[notice]Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). In this monthly column, Jacob McMillen examines what it means for men, young and old, to father abundant life in their families, communities, businesses and churches.[/notice]
Jesus came to bring abundant life!
At Georgia Southern University (GSU), college minister Kevin Williams is partnering in that vision by bringing community and support to one of the most unreached student segments on college campuses: the video gamers.
What do I mean by “unreached”?
Video gamers (not casual — playing 4+ hours per day), particularly on college campuses, have very little offered to them in the way of community or support. Colleges typically don’t offer activities catered to their interests. On-campus social groups often ignore or ostracize them. Churches are often clueless about how to reach them, and since gamers tend to be more introverted, they typically won’t seek out help when it’s needed.
While many gamers engage in online communities, virtual connection lacks the emotional and practical support only real-life community can offer.
These students have all the same needs as any other student segment — they deal with the same emotional issues; they need community; they need help with school work and career planning — but often, there is no one there to support them.
Southern Collegiate Gaming
After working for several years as part of an on-campus college ministry, Kevin noticed this need in the gaming community. In response, he started Southern Collegiate Gaming (SCG) to bring community and support to gamers at GSU.
This organization is centered around League of Legends, an online player-verse-player game with over 67 million global players!
SCG has grown to over 50 members in just one year, hosting several teams that compete in League of Legends tournaments against teams from other campuses.
The community is growing and Kevin has been contacted by tournament hosts about overseeing expansion and has even been asked to speak to other teams about life and teamwork.
But the biggest testimony comes from the students themselves:
When I talked with Kevin about what ministry means to him, he shared this:”Ministry is not about cool things to do. Ministry is not about targeting a specific group of people. Ministry is not about a good business structure. Ministry isn’t even about how well you can tell people about Jesus. Here’s what a student of ours had to say about SCG. This is, I believe, what ministry is all about: ‘The people that have joined SCG have become my friends, and through the trials of the rift on League of Legends and even some trials in life we have become comrades. Brothers.
‘I was alone and struggling in life until someone reached out to me and asked if I wanted to help him form a League of Legends team on campus. I was uncertain at first, and there was a lot of almost-but-not-quite that first year, we struggled to get it off the ground and get a meaningful movement going behind us. We pulled together and organized under a different name. We brought people into the fold and expanded. There were others out there like I had been.
‘Lonely. Stressed. In need of friendship and support.
‘We reached out to them and they came. We have a club size of around 50 at the time I’m writing this and sometimes I have to hide away for a minute when I get overwhelmed at the sheer amount that has been accomplished in so short a time. Fifty people banding together to support each other. All centered around a game that we shared close to our hearts.'”
That is what Esports is bringing to men and women around the world.
Community. Friendship. Support. Guidance.
That is what it means to be a member of Southern Collegiate Gaming.
“This moves my heart and stirs up a passion inside of me! ‘Lonely, stressed, and in need of support’ – if you can imagine being away from home for the first time in a foreign area and having the stresses of life to deal with. There are about 26 000 students on Georgia Southern’s campus that are feeling this.”
“Ministry is revealing Jesus to those in need. I feel called to do this by tending to the wounds, the stresses, the pains, the aches, and the many emotional hurts that life has thrown at these 18-22 year olds. My goal is to create environments that bring the Healing Power of the Holy Spirit into students’ lives. We’ve seen kids go from depressed and failing their classes to thriving in every area. I feel like the entire purpose of ministry is to bring healing and real, Biblical transformation into people’s lives.”
One of the visions God put on Kevin’s heart was to rent out a house at low-cost to members of SCG, allowing for even more personal connection and deeper community.
Over the last few months, they were able to raise an incredible $7 500 to make this happen!
Kevin is currently working full time in ministry to bring abundant life to students on GSU. In addition to SCG, he is involved in reaching basketball players on-campus and is helping equip local churches to better engage with college students.
He needs $1 000 per month on an ongoing basis in order to cover his expenses and continue in full-time ministry. If you’d like partner with Kevin in his work at GSU, click here to contribute.