Thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions.
Where did ‘Geeks Under Grace’ come from? How did it begin?
Geeks Under Grace was made by geeks for geeks. The founder, Drew Koehler is a gamer himself and he wanted to reach his people with the Gospel. After making something a game review site called Cross Console Gamers, he realized that the same people who were into video games were also into all sorts of other things in pop-culture such as comics, movies, anime, etc. So, he made Geeks Under Grace and it blew up. It now has about 60 volunteers and each volunteer is authentically a geek who shares the same passion as Drew to reach their people, the geek people with the message of Jesus.
What is ‘Geeks Under Grace’? What is it that you do?
We are an official 501-c3 Non Profit. The mission of Geeks Under Grace is to bridge the gap between pop-culture and the church.
It can be broken down by saying we:
EDUCATE Christians on how to safely consume pop culture from our worldview.
EVANGELIZE geeks with the message of the Gospel by building bridges between Jesus and the geek community.
EQUIP Christians and churches to reach geeks with the Gospel.
ENCOURAGE Christians as they grow into a deeper relationship with Christ.
For example, the website houses all of our reviews of different video games, movies and everything else in pop-culture. Each review is critiqued objectively and given a content guide so that Christians can safely decide what games they will enjoy and which games they need to stay away from on account of their spiritual walk. We also provide Bible Study curriculums based on popular movie releases. They are free print outs you can use to take a group out, watch the newest blockbuster, and come back to talk about what Biblical themes the movie showcased. Pop-Culture like any other art, is a reflection of the world around us, albeit abstract most times. The world around us was woven by God and so even when it’s unintentional of the artist, most pieces of Pop-Culture have God’s story woven into them as well.
We also go to pop-culture conventions to do outreach. We just let geek culture know that they deserve Christ just as much as anyone else. We do this through renting booth spaces, or press passes where we interview big names in the industry and get to tell them about Jesus.
“Geeks” are typically portrayed as socially awkward, comic book-reading, glasses-wearing, science-loving, people that play World of Warcraft in their parents basement and don’t often see daylight. What do you think is a better definition of what a Geek really is?
Above, you’ve seen me use the word “pop-culture” a lot. It’s crazy to me that geek culture and pop-culture are now synonymous because it wasn’t always that way. Video games have become more mainstream, Superhero movies are the big blockbusters, even anime is on the rise. I think a geek is anyone who is a fan of something in pop-culture. It makes it one of the biggest demographics in North America.
Video Games, Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, and Comic Books are bad aren’t they? Should Christians be involved with these things? Can they be dangerous?
Yes. Wanted the answer to catch you off guard. To refuse to believe that pop-culture affects who you are is just unwise. I mean it has culture in the name! And culture by definition, defines who we are. The problem here is to assume that it affects everyone the same. Someone who has violent tendencies, should probably stay away from violent games if it makes them feel like being violent. I suppose magic works just the same here. If playing D&D makes you want to actually perform acts of witchcraft, then you need to back off of it as a Christian. Now, those examples may seem silly but the realest one for most is sexual immorality. It’s everywhere and it easily triggers sin within you. On the other hand, even though all the things you listed have bad things in them, they can also have very good and even edifying things in them. I mentioned above that God’s story is interwoven into all of these things. If we can keep a focus on Him, then these types of things can actually be celebrated and used to bring glory to God. It’s what excites me about our Bible Study curriculums because we are actually practicing what we preach with those. When checking something new out, always ask yourself where your motives are at. If you get excited when the content guide for Game of Thrones says “Nudity” it may be time to back away and get your mind right.
Geeks have often had a tough time within the church, whether they feel outcast, lonely, or in some cases shunned, what do you find is the reason for that?
I think the church’s “war” on D&D and Harry Potter back in the day really stuck with people. Nobody knew back then that it would grow to be this culture we have today. I really think a schism has been created between two cultures because of a lack of understanding from both sides. Geeks think the the Church hates them which isn’t the case but also I’ve come to learn that the Church often thinks geeks are all militant Atheists who hate the church! Which is not the case either. Stigmas have been created by stereotyping and a lack of communication. We hope that Geeks Under Grace opens that conversation back up.
How can churches reach the geeks? Are there resources available to help?
Our Bible Studies are an easy one but we hope that we ourselves can be a resource. We’ve done articles such as how the Church could benefit from Pokemon Go when it came out. We also get and welcome messages from Pastors asking how to set up a game night for their youth or more information on pop-culture topics that are on the rise.
What about in our congregation, how can we best minister to, and encourage them? How can we assure that they feel included and have a place in our church?
I don’t think there is much that can be done here. Events like a game night or something will always be great but as far as church goes, just be welcoming. Off handed comments about Video games being childish and such hurts. Just being more accepting will go a long way.
What’s next at ‘Geeks Under Grace’? Is there anything currently in the works?
We’re going to a few conventions but nothing major for the next couple months. Keep an eye out though. We’re planning an event sometime this summer that should be a lot of fun. I’m not allowed to say much more than that but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and you’ll be able to join just by having an internet connection. We’re always working on improving what we already do as well.
What do we do if we want to support your ministry? How can we get involved?
Geeks Under Grace has grown through sharing. People telling others how genuinely excited they get that we exist has made what we do explode. The biggest way you can help right now is donating. We are an official 501-c3 non-profit and financial resources have really been our kryptonite the last couple years. Anything you can give helps. You can go to www.GeeksUnderGrace.Com/Donate if you feel led to do so.
Again thank you for taking time to answer some questions for us. I personally have been a fan of what you guys are doing for a couple years now. I am glad there are like-minded christians out there that we can fellowship with and relate to.
Thanks for having me.
Check out Geeks Under Grace