What if we made discipleship a game?
I want this blog to focus on helping church leaders execute with excellence. I try to focus on practical ideas, tips and tools to make the life of church leadership easier. This week I’m diverting from my normal approach and talking about three ideas that I don’t think any church is doing . . . yet.
“Status quo, you know, that is Latin for ”the mess we’re in.”” – Ronald Reagan
This week I’m attempting to ask questions that might be really stupid . . . but I do think that somewhere inside the craziest idea can be a nugget of helpful insight that could possibly help the local church jump the curve and break through to increased effectiveness.
Today’s idea might be high on the crazy scale.
There are a 100 million people in the US and UK who play social games. They farm their virtual farms . . . build their online mafias . . . and even build mouse traps to catch virtual mice. A bit of a profile of the people who play these online games:
- The vast majority (95%) of social gamers play multiple times per week; nearly two-thirds (64%) play at least once a day.
- When asked to choose as many reasons as they wanted for playing social games from a lengthy list, social gamers cited “fun and excitement” as the most popular motivation (53%). Stress relief (45%) and “competitive spirit” (43%) were next most popular respectively, followed by “mental workout” (32%) and “connect with others” (24%).
- Word-of-mouth is the most common way that social gamers hear about new social games; 57% of social gamers rely on a recommendation or in-game alert from a friend while 38% said they learn about new games from ads on social networking sites and 27% cited standard Web searches as a source of information on new social games.
What if we transformed our websites into “social games” rather than “media players”?
What if took our cues from the social game space and rewarded people for interacting with us online? What if we built up social goods for them as they participated with us?
- Watched 15 messages online? You get the “Message Guru” badge in your status stream on facebook.
- Signed up for a Life Group? You’ll get an extra 100 points!
- Register for the parenting seminar? You get an exclusive coupon for the family restaurant down the street from the church.
- Volunteered this weekend? You can check and see how many credits that added towards your progress bar! Only 50 more hours needed and the teaching pastor will come over to your house and make dinner!
Here some links for further fermentation on this whole area. [Harvard Press on Social Games] [Great blog post from Joel Auge – an industry leader in social gaming about what’s happening at his company] [Virtual worlds are making real money]
What do you think? A nutso idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts! [Comment now.]
Drop back on Friday . . . where we’ll talk about an idea that could help multisite churches reach more people. Or could just a really bad idea.