Every generation finds a way to neglect their children. These days, kids sit in basements and bedrooms using tablets and laptops to access the internet throughout the day and night. Most parents don’t have a clue what’s going on, while yet believing they are good parents, because they provide their kids with food, clothing, and technology.
My sons got me into Minecraft, a cross-platform multiplayer video game. A year ago, we launched our own Minecraft server. Since then, we have hosted over 800 players from around the world. Most of these players are boys and girls aged 9 to 15.
Minecraft players are explicitly identified only by their in-game nickname and their player skin (a wrap of pixels over the generic player body). They are able to publicly and privately chat with other players on the server.
We have a team of volunteer staff members. Many of them are Christians, and two of them even attend our church.
Kids don’t have the hang-ups that adults have, and they are open-minded. I have not yet found a single kid who refuses to talk about God. There are many ways to initiate this conversation with a young person, but one easy way on our server is when one of them tries to type “omg” into the chat and finds that it is auto-translated into “*gasp*.” They usually react by typing, “Why can’t I say *gasp* on this server?” The conversation naturally continues from that point.
The players on our server know that I am an adult, and I find myself overwhelmed with kids messaging me within Minecraft, as well as on Instagram and Hangouts. I’ve spoken to Muslim kids, agnostic kids, Christian kids, and Jewish kids from all over the world. We talk about everything from the Bible, God, the Christ, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Passover, video games, suicide, parental rules, law, good deeds, faith, and righteousness.
Most commonly, though, I find myself telling them to brush their teeth, say their prayers, and go to bed.
“Go and catch the children. There is no law against it; all is fair in war against the devil.”—Charles H. Spurgeon