Where is everyone?

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
I know it's been pretty much a drought here as well as on TF2. My guess is the economy plus the lack of a new must have unifying game, one that can draw in a bunch of people together, has left Toj un-participatory :( . I am hoping when one does hit old Toj remember we exist.
 
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Logos

Active Member
Yeah it's dry on the console handheld side too...I think you are a bit right though. A lot of people I know don't have the funds to buy all the latest games thus only a few are picked at a time. Like for me Mario kart 8 is it for a while.
 

kjub03

New Member
I hop in on Minecraft once in a while but no one's ever on... and in my spare time am trying to learn me some coding, so I've sacrificed playing games for the hopes of being able to make them some day.

I'm all down for playing some old school games like Ravenshield spent so many hours playing that game. Maybe we need to schedule a flash back night where we play an old school game that's under 10 bucks. Just have someone host a server for the night so theirs no re-occurring costs involved?
 

Wolfeman

Member
I mostly lurk.

Most of my time has been take up with this whole missionary thing. Deputation takes a lot of calling, driving and paperwork. However, I do still play a few games when I'm at work. I do TF2 on some Tuesdays, I play a bit of CS:GO, I play Minecraft offline and I just picked up Craft The World which I''m playing a bit now too.
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
It's true there's no longer "one game to bind them all" like there was during the eras of StarCraft, Counter-Strike, and World of WarCraft.

I could speculate on trends in web browsing and estimate that people are spending less time on forums and more time on Facebook and other social networks. I could even try to sound smart and say something about how it might relate to the trend of people retreating from public online communities in favor of digital communication with people they already know (e.g. texting, Facebook chat, etc.).

I know my own decline in activity affects Tribe of Judah as a whole and it saddens me, but I work 40 hours a week and I divide the remaining time between my daughter, my wife, my parents, church, and my own gaming, much of which has been single-player lately.

I think that the average age of active members in the last few years has seemed to steadily increase as members get older, enter new seasons of life with less free time and more responsibilities, and few younger members join to represent those more carefree seasons of life.

I could probably carve out a day and clear more than a few of the tasks on my mental checklist. I could post recruiting calls on other forums. I could bump threads asking for volunteers for staff positions. I could even send messages on Steam to members I think would make great additions to staff. And there's a good chance I'll do all those things at some point.

But not yet.

I need to spend some time in prayer, praying that God would show us how He desires to use Tribe of Judah, as a community of believers, to further His kingdom. I intend to pray that God would give me wisdom regarding how to divide my time between work, family, church, and my position as leader of ToJ and the CGA. I ask that others pray the same.

And I really, really need to stop starting so many sentences with "I." :)

God has blessed our community tremendously. So many fellow believers have gathered under the Tribe of Judah banner, some for longer periods than others, to find others who share a common faith and hobby. Many excellent people have devoted their time, talents, and energy to make a digital "home" where others can feel welcome and find respite in a fallen world. Not everyone's experience has been positive or consistent. There are a few episodes in ToJ's history I'd rather forget myself. But this community has been available to those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and also play games for almost 15 years and I think I can feel good about that.

EDIT: I forgot to include the part where I feel completely unqualified to lead this community, that it baffles me that ToJ is still around despite the fact that I'm President, that I've mostly fumbled my way through my tenure as President with no mentor or guide, and that I feel like a fraud when anyone ever attributes any good thing to come out of this 1.5-decade long experiment to me rather than the staff members who have and continue to do almost all the work or, more accurately, to the Lord to whom we owe our lives. Maybe I'll expand on all that in that "more coherent post" I mention below.

But the thought that Tribe of Judah has been, for some, more of a stumbling block than a help torments me. If ToJ is just a social club where Christians can retreat from a hostile gaming community that so desperately needs the Good News and fool ourselves into believing that being nice to new players and not swearing is all He asks of us, then we would best serve the kingdom of God by shutting down immediately. The fact that I haven't resigned from my position as President serves as evidence I believe ToJ is so much more.

(On a related note, I maintain that ToJ and the CGA are supplemental or transitional communities and never intended to replace attendance and involvement in a local church that teaches sound Christian doctrine. I also maintain that we are bound by what Christ has done for us in redeeming us, not by a list of rules or a code of conduct.)

Maybe there just isn't as much demand for a Christian gaming community now that gaming is more or less a mainstream hobby. The question is no longer, "Do you play video games?" but rather "What do you play?" Back in 1999, Christian gamers were a fringe group, doubly despised by many. Now that gaming is far more socially acceptable today than 15 years ago, is there even a need for a group like ToJ? I still think so, but I can't trust my own view is unbiased.

I apologize for derailing the thread. These thoughts have been heavy on my heart for several months now. I had intended to type them in a more coherent post in preparation for ToJ's 15th anniversary, but, well, the mood took me and now here's a wall of text. Perhaps I'll still prepare that more coherent post before the middle of May.

In closing, I'd like to clarify that I know no one was accusing me of anything or asking for the text I've posted here. If anyone feels their time was wasted, I apologize as I know how precious free time can be. I pray my heart, desperate as it is to see a new surge in activity in ToJ but only if it benefits God's purposes, is clear to you all despite my fumbling.
 
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Kendrik

Moderator
Staff member
I have thoughts that have been fumbling about in my mind for a while, too. Some more suited for private conversation for now than public posting, and most all of them need to be better processed before sharing in any case. lol That said, I feel I am on your page, Tek. I'd actually like to talk with you about that at some point in the not-too-distant future--perhaps next week, even if in asynchronous communication.

I still believe in the usefulness, merit, and potential of ToJ. It's why I still wear the toj.cc tag in my Steam name. ToJ does face a lot of challenges (especially without the "one game to rule them all" factor), but there's always room to grow, and I'd love to see ToJ continue to grow as it has over the years. Being a part of ToJ (and CGA, for that matter) has honestly been a blessing to me for years, and I've always been proud to call it my primary home in gaming. :D
 

The Mighty Gerbil

Tribe of Judah TF 2 Chapter Leader & CGA Admin
Staff member
Maybe there just isn't as much demand for a Christian gaming community now that gaming is more or less a mainstream hobby. The question is no longer, "Do you play video games?" but rather "What do you play?" Back in 1999, Christian gamers were a fringe group, doubly despised by many. Now that gaming is far more socially acceptable today than 15 years ago, is there even a need for a group like ToJ? I still think so, but I can't trust my own view is unbiased.

Games becoming mainstream has only made the need more prevalent not less. It's the same idea for those who make games. People cannot expect to be exposed to all the garbage on the internet, in games, movies and TV and expect to remain unchanged. One cannot spend one day in church and six with secular entertainment and say it has no effect, it's arrogant. Though you cannot blame people totally because Christians have failed to make alternatives to secular junk. There need to be games, movies and TV with faith and works. Things that hold to Christian values while still serving the purpose media exists for, entertaining. Likewise if there was no Christian gaming group to support people, no alternative to the 4chans or "get along" groups which forbid mention of religion at all where would Christians go? I understand the fear that a Christian gaming group could become a place to hide away from the world but a church can also. Yet we still desperately need that sanctuary, that support group because, whether we admit it or not, it's hard to go against the world, or in this case the world of games alone. Furthermore many who game are young and among the most likely to be swayed by the world without knowing the truth.

There is a reason the internet will, and I believe is, having such a negative effect on the the world. It provides the perfect platform for the obscure to get together and form a support group. If unsupervised kids get together to form gangs in real life what do you think they do on the internet? If deviants and perverts cowered from social rejection what happens when they find groups to support them with perfect anonymity? If there are places to shelter and encourage these people's desires there needs to be one for Christians and one specifically for Christian gamers. You can't expect Biblically sound answers from secular gamers on morality nor can you expect random Christians to have played games. So where do you go for Christian support on games? A place where both exist will only become more, not less relevant, the more people play games. People aren't at the well where we can even approach them with living water anymore, they are online and in games. I know it's hard sometimes when there are so many garbage games to avoid but we still need to be here.

EDIT: I forgot to include the part where I feel completely unqualified to lead this community, that it baffles me that ToJ is still around despite the fact that I'm President, that I've mostly fumbled my way through my tenure as President with no mentor or guide, and that I feel like a fraud when anyone ever attributes any good thing to come out of this 1.5-decade long experiment to me rather than the staff members who have and continue to do almost all the work or, more accurately, to the Lord to whom we owe our lives. Maybe I'll expand on all that in that "more coherent post" I mention below.

My Biblical knowledge is greatly inadequate, I struggle with sin more than most here, I used to believe I had nothing to offer and I dislike being around people at all. Then one day someone made a post in (the now defunct) Pure Fun forums. It was a short discussion about people saying "God" and not taking God's name in vain. The post said to the effect of "I don't think people are taking God's name in vain I think they are just saying it" O.- >.< x.x /get dictionary please. It was then that I realized that as small as my knowledge was there are still people out there who need to hear it (as long as I keep myself grounded in God's will and not my own). It's like what I said when taking the TF2 job. I'm unqualified but no one else wants to do it so I guess I do it or it dies.

You are doing a great job Tek. Someone has to be the first one to do a new job or it would never get done and mistakes will happen to everyone. I'd only worry if you didn't have any doubts :) .
 
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Logos

Active Member
I agree with gerbil!! Look at me, I really love video games, but somewhat like Tek, being a husband, father of 3, manager at Target (soon to be up for another promo), and church...gaming has become less and less. Although I still make time for it because it is something God has allowed me to enjoy since I was a kid. I grew up in a rough verbally abusive home, and video games especially Zelda and other SNES RPGs were my escape from reality, a place I could enjoy for hours.
Look at the console sections, they are a but sparse, but I have noticed 2-3 newer members join the nintendo forums. No, they will never grow to be something huge but maybe they can still be an outreach in some ways. Personally, I love console gaming and nintendo is my hitch because I am not as familiar with the other franchises. So, although I was gone for some time, I have tried over the past few months with God's help to really focus on just keeping things in there up to date. :). It's a place I can call home...TOJ has always been my main alliance of choice. I hope it can continue and God will continue to grow it whether in numbers or just spiritually.

Yes, I play mainly solo RPGs. But that doesn't mean I still don't enjoy the interaction on here and posting about different games or whatever it may be. And no it does not remove me from the world or become a hiding spot, instead I try to be very intentional about focusing on reaching others in my work and everyday life. Trust, me it is hard to work at Target sometimes, especially if you know their background and where they adamantly stand on many things that are very controversial.
 
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Mostly_Harmless

Tribe of Judah Unreal Tournament Chapter Co-leader
I'm still here! I'm sorry that I haven't been too active on the forums but our group is still going strong on Monday UT 3 nights. We are just missing you, Captain_Tea, Tek7, and ColdSteel. I understand that being so busy can hurt game time a lot, but this is one group that I don't ever want to see go bye-bye. Way too many grand memories of games with many of you and I have never been apart of a better gaming community than this one. Tek7, you have done such an excellent job here and I'm sorry if you are feeling discouraged. I do hope for some kind of growth in our group. New members are hard to get when it comes to games that are technically dead like UT 3. I used to game a lot more back then, but I have been spending a lot of time doing physical fitness currently. I still keep meaning to get back into StarCraft, especially since I introduced quite a few people from that game to this group, but League keeps snatching my time away. I'm hoping that new and good things may happen to you and this group. :)
 

Elader Arkon

Helped Tek test a thing
I'm still around. However, getting married this august and moving myself into a new apartment in May has caused a definite drop off in playing time. Summers seem to be traditionally a fairly slow time for gaming and gaming communities too.
 

Tek7@Work

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
I don't have long to type a reply, but I did want to post a quick response and say that I have read all your posts and am greatly encouraged by your words. :)

I am, much to my dismay, the type to suffer in silence and when I do finally give voice to my disappointment and frustration, I am always amazed by friends and acquaintances who regularly prove eager and ready to speak words of encouragement.

But before I take time to type a lengthy reply, and at the risk of de-railing the thread even further, I have to reply directly to Elader:

I'm still around. However, getting married this august and moving myself into a new apartment in May has caused a definite drop off in playing time. Summers seem to be traditionally a fairly slow time for gaming and gaming communities too.
WHAAAT? Why haven't I heard about this before? I didn't even know you'd gotten engaged.

Or is my short term memory so abysmal that you told me and my synapses didn't fire to retain the information?

I mean, I know my short term memory is bad, but c'mon, I usually remember when someone gets engaged.

My memory issues aside: CONGRATULATIONS!

(Also, if there are any fun gadgets you want to buy and you have the disposable income, now's the time. Once you get married, your life--which includes your money--is no longer just your own.)
 

Elader Arkon

Helped Tek test a thing
Thanks!

I thought I had mentioned it here before, but I guess not. Hard to tell since things get kinda crazy now lol. But yep, we're going to be married at the KC Ren Fest in costume. Send me a PM with your address and I'll get you an invitation when we send them out. :D
 

Patriot

Active Member
But the thought that Tribe of Judah has been, for some, more of a stumbling block than a help torments me. If ToJ is just a social club where Christians can retreat from a hostile gaming community that so desperately needs the Good News and fool ourselves into believing that being nice to new players and not swearing is all He asks of us, then we would best serve the kingdom of God by shutting down immediately. The fact that I haven't resigned from my position as President serves as evidence I believe ToJ is so much more.

(On a related note, I maintain that ToJ and the CGA are supplemental or transitional communities and never intended to replace attendance and involvement in a local church that teaches sound Christian doctrine. I also maintain that we are bound by what Christ has done for us in redeeming us, not by a list of rules or a code of conduct.)
While I understand that evangelism may be your primary focus please don't discount ministry to other believers (or my time with the preschoolers on Sundays is wasted). Often times a refuge is needed and can be instrumental to those (Christians) who are flailing in a "worldly" world. It can be very helpful to believers who have young children who enjoy playing in an encouraging and "safe" environment.

Sometimes, after being at work with worldly folks all day trying to maintain my witness I don't feel like struggling with more worldly folks in my spare time. Now, I tend to default to Skyrim since TF2 hasn't had much draw for me lately (and you don't have a CS:GO server), but I expect others have the same feeling. Even Jesus withdrew with just his disciples to rest and recuperate.

I totally agree that this community does not and cannot replace a local body of believers, but I don't see anything wrong with creating a refuge (which is not closed to non-believers but is monitored) for other believers.
 

rustom

Tribe of Judah Dota2 Chapter Leader
I agree with Patriot. Finding and joining this forum has been a blessing for me since here in England, I have don't have any friends my age who share the same faith and likes to play games. I guess it's only when we get too comfortable living at the "gas station" when priorities need to start shifting.

And it would be great to see the forums active and vibrant with believers.
 
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Neirai the Forgiven

Christian Guilds List Manager
I've been more absent a bit. Largely this is because of:

1) Civ modding taking up a bunch of my spare time.
2) I'm in a season of major growth here, which is also taking up a lot of my time but is also changing me from being the immature "knows a lot about everything guy" to "listen to the Lord and say what you see him saying" -- which I take to mean I'll be back in full force in time, but it will be better. :)
 

Tek7

CGA President, Tribe of Judah Founder & President
Staff member
Thanks!

I thought I had mentioned it here before, but I guess not. Hard to tell since things get kinda crazy now lol. But yep, we're going to be married at the KC Ren Fest in costume. Send me a PM with your address and I'll get you an invitation when we send them out. :D
Will do, sir!

Probably should have posted somewhere around here that I got engaged last month, too? lol
Yes. :) I saw your post on Facebook previously (and I think I "liked" it), but thanks for posting to the Prayer Request & Praise Reports Forum as well!

While I understand that evangelism may be your primary focus please don't discount ministry to other believers (or my time with the preschoolers on Sundays is wasted). Often times a refuge is needed and can be instrumental to those (Christians) who are flailing in a "worldly" world. It can be very helpful to believers who have young children who enjoy playing in an encouraging and "safe" environment.

Sometimes, after being at work with worldly folks all day trying to maintain my witness I don't feel like struggling with more worldly folks in my spare time. Now, I tend to default to Skyrim since TF2 hasn't had much draw for me lately (and you don't have a CS:GO server), but I expect others have the same feeling. Even Jesus withdrew with just his disciples to rest and recuperate.

I totally agree that this community does not and cannot replace a local body of believers, but I don't see anything wrong with creating a refuge (which is not closed to non-believers but is monitored) for other believers.

I agree with Patriot. Finding and joining this forum has been a blessing for me since here in England, I have don't have any friends my age who share the same faith and likes to play games. I guess it's only when we get too comfortable living at the "gas station" when priorities need to start shifting.

And it would be great to see the forums active and vibrant with believers.
Thank you, Patriot and rustom. You both did a better job than I feel I've done expressing much (though not the entirety) of what I want Tribe of Judah to be: An online community where Christians can gather and "recharge" when larger secular gaming communities can, at times, be a very real drain. I think "gas station" is an excellent analogy in this respect.

I think our Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 chapters best represent our efforts to create family-friendly environments for players with children who play. (Our TF2 chapter disables most of the violent visual elements that earned the game its M rating.)

My own experiences during my teen years in a local church nudge me toward paranoia that any Christian group will tend toward devolving into a closed circle. When that closed circle leads to reduced accountability and then a warped belief that the group has the right to police itself and isn't subject to the laws of the land, it ruins lives.

The antidote is, of course, continual self-examination, daily remembrance of our identity in Christ (to quote John Newton: "I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior"), and constant guard against a "us vs. them" mentality creeping in to the community.

But one must be careful not to swing the pendulum so far to the other end that people feel as though they can't relax in their own community. It's a thin line to walk and only Christ can empower us to walk it with any success. Lord knows I couldn't manage it on my own and I consider myself greatly blessed to have people who speak truth in love to help nudge me back toward center.

I've been more absent a bit. Largely this is because of:

1) Civ modding taking up a bunch of my spare time.
Please continue to post updates in our Visual Arts & Game Design forum! :)

2) I'm in a season of major growth here, which is also taking up a lot of my time but is also changing me from being the immature "knows a lot about everything guy" to "listen to the Lord and say what you see him saying" -- which I take to mean I'll be back in full force in time, but it will be better. :)
I look forward to it. :)
 

direpath

Member
ToJ membership for me has been coming up on a year, and it started with my search for a guild in GW2. I stumbled across some mention of Christian guilds and eventually I was lead to here. It has become so much more than a forum to chat with guildies. I can seek and provide insight and prayer with my brothers and sisters in Christ. It has been a haven to straighten out that mindset that we sometimes get sucked into when playing with the rest of the worlds gamers. I have been witness to some testimony and I have learned ways to be Christ-like in the most unlikely place, video games.

I truly appreciate this community for what it is. A church of Christian gamers, where we support one another and equip ourselves for ministry in one more place where Jesus would have walked...the digital worlds we game in.
 

Blackbeard

Member
I must admit that I rarely visit the forums, not that I forget my Brethren here at toj or the CGA but rather due to a general lack of interest in Gaming and the Internet altogether. I look not toward a Game that is a must have for everyone but rather a game that everyone will enjoy playing together, TF 2, UT2K4, UT3, Quake & BF2 are a few Titles that we all enjoyed, some more than others but it was a Blast. There are many Games out today to play but few hold the interest or that Gripping must play feeling, I enjoy BF 4 almost daily for at least 1 game but it holds but a mere shadow of BF 3 and none to BF 2, Loadout...well its a cheap made TF 2 with Gore, alas nothing can replace our Unreal Days...maybe in the future :p. I would game more often Gerbil with you Tek and the guys during TF 2 night but it is too late at night for me sadly and I miss those days of being Pwned by Captain Tea, MG, ColdSteel in Unreal 2K4 and UT 3 (still say it was my ISP speed lol), I hope that we can again can enjoy our Battles as we once did :)
 
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