In an ever-evolving world where technology and popular culture play an increasingly influential role, churches have a unique opportunity to connect with and engage a diverse audience by embracing nerd culture. While some may perceive the realms of science fiction, fantasy, gaming, and comic books as incongruent with religious traditions, it is precisely within these vibrant subcultures that a rich tapestry of creativity, imagination, and moral exploration can be found. By recognizing and embracing the shared values of inclusivity, community, and the pursuit of knowledge, churches can tap into the vast potential of nerd culture to foster meaningful connections, inspire dialogue, and cultivate a welcoming space for all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds or interests. Here is a list of resources designed to help bridge the gap between these two subcultures.
The Nerd Culture Ministry Summit 2023 | The First Conference of Its Kind!
- NCMSummit.com | Learn all about this amazing new conference, a joint-venture from Love Thy Nerd and LUX Digital Church.
- What is NCMS? w/Luke Filipiak | An interview from the Back Row Morning Show on what we can expect from NCMS.
- Lux Digital Church | Learn all about our partner in hosting the Nerd Culture Ministry Summit.
Why the Church and Nerds Need Each Other | 10 Reasons to Bridge the Gap
- 5 Reasons Nerds Need the Church by Garrett Davidson | Examining the relationship between Nerd Culture and Church Culture, here is a list of reasons Christian Nerds should find community in a church home.
- 5 Reasons the Church Needs Nerds by Garrett Davidson | Examining the relationship between Nerd Culture and Church Culture, here is a list of reasons the church should not only welcome nerds, but should see them as a valuable resource.
Why Does Nerd Culture Matter? | Learn about Different Areas of Nerd Culture
- Why Does Nerd Culture Matter? by the LTN Writers | Comics Books, Board Games, Cosplay, and more – take a look at different areas of nerd culture, learn what they are about and who are a part of these communities, and find out why they are important.
Chaotic Good | A Christian Guide to Dungeons, Dragons, and Tabletop RPGs
- What is Dungeons & Dragons, Anyway? by Jaclyn Parrish | In the first part of our new series on D&D, Jaclyn Parrish introduces the basics of what D&D is, how it’s played, what makes it unique in the gaming world, and how it fits within the broader history and scope of RPGs in general.
- How D&D is a Unique Storytelling Medium-and Why It Matters by Jaclyn Parrish | In this second part of our series on D&D, Jaclyn Parrish examines how D&D stands out as a completely unique storytelling medium.
- How Playing D&D Can Make Us Better Christians by Jaclyn Parrish | This is part three of our series. Jaclyn Parrish examines the mechanics and ethos of D&D and other tabletop RPGs, providing a rationale for why and how Christians can enjoy RPGs as not only a morally neutral, but actively redemptive pastime.
- Dungeons & Dragons and a Theology of Fun by Jaclyn Parrish | Part 4 of our series. We play D&D for the same reason we play any game: we play it because it’s fun. And if there is one thing the church of this age desperately needs, it is a robust theology of fun.
LTN Articles | Don’t Read Them During the Sermon
- Church is for the Nerds by Nathan Webb | Why finding a church home is important for nerds, and why it’s important for churches to make nerds feel at home.
- The Book of Boba Fett, Church, and the Danger of Expectations by Eric Osterday | How and why church should manage their expectations on other people, and why it’s important to keep emotions in check.
- Don’t Do Video Games in Church, Do Church in Video Games by Andy Robertson | Why gaming is more than a waste of time.
- The Power of Beauty and the Beauty of Creation in The Rings of Power by Garrett Davidson | How churches are stifling beauty and how to discover that beauty again.
- Bridging the Divide in World of Warcraft by Garrett Davidson | How we should rally together as believers, despite our differences, for the Gospel.
- How to Enjoy Nerdy “Heresies” without Being a Heretic by CJ Burroughs | Some in the church will not get over what the believe about parts of nerd culture, and we should help relieve the tension.
- Deconstruction and “True Myth” in Eternals by Paul Butterworth | How questioning what’s “always been done” can help us reconstruct to something more Christlike.
- Challenging and Changing Cringe Culture by Joey Thurmond | How cringe culture inside and outside of the church is really just us mocking things people love, and how to correct it.
- Confronting Conflict Within Creeds in “The Heiress” by Jon Campoverde | Society holding up a mirror to the Church.
- The Heart in Faith Ba$ed by Scott Kingsolver | An interview with writer and star Luke Bennett about a movie that takes a look at the Christian film industry.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Holy by LTN Writers | A collection of some of the best (and worst) examples of people of faith in the media.
- Gaming, God, and Learning to Thrive with Autism by Jeff Jackson, Jr. | A story of how church culture and nerd culture provided a safe community for someone seeking one.
- When People Can’t Be Vulnerable: A Reflection on Revenge of the Sith by Andrea Racoti | The need for us to take off our masks and be honesty with our struggles and failings.
- What is Faith When You Live in a Dystopia? by Scott Kingsolver | Standing closer to the oppressed and broken-hearted.
- Finding the Gospel in Nerd Culture by Matt Civico and Allison Alexander | Overcoming the church’s fear of nerd culture.
- Learning to Love Thy Neighbor in Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Kevin Ireland | How we could all learn from the legend in neighborliness: Mr. Fred Rogers.
- Love Like Abed by Jon Campoverde | Learning to love without judgment.
- How to Read, Watch, and Play with Less Guilt and More Care by Brittany Lofland | Finding God in the creativity of the world.
- Reflections on Holy Week by LTN Writers | Quick devotionals for Holy Week inspired by different pieces of nerdy pop culture.
Church v. Nerds | A Quick History of Culture Clashes
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Part 1: The Satanic Panic of the 80s | Video | Audio | Radio Matt & Deidra discuss one of the most infamous conflicts between church culture and nerd culture.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Part 2: Burning Harry Potter Books | Video | Audio | Radio Matt & Deidra discuss when Harry Potter became Christian Enemy #1.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Part 3: Comics Code Authority & Ratings Systems | Video | Audio | Radio Matt & Deidra discuss the rise of ratings systems.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Part 4: Nerd Culture Ministry | Video | Audio | Radio Matt & Deidra discuss how we can bridge the divide.
Podcast Playlists | Examining Topics from a Nerdy and Churchy Perspective
- Church Nerds | The Spotify Playlist | The YouTube Playlist | Bubba & Anna examine news, ideas, and media through both a Nerdy perspective and a Church lens, hoping to bridge the gap between the two subcultures.
- Bible Thump | The Spotify Playlist | The YouTube Playlist | Voices from our community bringing Biblical devotionals.
- Back Row Morning Show | The Spotify Playlist | The YouTube Playlist | Radio Matt & Mo take a look at several instances of intersection between pop culture and church culture.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | The Spotify Playlist | The YouTube Playlist | Radio Matt & Deidra take a look at the cross-section of church culture and nerd culture. (This is the spiritual sequel to Back Row Morning Show.)
- Faith & Fandom 180 | The Spotify Playlist | The YouTube Playlist | Hector Miray brings us exclusive devotionals inspired by nerd culture every week – in about 3 minutes!
- Humans of Gaming | The Spotify Playlist | Chris & Drew interviews people from the world of gaming, often delving into religious affiliation and what drew them to and drove them from the church.
- LTNcon! | The Spotify Playlist | The 2020 YouTube Playlist | The 2021 YouTube Playlist | The 2022 YouTube Playlist | Catch most of the keynotes and breakouts from our LTNcon! event each year – often focusing on ways to bridge the gap between church culture and nerd culture, from a diverse set of voices and areas of nerd culture.
Church Culture Gone Wrong | Warnings from Recent History
- Church Nerds | Cult of Personality | Audio | Video | Bubba & Anna take a look at personality-driven “church” cults, inspired by the HBOmax documentary about Gwen Shamblin Lara’s religious weight-loss regimen and the church built around it.
- Church Nerds | Church Corruption | Bubba & Anna discuss Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, The Rise & Fall of Mars Hall, and several other recent church scandals, including what could have stopped these scandals long before they came to fruition.
- Back Row Morning Show | Lessons from The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill | The Unrefined | The Unprepared | The Unbelievable | The Unethical | The Unempathetic | The Unaccountable | The Untrustworthy | The Unavoidable | Video (Parts 1 – 4) | Video (Parts 5 – 8) | Radio Matt & Mo looks back at the entire documentary series The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill and discusses 8 different topics and lessons to learn from the failings of Mars Hill and it’s leadership.
- Back Row Morning Show | The Josh Duggar Controversy | Radio Matt & Mo discuss a the wide-spread issue of sexual abuse in the Christian community and how poorly we usually handle it.
- Back Row Morning Show | Is Bethel Music Dangerous? | Radio Matt & Mo discuss the controversy over using music produced by churches that are typically deemed as extra-Biblical or heretical.
LTN Podcasts | Don’t Listen to Them During the Sermon… Seriously
- Church Nerds | The Things That Really Matter | Bubba & Anna discuss disagreements within fandoms that ultimately don’t matter. Obviously, this is also a problem within the church.
- Church Nerds | Nerds in the Bible | Bubba & Anna rate the nerdiness of Old and New Testament figures. We know it sounds strange, but it’s deeper than it sounds, we promise.
- Church Nerds | Nostalgia and Tradition | Bubba & Anna discuss how both nostalgia and tradition can be good for us, and also very bad for us as well.
- Church Nerds | IRL: Faith Debates | Bubba & Anna discuss what’s it’s like to get into debates over spiritual matters and moral stances, highlighting the right and wrong ways to approach these kinds of discussions.
- Back Row Morning Show | What’s Killing Christianity? | Audio | Video | Radio Matt & Mo take a look at 3 things Christians are doing today that are making it so difficult to share the love of Christ.
- Back Row Morning Show | The Christian Ban-Wagon | Audio | Video | Radio Matt & Mo discuss Turning Red and focus on the immediate Christian backlash and how Christian keyboard warriors tend to jump to conclusions way too fast.
- Back Row Morning Show | The Church of Imperfection | Radio Matt & Mo discuss how churches struggles with fellowship, raw emotion, hurt feelings, and more.
- Back Row Morning Show | Embarrassing Church Stories | Radio Matt & Mo share listeners often hilarious stories of embarrassing moments in church they experienced.
- Back Row Morning Show | 6 Long-Term Problems Church’s Discovered in 2020 | Radio Matt & Mo discuss a LifeWay article listing 6 long-term problems need to address.
- Back Row Morning Show | What Young Adults Want from Church | Radio Matt & Mo go through 10 things young adults are looking for in their churches and reasons why many have stopped attending altogether.
- Back Row Morning Show | The Failed Disney Boycott | Radio Matt & Mo examine the 8-year Disney Boycott that Baptists (and some other Christians) participated in beginning in the late 90s and see if it accomplished anything.
- Back Row Morning Show | Review of Faith Ba$ed | Radio Matt & Mo watched as movie that lampoons the Christian movie industry that raises some interesting points worth discussing.
- The Pull List | Meredith Finch on Comic Writing and The Book of Ruth | Chris & Hector invite Meredith Finch to discuss her history as a writer, meeting her husband, her relationship with the Anglican Church and how faith has influenced her work.
More LTN Videos | For Real… Don’t Watch Them During the Sermon
- Office Hours w/The CEO | Sermon Prep: No Filter | Join Bubba as he prepares for his message from this past weekend from a special event he was invited to.
- Office Hours w/The CEO | Is the Church Ready to Drop the Pitchforks over D&D? | Bubba welcomes Chris Mikesell to share about the introduction of TTRPGs to the youth in his church and the conversation expands from there to the wider scope of the church and the youth.
- LTNcon! 2019 | Intentional Community | In a keynote session, Bubba Stallcup shares about how to to take the Love Thy Nerd model for intentional community with you wherever you go.
- What Made Us Want to Join Love Thy Nerd? | Radio Matt – formally known as “Back Row Baptist”, running a ministry for several years under the “Back Row” banner, including “back Row Radio” – explains to his old and new listeners, what motivated him to fold Back Row into Love Thy Nerd and join up with their mission.
- Devos on Demand (Playlist) | Quick devotionals from Drew Dixon.
Nerd Culture Ministry | A Term We Made Up
- Love Thy Nerd Promo Videos | Who We Are | LTN at Conventions | This is Love Thy Nerd | Happy 5th Birthday, Nerds | Learn all about what Love Thy Nerd is and does through beautifully pieced together music videos and interviews.
- Loving Our Nerdy Neighbors: An Interview with Love Thy Nerd by Madeline Turnipseed | Abridged Version | In the early days of Love Thy Nerd, the founders laid out just what the mission is.
- Developing Digital Disciples | Engage your students online! Love Thy Nerd, in partnership with Satellite Gaming and UYWI, have put together this collection of resources to help you and your students thrive through digital discipleship, not only during these challenging times but far into the future.
- LTN con 2022: The Complete Resource | Experience the keynotes and breakout sessions from the 2022 LTN con event from New Albany, Indiana.
- Church Nerds | Full-Time Nerd | Bubba & Anna talk about what it is like to go “full-time” into Nerd Culture Ministry, fears and all.
- Church Nerds | Tales from the Nerdy Mission Field | In a solo episode, Bubba shares what it’s like to be on mission with Love Thy Nerd.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Nerd Culture Ministry | Radio Matt & Deidra discuss how nerd culture and church culture can bridge their divide.
- Rise & Shine, Nerds | Luke On Mission | Radio Matt & Deidra welcome Luke Filipiak – LTN’s Missions Lead – to share about the nerdy mission field and share how you can join the team.
- Back Row Morning Show | Interview with Tieranie Albright | Meet Tieranie Albright | Why Online Communities are Important | Nerds Matter | Radio Matt & Mo welcome Tieranie Albright – LTN’s Community Lead – to discuss the importance of community for nerds.
- Back Row Morning Show | Intentional Community | Radio Matt & Mo talk about one of Love Thy Nerd’s central pillars and share of story of this idea in action.
- Back Row Morning Show | The eSports Mission Field | Radio Matt & Mo discuss the growing mission field of eSports, Twitch Streams, and other video game outlets.
- Love Thy Nerd: Outreach | Join our Mission team, see where we’re going next, and see what companies we often connect with at conventions.
LTN Partnerships | Amazing Organizations in the Nerd Space
- Lux Digital Church | We’re a digital church expression, devoted to the mission of Jesus. We’re a church created by gamers, for gamers and you belong here.
- Satellite Gaming | Pointing students to Jesus Christ by Building Relationships through video games.
- DigitalChurch.Network | Validating new expressions of the church beyond the building.
- Safe Streamers | Safe Streamers is a community made up of viewers and streamers. We were created to be in community, so kick your feet up and let’s get to know each other.
- SavePoint Ministries | SavePoint connects people with a real world, Christ-like church community where they can feel accepted and loved within the church and discover the forgiving love of Jesus Christ.
The Megazord Summit | Morphin’ into Something Stronger
- Beard Bros | Nerd Culture Ministry (Megazord Documentary Pre-Show) | Matt & Bubba put on a pre-show for the Megazord documentary by chatting about nerd culture ministry, including some fun stuff coming up for LTN this year. Also, Matt might be a bucket of human goo by the end of the year.
- Megazord: The Story of Unity (Full Documentary) | In fall of 2022, there was a summit held in Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of Christian streamers, content creators, and digital missionaries from all over the U.S. met up for one weekend. There was one goal in mind: to stand for unity within the online space.
- Megazord: The Story of Unity by Mark Lutz | via TheChurch.Digital | Mark shares his thoughts following the Megazord summit.
- The Parts of the Megazord | FrostByteIV | SouzyLIVE | The Lift (Mark Lutz) | Lux Digital Church | God Squad Church | Aki & Fam | Johno | Asia the Girl | Armor of God eSports | Pastor Savage | SuriWow | Safe Streamers | YTH Nation Gaming | The Church Digital | JateLIVE
Outside Resources | Ministries Bridging the Gap
- Life.Church | Life.Church is one church meeting in multiple locations, and we want to help you become the person God made you to be.
- Checkpoint Church | Checkpoint Church is the church for all people – especially nerds, geeks, and gamers. We’re here for who God made you to be.
- Faith & Fandom | Faith & Fandom is a book series of devotional essays on Faith & Geek Culture. Bible studies on Video Games, Comic Books, Anime, Manga, Superheroes, TV, Movies, & Pop Culture at large.
- Christian Gamers Guild | We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines where they fall.
- The Geek Preacher | Seeking to find a fusion of geekiness and spirituality in an ever-changing world.
- InnRoads Ministries | Gaming, Roleplaying, and more for the sake of the Gospel.
- GMA Ministries | Connecting gamers to Christ, activating gamers in faith.
- Open Table Ministries | Our desire is to share the love of Jesus with the gaming community in the Dayton area.
- Christian Game Developers Conference | Christian Game Developers is an organization dedicated to helping Christians in the game industry connect with and support one another.
- CC Gaming | We, the members of “The Christian Crew”, stand united in our effort to provide the online gaming community with a clean environment, of fellowship and exciting game play.
- VR Church | VR Church is a spiritual community that exists entirely in the metaverse to celebrate God’s love for the world.
- CHVRCH+ | The world’s first Virtual Reality platform committed to building digital faith communities.
- Crossfire Faith+Gaming | We are an online faith-based community that aims to break down the barriers many gamers face: social isolation, disconnection, and stigma.
- Nerd Chapel | A safe place for fans who are unsure about religion to explore and ask questions but also for those who are already following Jesus to enjoy both aspects of their lives at once.
This resource was compiled by Rachel Knight and Radio Matt. Last Updated July 7th, 2023.
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