How To Connect With The Next Generation
As a Christian rap artist I travel a lot, so some time ago I took up playing video games as a way to disconnect and relax when I come home.
At the beginning of last year, I was introduced to a game called Fortnite. It was different than other games I was playing, like Call of Duty (C.O.D.) and Assassin’s Creed, because it had more of a cartoon feel. I didn’t get the hang of it at first but I love first-person shooter and gunslinger type games, so I stuck with it.
As the day went by I found myself struggling to make headway on this new game. I learned rather quickly that it was different from other games I played because you had to find weapons on the map for both offense and defense. Plus, you have to cut down trees to get wood and other resources such as metal and brick for building walls and forts to defend yourself from people attacking you and your team.
Another different aspect about this game is the demographic. Other games I enjoyed drew a more adult crowd (I was even apart of an adult C.O.D. small group at one point). However, in Fortnite you will find yourself on the mic with 13-year-olds and younger.
Fortnite has a solo mode or team modes called duo or squad (for four players). After struggling for a day on solo, I decided to join a squad to hopefully learn the logistics of the game.
When I played with my new team, I noticed that every team we played kept landing in the exact same location, the “Tilted Towers”. It is kind of like an NYC subway where everybody lands and is cluttered with people trying to get where they need to go.
Fortnite’s map is designed for 100 people with 20 or more locations, but the Tilted Towers is extremely crowded so I kept dying really fast. As time went on I got a little frustrated with how quickly other players were killing me.
After five or more games, I got on the mic and asked, “Yo, why does everybody keep landing at Tilted Towers? Everybody is there!”. Then, somebody on my squad responded, “it’s the only way you get better”.
IMMEDIATELY it made sense. Landing in this location forced me into instant combat with other players.
It required me to work on my building skills. It pushed me to work with my teammates.
I recently moved from Oklahoma to Texas. Both states are considered to be a part of the Bible Belt, but in the last few years, I have seen a culture shift of disinterest in the church by people living there.
Neighborhoods are changing and forcing pastors to connect with people they traditionally never had to in the past, and youth pastors are now preaching to more unchurched students. With all these changes it may be easy for pastors to get frustrated or confused about where they are landing.
However, before we start judging a generation for falling away from the church, let’s ask ourselves, “Are you landing in the crowded areas that will make you engage with people who are the future of the church?”.
This new landscape will force you to see people as humans who genuinely desire relationship and community. For far too long, the Church has used flashy lights, cool buildings, and slick graphics as a crutch for connection. Instead, just go where the people are.
The game is different now.
We’re living in a land where it’s impossible to grow if you attempt to avoid the crowds because after all, it’s in the crowd where you learn to get better.
Christian Music Artist