked at the Jesus part of it and said “no, thank you.”  It’s weird and hard for me because I’m not out to convert you, just tell you that “Jesus loves you.”  That’s all.  If it said “my mom loves you” he probably would have taken it.  That’s what I want to deconstruct.