M. Joshua gets a bunch of dudes together in his house every two weeks or so and calls it GameCell. GameCell is a games-and-discussion ministry model set in your home. It follows the appeal of the Twitch and Let’s Plays but focuses on face-to-face relationships where listening to one another is the highest value.
Here’s what our crew did on Good Friday:
Do we learn to trust others just by spending time with them? And does that same idea apply to God? These questions guided our night as we explored Trust on a special Good Friday GameCell.
Team leaders showed up half an hour early eager to learn their roles.
Tim won the role of The Great Introducer. His task? Make our guests comfortable and break the ice with a question of his choosing. Greg transformed into Documentarian for the night as soon as he got a camcorder in his hands. Garrett reprised his role as Gamemaster. As always, he was eager to introduce our crew to the games and get a controller in their hands. Vince showed up with the snacks and automatically unlocked the Achievement, Snackbringer. And Tyler, most importantly, became our Dungeon Master; meaning he would assign the additional roles of Questioneer (one who asks the question) and Text Master (Scripture reader). We had great trust in his ability to pick the right people for the job. Garrett led in prayer for our evening.
Our crew arrived.
Alex Hively, Alex Carter, Mikey, Richie, Daniel, Josh, and Roberto will be familiar names if you’ve followed this series. But Wes showed up for a second time, this time in perfect time to be a part of our discussion.
Tim took right to his Great Introducer role:
What’s your name? And what game are you currently addicted to (or grinding in)?
Garrett talked about playing Fallout 3’s Tranquility Lane with his mom. Roberto briefly touched on his experience with Bloodborne. Mikey mentioned that he really loved Minecraft but that he was playing other games. Richie said he was playing American McGee’s Grimm (and Primal). Wes cited seven games that he was juggling for his Twitch audience. And Vince mentioned how he can’t stop playing Candy Crush Saga.
Tyler jumped to task as the Dungeon Master. He handed the first question card to Wes.
“Do you trust anybody? If so, why?” Wes asked.
Richie said he trusts people only when they earn that trust over time. Wes answered his question by saying that he trusts everybody until they prove him otherwise. He said that if somebody proves themselves untrustworthy, they probably won’t have his trust again.
Daniel got the next question card from Tyler.
“How does somebody gain your trust?” Daniel asked.
Roberto emphasized that trust is forged through trials. He talked about how when something terrible happens, you find out who your true friends are. Our crew seemed to agree that those who are tempered in the hard seasons prove themselves trustworthy.
Daniel asked the follow-up question that was on the back of his question card.
“How could God gain your trust?” Daniel said.
Wes started squirming in his seat and told us he was agnostic. I tried to make comfy by emphasizing that his voice mattered in this discussion and anything he wanted to say on the matter was valuable. Wes shared more of how he felt and how he still feels connected to pastors like Rob at Family Worship Center even though he doesn’t believe in God. Alex Hively shared that he felt in a very similar place to Wes.
Tyler said God got his trust by showing him that his ways are better than our ways. He likened it to trusting a Teacher or trusting your student peers. The teacher has the answers whereas the students can only speculate. Wes expressed how in his 3D animation school, students sometimes are better than teachers. So Tyler explained that the teacher-student gap he was talking about was more like Elementary school. We agreed with that and said that in high school, the students weren’t nearly as teachers as they thought either.
“Anybody know what holiday it is?”
The crew shouted answers. “Black Friday!” “Good Friday!”
I laughed and explained: Black Friday is something else. But it’s a potentially fitting name in some ways since it’s the day we celebrate Jesus’ death. It’s called good since he died for our sin and shame. So it’s a neat counter-cultural irony. Same with the cross, which was a symbol of peace through oppression and killing any threats to peace. Jesus subverted that symbol and made it an ironic symbol of love; taking what was used for oppression and using it as a demonstration of self-sacrifice that restores freedom. But that all leads to what happened three days later: resurrection.
Wes asked, “You mean what happened two days later, since Sunday is two days after Friday?” I didn’t have a response to that, but told him that I’d get an answer from him (which I did a few days later over Facebook).
I brought it back to the resurrection and asked the guys if they could imagine if we were all following Jesus around, watched him die, and then showed up later with holes in his body where he was pierced? “Wouldn’t you want evidence that it was him?” I asked.
Tyler handed the Text Master card to Alex Carter.
Alex read John 20:24-29:
One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
Tyler handed out the last card:
“Do you think you could be like Thomas and trust?”
Wes gave a firm yes.
Others said yes with confidence. But I didn’t quite catch all who said yes. I was a little distracted by something awesome taking place in Wes.
I pointed out how God invites us to walk with him to form trust: especially as He’s found in the Bible. Then we can be like Thomas and know He’s trustworthy.
Alex Carter concluded our discussion by praying us closed. While in prayer, somebody said something that distracted Alex. So he started praying for them. I started giggling and said, “Thank you, God for loving us despite our passive aggressive prayers. Aaaaamen!” Everybody laughed. Snack time.
Game Time: Trust Games Only
Garret reprised his Gamemaster role and introduced the games that build trust through teamwork:
- Tekken Tag Tournament
- Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale
- BaraBariBall (part of the Sportsfriends collection)
- Hokra (part of the Sportsfriends collection)
Wes got the most votes from our selection of guys who had only been there once. And it took a match or two for everybody to get how the game worked as it was so simple (one button, one control stick). But this simple team game of team keep-away (with a puck and end zones) turned fierce.
We passed-around the four controllers to new teams of two every three rounds. This made sure that everybody got a good feel of the game and got a turn.
Our crew loved it. They got very loud. It was as loud as any sports event. Sorry neighbors.
Hokra was an A+ team multiplayer game experience.
Roberto went next. He picked the game he brought:
Tekken Tag Tournament
We got teams of two set up. Roberto explained how to tag-out so that the team doesn’t lose (if one player gets beaten, the team loses). Roberto took it easy on everybody when he played, but not too easy. He did an excellent job of giving just enough information before throwing everybody straight into the game. Since there was over thirty playable characters, it took a bit of time for players to pick. But the game was an all-around success. Matches with some of the sillier characters got everybody to say things like, “Go Panda Man!” because they were fighting as a big panda.
The decibel levels weren’t any lower than the previous game. The excitement was maxing-out.
Tekken Tag was an A+ team fighting game experience.
We ran a little late with our game time since our discussion went a little long. Since we had a larger crew, it was 9:55pm when we finished our second game. Some of our crew left. But we had enough time for one more game. Many voices among our crew shouted:
Playstation All Stars (Battle Royale)
The loose team-goal for the evening was for a team of Fat Princesses to be a team of Kratoses. But since nobody really wanted to play as Kratos, we settled for two Dantes from DmC fighting two Fat Princesses. Garrett and I got two kills as a Fat Princess before losing a race to 5 kills. We switched options a bit and tried a few more team based scenarios. The winners were always whoever stockpiled all their super-energy and then went into Super form level 3 and just cleaned up the board. It didn’t make the game very intriguing or exciting.
Still, it was fun to play as Playstation characters even if the match goals lacked tension.
Playstation All Stars was a C+ multiplayer game to play.
‘Twas an amazing night as always. The sense of teamwork and trust was palpable. Our crew connected more. It felt like we’re really learning to gel as a crew. Til next time!
If you want to read more of M. Joshua’s GameCell beyond this, check out lovesubverts.com.