My favorite Star Wars game ever is TIE Fighter. TIE Fighter is a space simulator that allows the player to advance through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. I spent countless hours in front of my friend’s PC, joystick in hand, flying through space and blasting Rebels into oblivion.
Sadly I still haven’t figured out how to play TIE Fighter on my modern PC. I miss trying to impress Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Emperor, all while taking on a Mon Calamari Cruiser in a TIE Interceptor. However, last week I got the TIE Fighter experience from a tabletop game.
My youth pastor friend Ryan (who blogs at Bald Wisdom) introduced me to X-Wing Miniatures Game. It’s supremely nerdy with miniature fighters from the Star Wars universe, eight-sided dice and a complicated set of rules. As nerdy as it was, though, it was even more fun to play.
I won both games we played, but that’s not what made playing so much fun (though it didn’t hurt). I had so much fun because I was able to hang out with a friend and get to know him better.
For some reason, I find it difficult to get along with other youth pastors. Whenever youth pastors get together we always end up playing the comparison game.
“How big is your group?”
“What sort of programs are you running?”
“How much longer until you move onto something else?”
Instead of supporting and encouraging each other, we end up looking for ways to feel better about our own ministries and abilities. As much as I hate to admit it, I play the comparison game as much as anybody else. Though instead of feeling better because of our group size, I feel better because I don’t care as much about group size as others.
It’s all a game and it’s all terrible. Youth pastors shouldn’t feel threatened by other youth pastors. We need to support and encourage each other because youth ministry can be hard. Sure, there is a lot of pizza and screwing around, but there can also be angry parents and disinterested students. Instead of seeing each other as rivals who need to be topped, we need to see each other as coworkers who need to be loved.
Which is why I loved playing X-Wing Miniatures Game. The only competition was on the playing field and no one left discouraged at the end (at least I didn’t because I won). That’s why I love games so much: they can bring people together and help form authentic relationships.
What games have helped you form better relationships?