In The Revenge of Analog, David Sax chronicles how a hunger for tangible things is causing a resurgence in many industries, such as print, vinyl, and board games. In the midst of a digital revolution where more and more people are joining social media platforms and electronic gaming is getting more and more impressive, board games have made a comeback. For example, people in Toronto gather at Snakes and Lattes to drink and play games. Sax writes of Snakes and Lattes, “Tabletop games are just an excuse for getting together, but a perfectly designed, uniquely suited one, specifically because of their analog nature.”
In other words, board games are back because people want to get together.
A world of unlimited connectivity does not mean greater community. To the contrary, unlimited connectivity often means shallow community as the constant distraction prevents depth of conversation and relationships. So when constant connectivity does not deliver on true community, board games are poised for a comeback. What does this mean for a local church? At least two things:
1. Christian community is so valuable.
Be encouraged. What a church can and must offer people—community built on Jesus—is more valuable than anything the world can offer. And it’s more transformational. While people connecting around a board game is a good thing and points to God’s gift of relationships, people connecting around Christ is what changes, not merely comforts, the human heart. The emergence of board games is encouraging. It reminds us that what people really need, the church has.
2. Discipleship cannot be digitized.
With all the impressive gaming systems, people are playing board games because they crave real interactions. We can use digital tools to spread the message of Christ, and we are wise to redeem technology for noble purposes. But we must be careful not to attempt to empty discipleship of its relational edge. When we strip relationships from discipleship, it is really no longer discipleship. It becomes merely information transfer without the shepherding a person must provide.