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Creating a Hobby Ministry — A How-To Guide

Where is the holy spirit moving in your life? In church? House groups? Your personal prayer time? I hope so, these are where you expect His presence. Bringing people together, giving them life and pointing them towards the truth of the Good News and Jesus. Now think about hobbies. They do two of the three. I firmly believe that God has brought us together through our hobbies and is just waiting for the right person to come along and make the links between scripture and the task you’re all enjoying. Is that person you?

It sounds like a big ask, like it’s something that you need a theology degree and years of training to achieve. But that’s the thing: It’s actually really simple. All you need to do is build friendships with people and wear your Christianity on your sleeve. This is called building relational ministry. The teaching can come later. It is important, but it’s not what’s needed to start with.

Going out into the world and meeting new people is called mission, which seems an odd word until you realise it’s what Jesus told us to do; it’s literally our mission.

He said to them, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone.” — Mark 16:15 NIRV

Many churches take that phrase of “preach the good news to everyone” and use that as the baseline to begin their mission from. How many events have you been to where the phrase ‘Can we just stop there for a second whilst we have our reading’ has been said? To some people if an event doesn’t have this then it’s not a church event. And to be fair, in the past when Christianity was more, for want of a better word, powerful in the West it did work. But it ignores how society has changed over the past years. We live in a world of fake news where people don’t trust experts or establishments any more. Instead they trust people they know, people whom they respect and are friends with. Those they have an existing relationship with.

I have found that mission works best when taken as a series of steps.

step 1: An event run by Christians for the community, with no overtly Christian content unless attendees ask for it. Step 2: A follow up event with some form of testimonials attached, giving people a chance to share why they are Christian. Step 3: A new event tha tuses aspects from the previous events to explore Scripture. Step 4: A new event that uses aspects from the previous events to worship God.

To start with, focus on step 1 and only move to step 2 when the attendees request it. Have a strict no preaching rule, because you are reaching people who aren’t Christians, and they will not appreciate it initially. Here’s the method I follow when setting up a new ministry.

1) Research
  • Begin by doing some research. Find out how many people are interested in the hobby you want to create your ministry around. This can be easy, as you probably already know many—it’s your hobby too. Doing this will make it easier to justify it to your elders/PCC/rector and to apply for any potential funding.
2) Scout
  • Find any local clubs that already exist covering the same hobby so you can choose a time that doesn’t clash with them.
  • Find a selection of venues you could use for it. This will allow you to figure out if you need an entry cost or not, and if necessary to run it with or without your church’s blessing. Though I would strongly advise gaining that if only for the spiritual support.
3) Plan
  • How are you going to provide the hobby? For my board game nights I provide a library of games from my own collection alongside ones provided for by a grant from the Scripture Union.
  • What Christian charities are out there that cater to the age range you will be targeting with the event? Contact them to see if they have any resources available for you, or if they’d be interested in giving a grant to you. If you don’t ask you don’t get!
  • Decide how long your event will last for. Will it need a tuck shop for refreshments? How long does it realistically take to fully enjoy your hobby?
4) Support
  • Go to your church leadership with your plan. Ask if they will support you and if you can run it as part of your church’s mission. If they don’t answer positively right away, ask them to pray for you and pray for your idea. This will enable them to reflect on it more, and you can broach the topic again in a month or so. This shows you are also working in God’s time, which is always the right thing to do. If they still refuse, and after the month of prayer you still feel it’s something God is calling you to do, then look into setting it up yourself, but still ask your church to pray for you. The spiritual support is so important!
  • Build a team of like-minded Christians to help you run it. It is possible to run it solo, but ideally you want more people who can share their reasons for believing in Jesus when it comes up in conversation (and trust me; it will).
5) Advertise
  • Create your advertising and put it up everywhere you can think of. Social media, posters in the local supermarket, libraries, hairdressers, churches… everywhere. Get it seen. It doesn’t need to focus on the Christian part of the event, either. You want people to come in. They’ll know it’s run by Christians when they see the church name attached to it. (editor’s note: Assuming you received clearance. If you’re operating without their blessing, don’t misappropriate your church’s name!)
6) Start
  • Run your event! Don’t worry if only one or two come; it will grow. Make sure the small handful enjoy it, and then the word will quickly spread.

Once your event is well established then you can start thinking about making new events that include testimonies or exploration of scripture. When you do, it is critical that you are clear in your advertisements that the events will contain that. Otherwise you risk undermining the trust you’ve built up with those who don’t feel ready for that step yet.


A brief note from your humble editor: If you decide to start a games ministry of some kind and want some CGG branding, we have a publicity package with logos that can be used on your own banners, flyers, letterhead, skywriting, etc. Too lazy to get it printed yourself? We also have a Cafe Press store with a few items. Proceeds from the store are used to support our convention ministry.

8 comments

  1. Steve Guziec says:

    Praise GOD!
    Phil 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”
    This article is awesome! So last night i kicked of a new gaming ministry! I’m streaming game play both video games and table top RPGs with the hope of expanding to maybe miniatures also. I was feeling a bit out on the edge and after reading your article I don’t feel as “out-there” as I did. Thanks be to God!
    I really appreciated all the steps. Step 1 spoke to my heart. I have been wrestling with going “full hoorah” in “preaching” the gospel and kind of felt like a fraud if I wasn’t speaking scripture right away.
    Thanks be to God for the writing and release of this article.
    Keep up the great work Stephen Taylor.
    In Christ’s love,
    Steve Guziec

    • I’m really glad it’s useful to you! Step 1 is so important but is often overlooked because we feel we need to constantly be telling people the Good News, but forget that it naturally comes across in how we act and in us doing things for the community. It is massively important but not the first step in this relational world we live in.
      It’s awesome that you’re streaming stuff! You’ll have to let me know where I can find you so I can follow you.

  2. wigwam2k3 says:

    Thank you for a useful article. Moving from 1 to 2 is the hardest part – one we want to rush but takes so very long.

    Most of my official ministry is levelled at step 1. I use and teach something called the Gray Matrix when getting people to think about their target group (usually in a media context.) It’s a tool to chart where people are in their relationship to your message (the gospel) – how open they are and how much they ‘know’. (If you’re interested loo at this page: https://thegraymatrix.org/)

    I encourage people to think seriously about plotting (defining) their audience using this tool because we so often use concepts and language for a group entirely different from the one we’re engaging with. This is due in large part because it’s second-nature language to us and is what our supporters/stakeholders understand. (And they pray for us and give us money!)

    But the ministry isn’t for us or them – it’s for the people – who have a different language, worldview and mindset.

    To move them from where they are to where we want them to be takes skill and faith – and we must always start from where they are.

    • Oooh I’ll have a look at that Gray Matrix it sounds interesting. Its definitely the case that we’re aiming to reach new people. Through modelling what christians actually look and act like, which ks often completely at odds to what their mental image is, it breaks those barriers down and they start to ask questions which then leads to them wanting to find out more.

      I’d also say that the terminology where we want them to be is slightly loaded. The aim of the stage 1 event is to give to the community, it’s a bonus if the community then want to know more about our Lord, but it isn’t the aim. Once we get to stage 2 that’s when that terminology can be used more.

  3. wigwam2k3 says:

    I use the terminology to suggest that there’s an attempt to make them more open to our message. This starts with gaining their trust. And this is built through breaking down the stereotypes they have of Christians and Christianity. I wouldn’t ever use the terminology with them. I agree, step one has no overtly Christian content unless raised by them. To the observer we are becoming like them – with the long-term goal of them becoming-like Jesus. But this is a looong way off. Concentrate on their likes, dislikes, dreams, fears, hopes, doubts, questions, epiphanies, and so on. Start from where they are and spend time there. Then move on. But as you point out, that’s steps two onwards.

    I’d like to consider how step one can be dug into a bit more. What should we consider when trying to getting to know them?
    Here are some considerations to start with:
    What interests them?
    What occupies their casual conversation?
    Where do they spend their time and money?
    What competing activities will vie for their attention?
    What worldview do they have?
    What pressures in life are they dealing with?
    What do they put their trust (faith) in – self? Career? Family? Happyness? Why?

    These questions and a whole lot more can assist us in staring meaningful conversations around the table or at the coffee station.

    Then when we show real empathy and concern for them, as well as sharing common enjoyment and hopes, etc, they will no doubt open up a bit. Once that happens, and they’re bold enough to ask us questions, or we gently prompt low-key discussions, we can start to move towards changing their attitude. Then, and only then, can we start to change their understanding.

    ((I hope I’m being clear in this and not coming across as ‘superior’. I just want to add some ideas to spark discussion and increase effective witness.))

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