During the COVID lockdown, Endz Lim needed to find a new way to share the gospel, so he turned to one of his favorite hobbies and learned a new platform to communicate with the people around him. Recently, Endz joined the Indigitous Podcast to talk about his experience.
Using a hobby for the Lord wasn’t something new for Endz, though. “My life verse is Colossians 3:23: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,’” Endz says.
Endz puts that verse into practice. Whenever he does one of his favorite hobbies, whether it’s biking or playing music, he does so for the glory of God. “Everything I do … I’ll find a way to glorify the Lord.”
During the height of the COVID pandemic, like many people, Endz was under lockdown orders and unable to go out. But he still felt called to reach people for Christ, so he looked for ways to do that from a distance. Gaming was one way that people were still connecting during the lockdowns and it happened to be one of Endz’s favorite hobbies.
Taking a hobby to the next level
“I’ve been a gamer since birth,” Endz says. Endz calls himself an “OG gamer” because he got started on the Atari console, and he’s been into gaming ever since. Gaming is also one of the things he and his wife enjoy doing together. As gaming grew in popularity during the pandemic, with some people getting into the hobby for the first time, Endz decided he needed to find a way to use gaming to share the gospel online.
To increase his reach and be able to share with people around the world, Endz decided to start streaming his gaming sessions on Twitch. Since the streaming platform debuted twelve years ago, it’s become increasingly popular among gamers, with more than 33 million active users. But streaming was entirely new to Endz, so he needed to figure out how it works.
Like any social media platform, one of the biggest hurdles to growing an audience on Twitch is the need to distinguish yourself from the other seven million streamers. In the beginning, as a new streamer, Endz didn’t have many viewers. “If you’re new, no one’s watching you but yourself and your wife or your family members and friends,” he says. So he worked hard at finding ways to distinguish his channel, which he calls AzurePenguinGaming.
Twitch streamers usually begin each stream with a video showing short clips of them gaming. Endz decided to use his intro to share a daily Bible verse instead. He also customized the pop-up notification that lets people know when he’s online; instead of just saying he’s streaming, the notification lists the day’s Bible verse.
Praying with Stream Viewers
During one streaming session, a viewer connected with the Bible verse that Endz shared and asked him to pray for her. “It was in the middle of a battle. … I think I was playing Genshin Impact,” Endz says. “I paused the game and just prayed for her.”
A few months later, she joined Endz’s team with Soul Link, an online youth organization that connects students with Jesus, and helped form some guilds. “The gist of Soul Link is we gamify discipleship,” Endz says.
Part of that gamification is intentionally avoiding Christian-ese terms and turning normal discipleship tasks into fun activities. Thus, they have “guilds” rather than small groups. Acts of service or evangelism are called “quests,” and members earn experience points for participating in the quests.
Endz leads a streamers guild within Soul Link, where streamers encourage each other and help each other out. “We nurture them as relationships first. Then hopefully they will see God through us,” he says.
Most of the games that Endz plays while streaming are multiplayer games. Playing with or against his followers allows him a good opportunity to get to know them while also letting him share his perspective as a Christian.
“They get to see how a Christian reacts,” he says. “If there’s something in a game that sparks a question, I try to engage the viewers.”
Endz likes to use plot points from the game as a hypothetical question that lets him share his own perspective. If he was in this situation, as a Christian, what would he do? He also draws parallels with the Bible whenever he sees opportunities.
During one stream, Endz was wearing an Indigitous T-shirt from a previous #HACK event. One viewer was interested and it started a conversation about digital missions. “That’s why I like to wear Christian shirts every time,” Endz says. “It’s something to talk about during streams.”
Raiding other streamers
Twitch has a fun engagement activity called a “raid.” During a raid, a streamer invites their viewers to join another broadcaster’s stream as a group. This is done to connect and network with other broadcasters by sharing viewers.
During some of Endz’s streams, he sends his followers on a raid and asks all of the raiders to share the Bible verse of the day in the chat for the other streamer. He sees this as a good way to start conversations. “One thing about streamers is that they’re looking for a conversation with someone,” he says.
In his streamers’ guild, Endz teaches viewers how to start spiritual conversations with broadcasters. The streamers are usually happy to talk — they’re looking for engagement, after all — as long as the conversation isn’t too intrusive.
Through his Twitch streams and his work with Soul Link, Endz practices his life verse from Colossians. Whatever he does, whether it’s gaming, streaming, or taking part in quests, he does for the Lord. Through his streamers guild, he’s discipling other streamers and helping them to do the same.