Matt Richtel of the New York Times recently published a critical article against Churches who use the popular game "Halo" to reach young adults and teens. You can follow the link to story if you like, but to summarize, Richtel feels that churches are using the game to "recruit" young congregates. The fact that the game is rated M and that the required age to purchase "Halo" is 17, should prevent any church from promoting or holding any such youth event. I disagree to an extent.
Men (and teenage boys or just regular boys)bond best by doing things together. Things like sports, watching movies, or playing video games, are essential activities for males to be able to share experiences and relate with one another. A group of guys from my church (Newbridge Community) get together every so often for a similar event. While it is not hosted specifically for by the church and we do not invite anyone under 18, it is a great time and makes it easy to invite a friend to who may not normally do the whole "church thing." If I invite a friend to "Halo Night" (some swearing, sometimes there's beer) and most of the other guys there all attend church regularly, my friend may come to realize that being a man who goes to church doesn't mean you lead an uninteresting or unexciting lifestyle. Plus, it gives him a way to relate and befriend those other guys. It would make it all that much more easy on me to invite to come to service someday.
While I do not like calling the event a "recruiting" tactic, I do agree with Richtel about the age situation. All three of the "Halo" games are rated M and for good reason. Any church that is going to sponsor and promote a "Halo" event should do so only for those who are ages 17 and older. Otherwise, hold a game night for minors with other game titles that are widely accepted for all ages.
Is it wrong for a church to promote an event based around such a violent video game? I don't feel that it's wrong. Church has been promoting the Bible for ages and it's the most violent thing I've ever read and yet, God has been using to improve my quality and experience of life every day.
Posted by Chase Roper