We live in a digital age where reaching, attracting and retaining children is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK church. Scripture Union works with children on a daily basis, and knows this only too well. It especially has a heart for reaching out to children who wouldn’t normally be in touch with church in any way.
But what could Scripture Union provide to help churches and parents that is both positive and Christian, when 8 to 11-year-olds just spend hours playing games on asmartphones and tablets?
The response was to create Guardians of Ancora, which is a world-class, interactive and immersive smartphone and tablet game. It allows children to become a character in the story and learn through play, and offers them:
- the opportunity to meet and learn about Jesus through the Bible stories
- a game so good they can share it with their friends
- space to play the Quests, Missions and Quizzes, watch videos relating to each Bible story and respond to what they see and hear in the Creative Hub.
The game’s story is based in the fictitious world of Ancora: Ancora is in trouble, its light is fading because its stories about Jesus have been lost. Only the Guardians (the children) can put this right by going back 2,000 years, capturing the stories and re-lighting Ancora’s Spire with them.
‘I am thrilled to be writing songs for this amazing project, that is doing such a fantastic job of reaching children with the good news of Jesus, in a way that’s relevant to them and is so much fun! The graphics and gameplay are awesome and Guardians of Ancora is a brilliant way of reaching out to today’s digital generation right across the globe.’
Doug Horley, Singer & Songwriter. (Also known as Duggie Dug Dug)
So does it work? Well so far the game has over 100,000 users in its first year and aims to increase this to 130,000 by the end of November 2016. Solid research shows that the game doesn’t just teach children about Jesus, but has a transformational effect on their faith as well. Although the game has been created in the UK, its potential is worldwide. Scripture Union’s long-term vision is to have 18 million users worldwide by 2020.
Scripture Union would like to challenge every UK church to watch the YouTube promotional video, download the game, play the game and sign up for regular encouragement and updates via the Guardian of Ancora newsletter (see how you can support Guardians of Ancora at the end of article).
Scripture Union is completely committed to building up and encouraging children, so that they can grow in their own faith and witness to their friends. It also wants to help churches reach out to children in their own communities and schools. That’s why it has made the game completely free. Just go to the Apple App store, Google Play or Amazon Fire stores and download it from there.
You can download the game for free from the relevant app store for your device:
‘It’s so exciting to see Guardians of Ancora used by so many children to help them explore the Bible. The smile on their faces as they play in the stories of Jesus, the quiet concentration as they take time to reflect in the prayer space and the spring in their step as they sing along to the latest songs is such a joy to see, as young children hunger for a relationship with our Lord. It’s a fabulous way to get children immersed in the Bible. Get your children involved and make sure they tell their friends.’
Gemma Hunt CBeebies Presenter & actor
Using the game to reach and retain children
Scripture Union has also created some great Free Resources to help churches:
- YouTube promotional video
- infographic highlighting the impact Guardians of Ancora has had in its first year
- e-book (38 pages of fantastic ideas for how you and your church can use the game)
- promotional Leaflets, Handouts, Character Cards and Posters – just email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional printed resources
Scripture Union has published two holiday clubs, set in the world of Ancora: Guardians of Ancora and Guardians of Ancora: Treasure Seekers. Each club session is based around one of the Quests in the game, and contains ideas for using the app during the session.
- for more information on Ancora holiday clubs go to http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/Shop/Holidayandmid-weekclubs/10019.id
- To get Guardians of Ancora resources for your holiday club visit the CPO website
How you can support Guardians of Ancora
- pray for the game’s ongoing success
- download the game and try it out yourself
- use the resources Scripture Union has provided to help you reach out
- tell friends, family and parents of children in church
- sign up for regular encouragement and updates via the Guardians of Ancora newsletter : http://eepurl.com/bcBWmb
- make a financial contribution to the game by visiting http://ancora.click/donateancora