Christians going to a convention for Geeks?
When you first read that question, some of you may have assumed the Christians at such a convention were your typical street preachers and protesters. You may have pictured individuals screaming “turn or burn” to crowds of geeky congoers. Perhaps you imagine people holding up signs listing various sins with the words “…shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” at the bottom in old English lettering and fire in the background. You envision people screaming expletives back at these would-be evangelists while making various vile gestures.
These thoughts bring various emotions and questions, some wondering if the scene described is even real. I can tell you from personal experience, it is. One of the very first cons I ever went to some of these very things happened. While waiting in line for the doors to open, I saw well-meaning street preachers approach and begin to “preach.” Some, yeah, they were well-meaning, and while the gospel message is offensive to the unrepentant, they were not doing it offensively. But then there were some, who were a bit louder, who used the offensive of the Gospel to be jerks towards those who came to meet their favorite voice actors and pick up a few comic books.
“You all are going to hell!” they would scream at the people.
The Bible belt-based crowd would, in turn, respond, “We know!”
Did anyone come to know the Lord that day? I honestly couldn’t tell you. But, I know a lot of people were turned away from the Lord that day. Many people walked away feeling like the church, and by extension, God hated them more than ever. Hope had not been offered, only condemnation. Some may argue that hope was offered “turn or burn” that’s hope. But, in that environment, people did not hear “there’s hope in Jesus,” all they heard was, “You’re disgusting, and the Lord hates you.”
Christians are mandated to go out in the world and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19) But when you look at the practical way it played out, it wasn’t done solely by street corner preaching. Was that done? Yes, absolutely, and I would never deny that. But what I also see is Jesus sitting and enjoying a meal with sinners. I see Him doing life with them and allowing the kindness of grace to draw all to the Father. I see Paul living his life in communities as a tentmaker so that he understands how best to communicate with those he’s called to minister among.
This is why Celeste and I begun Geek Devotions. This is why we have spent the last five years creating content designed to point those in the Geek Community to the love and hope of Jesus. This is why we had a table on the con floor of a recent convention. We weren’t there to scream and holler—we were there to be present, to show hope, to point people back to Jesus. While there, we were able to encourage congoers. Advise parents and loved ones who just “didn’t get it.” As well as pray with those who needed some prayer.
I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to connect with various other ministries who do the same in the last five years. People who stand on the con floor to preach Jesus through word AND action. People who have dedicated themselves to talking about Jesus and being an example of him (an ambassador, if you will) to those who are the con floor. You have ministries like Nerd Chapel, Geeks Under Grace, Love Thy Nerd, Faith and Fandom, and many more who work tirelessly to speak the language of a lost people group, and like Paul in Rome, point them back to Christ.
I’m even prouder of the Christians who go to cons as vendors. While they are there to make a living, they are doing their best to show Christ through godly business practices. For example, I met several who went out of their way to encourage the congoers and other vendors this past con. I even had the opportunity to meet with a group of vendors and one of the special guests to pray for God’s will to be done on the con floor. These people were living their lives just like the Apostle Paul. They put their hands to work to serve a community while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In years to come, I pray that when someone says, “Christians going to a convention for geeks?!” that their first thoughts will be that of people being the hands and feet of Jesus on the con floor, demonstrating His love, His grace, and power. I want people to have visions of humble men and women who geek out about comics and anime while keeping an eye open for opportunities to pray for folks. I want people to invision stacks of comics becoming momentary alters as vendors pray for congoers who need hope, peace, and salvation.
I’m thankful for the opportunities Celeste and I have had over the last five years. I’m thankful for the Devoted Geek Community who have formed around the Geek Devotions name. I’m grateful for the amazing connections we’ve made with other fantastic ministries. Beyond that… I’m thankful for others who have stepped into their own communities to be a light. Not everyone is called to Geek Ministry, but perhaps you are called to minister to cowboys, goths, construction workers, academics, or businessmen/women. Whatever your calling is, step into it and do it well, no matter what anyone says. Be the difference that your community needs. Be an excellent representation of Jesus.