Being a Tank

Do you play WoW? If you don’t even know what those letters mean then this post may not work for you. I sort of pride myself in being able to explain things to people who aren’t interested in them, but honestly this may even be beyond my level of expertise, but I do have something sort of spiritual to tag onto the end so if you want to stick around you may get a short devotional thought for your effort. If you don’t I will understand.

The game World of Warcraft is wildly popular. That is really an understatement. Ten Million people pay $15 a month for the right to play this game with their friends. If you don’t play it is hard to describe what it is all about. There is a fantasy styled world with lots of computer controlled people, shops, cities, monsters, and dungeons all set up and waiting for you to interact with them. In addition to that there are hundreds of people just like you controlling 3D models of dwarves, elves, humans, orcs, and a variety of other races who are all running around in this world as well. As player you interact with other players and with the computerized world.

While you can play this game alone it is meant to be played with other people. The game really shines when you start finding other people to play with. There are lots of people who have dedicated nights when they log on to meet up with a group of friends (their “raiding party”) and play through content in the game.

To succeed in this social environment part of the game everyone has a role to play and they must play that role or the group will fail. Some people are there just to inflict damage on whatever enemies you face. Others are there to heal the rest of the group and some of the people are there to be the tank.

I recently started being a tank and I have to say that I love it. Now don’t start thinking about a real tank. This is still a fantasy world we are talking about. The tank has one major job. He wades out into the thick of the enemies and basically picks a fight with them. Then he has to stand his ground long enough for the rest of the people to kill the enemies. His job isn’t to inflict the most damage. His job is basically to keep the people from attacking the other people in his group. He even has special gear that makes enemies want to attack him more.

Now I like being the tank for two reasons 1) because I don’t do well hanging back in games and 2) because I feel like it is sort of noble in a weird video game sort of way. There isn’t much glory in being the tank, but the rest of the group can’t survive without you.

Now to the spiritual point. I think sometimes as pastors we are called to be the tank for people in our church. As a “professional” I feel like it is my job to do whatever I can to help the people who volunteer to succeed. If this means that sometimes I need to step in front of a cruel word and take the blame for something that may not have been my fault so be it. I am the tank.

Of course to do this you have to have the right sort of gear. It is important to be able to stand up and take criticism and that is never easy to do, but if we are willing to do that for others then we can sometimes turn the tide of a difficult situation long enough for a peaceful resolution.