“In 2 years, I have had the opportunity to dialogue and share a glimpse of hope to over 2,700 people,” said John Merritt, a ministry student at Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU). “I felt the Lord calling me back into the gaming industry, a former hobby turned mission field.”
Merritt spends 5-8 hours a day gaming with fellow believers. He shares his Christian faith through apologetics and evangelism while building relationships through the connection of eSports, or “electronic sports.”
He regularly connects with Christians from Life.Church, God-Mode Activated, God Squad Church, and many other pastors across the world, ranging from California to Australia. Seeing 500-1000 views every night and during this time, Merritt gets to interact with unbelievers from all different world-views and backgrounds. Merritt sees his mission as “building a bridge through gaming so that the gospel can be shared.”
“John Merritt’s apologetics and evangelism ministry to the video gaming community reached a milestone with the official launch of Unashamed Network,” said Merritt’s professor, Dr. Jerome Van Kuiken, Dean of the School of Ministry and Christian Thought.
In September 2019, Unashamed Network officially launched a group of gamers and content creators under one mission, “Together, as digital influencers, we will support and encourage one another as we collectively strive to reach the global gaming community with Christ’s love.” This historic collaboration of Christians comes together from different places to spearhead a mission of engaging the unreached through gaming.
“There is a pretty strict process for getting accepted on the Unashamed team,” said Merritt, “and I have been very fortunate to be a part of the first few members accepted with applications from well over 50 people.”
As the team intentionally grows, so does the encouragement of fellowship and depth of conversation. Unashamed is talking with the SBU eSports head coach who has launched an eSports program with scholarships for athletes, while engaging them on how to share their Christian faith in the gaming world.
“If I could ask for anything,” said Merritt, “it would be prayer for the leaders, the pastors and guy’s above me, that they would have the resources and wisdom to lead this. Pray for the hearts of content creators, such as myself, to be bold in this very secular space.” Merritt encourages anyone thinking they want to be a part of this growing ministry to reach out because the workers are few (Matthew 9:35-38).
Learn more about Unashamed Network at il.ink/unashamednetwork.