Welcome to an interview for the series Game Credits Who’s Who (#GameCreditsWW). Ever read the credits page of a game you enjoy and wonder about the various positions listed? Would you like to work in the game industry someday but are not sure how some of the positions work? This Monday series will take a personal look into those positions and introduce you to real people doing those very jobs in the game industry. This week, let me introduce you to Mike Perna, President of InnRoads Ministries.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do as President of InnRoads Ministries.
My name is Mike Perna, and I’m the president of the InnRoads Ministries. There are some who would call me a gaming missionary, and I rather like that idea. We’re a nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to helping church and community groups bring people together around tabletop gaming to intentionally develop meaningful relationships wherein they can share the love of God with their communities. We’re a small organization and still fairly young – so being president also means I do quite a bit of everything from running game days, creating content, connecting with church leadership, providing volunteer support, and all the behind-the-scenes paperwork and agenda setting.
How did you become President of InnRoads Ministries?
We started out as a podcast about the intersection of nerd culture and faith. It didn’t take us long to focus entirely on tabletop gaming from a Christian perspective. After years of doing that podcast and seeing more and more people respond to what we were doing through emails and site visits, we decided that there was something here worth pursuing, so we started down the process to becoming a ministry in its own right. The way I became president? When we started having to define roles and positions, the board pretty much decided that I was the one pushing the hardest to make InnRoads a reality and was the most passionate about how God could use the work that we were doing to impact the lives of people in and out of the church … so basically I refused to shut up about how amazing games were and how silly it was that the most churches were seeing in the gaming community was a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids.
Share with us some of your recent projects.
We recently had our second annual fundraiser called Tavern Con, a ten hour game day in which we brought out the full ministry gaming library to bear with food and prizes. Right now we are gearing up to start a number of regularly occurring game days with multiple churches and getting our team ready for this year’s Extra Life event to support our local children’s hospital.
What is your greatest frustration or pet peeve as President of InnRoads Ministries?
If I were to say I have a pet peeve, it’d probably be two fold. For starters, I’m in a situation that is common to anyone working in a nonprofit. The work that we want to do is limited by the amount of support we have coming in, so I spend a good portion of my time trying to raise the support that will allow us to do what we want to do rather than doing it. The other is that there are still many out there who look down on the gaming community or think that games are merely “kids stuff” that has no value after crossing some nebulous age barrier. The beauty of the table is that everybody has a place there. We can learn so much from each other by playing together, but there are still those who think that this sort of thing should be relegated to something the youth and college kids do.
The best place to find out about me and about InnRoads is to visit our site (innroadsministries.com), hang out with us in our various communities like the Tavern (facebook.com/groups/gamestoreprophets), check out our youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/InnRoadsMinistries), or follow us on other social media (Twitter and Instagram = @innroads). You can contact me either through the contact form on our site or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Juggling day job, the ministry, and family sometimes makes it difficult to respond immediately, but I always try to get back to anyone who contacts me as soon as is possible.