I’m headed up the Gamerscore mountain on my Xbox 360 this month – pleased to announce another 1,000 point increase in my Xbox360 Gamerscore. Quick letter-grade reviews of the games conquered to get the achievement increase over the holidays: Halo CE: Anniversary (A), Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (B+) and Joe Danger: Special Edition (B+).


Every fall several video games come out that have huge implications in youth ministry; this fall is no exception! The question is: are you aware of the power of video games? Here are a few stats you might not be aware of…

  • 65% of all US households play video games
  • 2 out of 5 gamers are female
  • 18 hours is the average time spent per week by gamers playing video games

So, if the majority of households in the US have video games, and 2 out of 5 gamers are female, and the kids who are playing games are on average spending 18 hours a week playing them, shouldn’t the church be a little more vested in them and tap their redemptive potential? Can video games teach us anything? Everyone does sermon series on movies, what if you did a series on video games?

Here are 4 titles that your kids will be playing and what you need to know about them:

Modern Warfare 3

And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. -Acts 2:42

For two weeks HSM is going to offer a unique way of having students give an offering.

We’re in the middle of a church-wide campaign that includes a significant offering component at the end. Pastor Rick has been talking quite a bit about Acts 2:42, the “sell their possessions and give to those in need” and sharing how in the early days of Saddleback people literally downsized their houses and gave the difference to the church. We’ve taken this verse very literally in the past, and while I love it, the application to the present-day life of teenager doesn’t seem very relevant.

So this weekend we’re going to launch what we hope is a very student-friendly, modern day take on Acts 2:42. While students can still literally tithe and/or give an offering in an envelope, we’re also going to let them bring in items to sell. Here’s the idea:

Want to participate in the offering but don’t have money? Here’s how: donate something of our own to the giving campaign. First get your parent’s permission, then bring in any item worth $50 or more and give it away at the eBay offering table. We’ll take each of the items and put them on eBay and find new owners for your stuff with all of the proceeds going directly to the campaign.

The opportunity to give will run for just 2 weeks, Nov 6/7 and 13/14 and students from the Oh Snaps! photography ministry will take pictures of the items as they come in and another student leader will help write up the product description. The whole process will be done by students and overseen by an adult, with 100% of the proceeds go to the 2020: The Future is Now offering.

When I announce it this weekend, I’m going to give away 2 things myself to the campaign: one that is easy to give away, and one that is more of a sacrifice. I’m going to give away my copy of Avatar: the Video Game for the Xbox 360. Easy, the game is average at best and I’ve already beat it. But I’m also going to give something away as a sacrifice, one that I’ll feel a little more: my brand new copy of Halo: Reach. I want to make sure students hear that we don’t just give out of abundance, but we give out of sacrifice as well. Why am I doing this again? Hahahha …

So we’ll see how it goes! Could be a total flop, but I think even just using this concept as a teaching point could be valuable for our students and might be worth it alone. If it takes off, it could be something really special.


My Xbox 360 should be very happy – after just posting that we hit the 37,000 mark we jumped 7 days later to 38,054. Spent some quality time with HALO: Reach (A+), Terminator: Salvation (B-) and GI Joe: Rise of Cobra (B-). And if you think I’m addicted … how awesome is this goal?


Father, today as our small group meets
I pray that each person will feel your heartbeat
May they know they are special, they’re cared for, they’re loved
Your kingdom come, on earth as above

Our time together, though not long only short
May it seed true communion with You in our hearts
Help us see Your image inside of each other
Teach us what it means to truly love one another

Away from the big, the loud, the flash
Just a few of us here to share and to laugh
To discuss Your Word, to share and go deeper
To talk real life and be our brother’s keeper

Praying for one another as we journey through life
May we encourage each other to reflect Your light
Let us always be inclusive, welcoming, and warm
A safe place for all in the midst of life’s storms

Lord we all come from a myriad of places
Give us wisdom and kindness and grace and patience
Thank you for unity in the midst of diversity
Make us one in Christ, true Christian community

Bless those abundantly who have opened their home
Upon their house, God we pray Your Shalom
May it be filled with laughter, with joy, and with vision
In return for their giving, God we pray Your provision

And let us, O Lord, never ever forget
That there’s someone else out there who has yet to connect
Your eyes and your mouth to see and invite
That not one, O Lord, would be alone in the fight

It’s a mystery to me why they seem to be Your preference
But amazingly in the end small groups make a great big difference
Life on life, Jesus you modeled it back then
So I’ll do the same, in Jesus name, Amen.

Kevin Mahaffy, Jr. is a poet and blog writer. Check out more of his stuff here: http://revkevjr.blogspot.com

A Glimpse Into Halo-ween

 —  November 2, 2009 — 2 Comments


Had a fun 4-hour niche event this weekend playing “Halo”ween. Here’s a video of the setup taken by one of our volunteers, and we even had a guest appearance of another as Master Chief. So much fun!


Been getting in some late-night HALO: ODST in – resulting in the breaking of another Gamerscore milestone. I’ve now accumulated over 29,000 points so far, despite playing only a little in the super busy youth ministry fall. So fun!



Why am I so excited for this event? The whole Refinery, filled with Xboxes.