Jesus and Joysticks: Why the Church Should Stop Making Fun of Video Gamers

Video games have grown from a niche industry to one that generated more than $108 billion in revenues in 2017—yet video gamers are a popular target of Christian angst and aggression.

I’ve seen prominent and not-so-prominent pastors portray video gamers as stereotypical, lazy college graduates. These video game players refuse to get a real job. They live at home in their parents’ basement and never take responsibility. We need men to grow up. This may elicit chuckles and high-fives from some, but it may also hurt a faithful family in the church or keep a visitor from ever coming back.

 

Church leaders could be insulting more than half of the homes in their congregation and community without even realizing it.

That’s exactly what happens when you malign people simply because they play video games in their spare time.

Video games have grown from a niche industry to one that generated more than $108 billion in revenues in 2017—yet video gamers are a popular target of Christian angst and aggression.

I’ve seen prominent and not-so-prominent pastors portray video gamers as stereotypical, lazy college graduates.

These video game players refuse to get a real job. They live at home in their parents’ basement and never take responsibility. We need men to grow up.

This may elicit chuckles and high-fives from some, but it may also hurt a faithful family in the church or keep a visitor from ever coming back.

Who Plays Video Games?

You may think all video gamers are teenagers or college guys, but you’d be wrong.

According to the Entertainment Software Association’s latest annual report, 65 percent of U.S. households have at least one frequent gamer.

The average age of a video game player is 35, with gamers 18 and older representing 72 percent of the gamer population.

A video game player is almost twice as likely to be an adult woman (31 percent of gamers) than a boy younger than 18 (18 percent of gamers).

The average male who plays video games is 33 years old. The average female is 37.

Instead of a college guy playing in his dorm, the gamer in your church might be the stay-at-home mom who plays during her kids’ naptime.

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