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These Adventist Gamers Are Building a Minecraft Ministry

On February 8, the official Adventist Church Facebook page shared a post highlighting One Accord: The Guild, “an Adventist server for gamers and creatives.” Currently sitting at 1,700 reactions, 543 comments, and 790 shares, the post carries a disclaimer that the organization is not affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The post caught my attention, as it’s uncommon for the official church page to share an unaffiliated organization’s content.

I reached out to One Accord: The Guild to learn more, and the organization responded with an informational video. The unlisted YouTube video describes One Accord’s origins as well as its mission. In an increasingly digital world, it aims to reach a particular group of people: gamers.

“There are a lot of different types of gamers,” says Marae Hoover, One Accord director, in the October 2020 video. “There are a lot of people who are quite lonely—people in my situation who were really sick and they needed a community, an online community.” One Accord’s goal is to create a space where people from all over the world may come together and experience a spiritual connection with God while gaming.

While this idea came about during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, One Accord remains focused on reaching the gaming community. “Of the 7 billion people in the world, 4.6 are internet users, and more than half, 2.6, are active gamers,” says Jay Razzouk, a lawyer who also serves as a producer for the organization. “In the United States, 60% game daily.” One Accord recognizes that the gaming community is often unreached by the church. In their eyes, providing Christ-centered gaming allows the opportunity to minister to people where they are found.

In providing streaming content through YouTube and a growing online community through the social media app Discord, One Accord hopes to create interest in small groups and Bible studies. Its Discord server is used by more than 777 people from around the world, where members can browse a wide variety of channels and connect with others via text. The server isn’t only for conversations about gaming or God, as it also includes channels for conversations centered around memes, foodies, animal friends, and Bible chats.

One Accord has adopted a policy to guide their playing and streaming choices:

Computer and board games, like all other forms of media, are a tool that can be used for good or evil. However, we recognize that computer games, by their nature or by design, often have the potential to be highly addictive. Games also are often designed to feature, portray, or teach that which is contrary to love, goodness, and God. It is therefore important that a person exercise wisdom to discern whether and to what extent a game can appropriately be played.

The One Accord: The Guild website highlights videos, events, and social media channels. 

Super Build Sunday

In addition to providing spaces for conversation, One Accord also hosts events such as Super Build Sunday, which was held on February 12. The event aimed to build a 1:1 scale city of Jericho using the popular online game Minecraft.

I attended Super Build Sunday to see firsthand how the One Accord community interacts as a whole. Starting at around 10 a.m. PST, Discord moderator @andiroo42 began the session with a devotional thought, focusing on Exodus 31 and the idea of building. After a quick prayer, he explained to Minecrafters joining in how they were going to build the city of Jericho. Three other moderators streamed at the same time: @completelynx, @unbroken144, and @faithsapling. The moderators explained that the city was not an exact replica, but they were using archaeological resources to try to guess what most of it would look like. Much of the city was already laid out—the exterior wall was built, as well as the interior wall. During this live session, they aimed to build the more affluent part of the city, in addition to some other tasks.

About 12 people joined on Discord and another 10 joined on YouTube, coming and going throughout the event. The moderators continued a lively conversation throughout the live broadcast, talking about favorite Bible stories, sharing current favorite songs, and giving tips on how to build on Minecraft.

Super Build Sunday: Jericho. The area in red was the part of the city planned for February 12. (YouTube Screenshot at 7:09)

One key point the moderators emphasized during the live broadcast was why Minecraft was the perfect game for building community. Minecraft is very similar to Legos in that it allows people to come together and build worlds, and gamers can collaborate to create locations and Bible stories.

After three hours of live streaming and collaborating, the group called it a day. Jericho was not quite finished, but plenty of progress was made building streets, a temple, and other buildings.

Aerial View of Minecraft Jericho at the end of Super Build Sunday. (Image from One Accord: The Guild Facebook page)

The moderators announced that they hope the city will be built in two more building sessions. In true biblical fashion, once the walls fully come up, they will also come down.

As a gamer myself, I appreciate the many ways gaming can bring people together. I enjoy discussing storylines, art choices, and music in video games. One Accord’s novel approach to ministry through gaming is likely to catch many other gamers’ attention. Hopefully, as they reach the unreached, they create a space where not only Adventists feel they belong but all gamers, too.

Raquel Mentor is the associate digital editor of Spectrum.

Title image by Raquel Mentor.

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