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Some people will not appreciate this post because they think I am reducing youth ministry or ministry to a game. This series of posts are inspired by an article I read called: What Games Are by Tadhg Kelly  over on Tech Crunch. Students are not points on a score board, and should never be treated as such, but the weekly head count is one way we decide whether the youth meeting was a win. The danger, of a mental game like this, is that we equate God's blessing with the numbers, derive our self worth by those numbers, or define our competency as a minister by those numbers. Social Media apps like Foursquare or Get Glue give us badges for checking in or achievements for unlocking certain levels. Amazon gift certificate would be fabulous because there are so many deals to be had…. This is one of those fake viral images that you'd think everyone would recognize immediately to be a joke. That is not my intent but rather to make similarities between ministry and games or gaming.

You may be a rookie and working out the bugs of your ministry in the first quarter or you are like me, heading out of the locker room to start the third quarter of life and ministry. And yet, quite a few people seem to take it seriously, such as the people on this reddit thread where it was recently posted. It can be added to any photo one wishes, with customized headlines, such as in the examples below. As pastors, (and all Christians) we ought to take the gospel and our calling very seriously, but that does not mean we are aren't in some kind of game mode at some point in our ministry. Pack a pew, bring a friend get a __________ ( slice of pizza) bring the most friends get a __________ (car?). No matter where you are in the mix, if you are playing with passion and playing to win, you are playing "the game" correctly.
The point of this post is to help you decide what the "win" is your ministry and go for that. The big question in life, as in ministry, is "What is the WIN and how do I get it?" If we can define what the win is over all and the smaller wins along the way that lead to "the big win", then we will be much more focused and satisfied people and ministers.

Contests, and the like, are part of the Youth Ministry landscape and are neither good or bad, but they are part of gaming in your ministry. According to reports, Peyre has been dating Swedish pop singer Dhani Lennevald for a number of years, and he's not the guy in the photo, nor is he a $181 million lottery winner.
If you'll take this post for what is is, the rantings of a crazy man, and not a theological treatise your head won't explode and ruin your day.
If you want to see a game without winners and losers start your own Upward Basketball Channel.

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