First Third Conversations

God called you to play a big game: Name it. Design it. Do it!

By Tom Langemo, Coach and HR professional, who coaches leaders and individuals to discover and act on their calling

What is a “winnable game”?

Winnable games are fun and challenging; they hit at the heart of what is important to the player (that’s you). They propel you toward mastery and wisdom. Winnable games are sized just right for you.

Designing a game brings a sense of creativity and openness to an otherwise daunting task of “goal setting” or “visioning”. It helps you organize what it is you want to accomplish (win), why you want to win, what will be different if you do win, and what it will take to win.

The Apostle Paul writes about “running the race” and “winning the prize”; even he could entertain game language to express what the Spirit wanted him to say, do, and be…and he was one serious individual!

Why is creating a winnable game important?

I propose that the root of Possibility is this: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) so that you can live fulfilled to His glory and your joy. Instead, we often find ourselves fearful, worried, downtrodden, angry…we dismiss our creation and, frankly, the One who created us.

But we are masters at creating fictional beliefs around, well, anything. We love an impossible story; it gives us reason to say, “I can’t” or “It won’t work.” These become tethers that keep us from moving freely in our game.

Now, think about this. As you reveal each story for what it is, a tether is unleashed. Possibility! Think of all the time and energy you spend creating, believing, dwelling, and NOT moving because of these stories. Instead, create, believe, dwell, and MOVE in possibilities!

Game design helps you capture possibilities into an objective, outcome-based framework. In your winnable game, you identify things like the purpose of the game, tangible outcomes, new skills to learn, challenges, what the “playing field” looks like, etc. The design of your game will give you objective things to go after that help take the fiction and limiting beliefs out of the experience. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it is designed to be won; it’s a winnable game that, in the end, you will be thrilled to know you tackled.

You have a unique calling to which you will respond and design a game to address it…or not. If you don’t design your game, others will design a game for you; those tethers will never loosen, or will be retied. Design your game in a way only you and the Holy Spirit can design it!

How is a winnable game designed?

For the FirstThird Dialogue on Monkey Business, we applied the following elements of game design to fit both an individual and group setting. The aim was this: create a winnable game which could be unique to each player (participant); the game was to be designed for a twelve week time period (which could be shortened or extended, depending on the status of the game; the game was to do something different in the Confirmation process/program in their respective church; accountability partners were put in play as part of each person’s “team” to help encourage, challenge, and hold the player accountable to their game. Below are the basic elements the participants addressed for the game they felt called to design.

 Game Element


 A name

 What game are you being called to play in the next 12 weeks?

 A clear purpose

 Why is this particular game important?

 Tangible Outcomes  

 How will you know you’ve won the game?


 What could get in your way of playing the game well?

 The Playing Field   

 What does your particular playing space (environment) look like?

 The Players

 In your game, who are the key people that are playing the game with you?

 Key Plays

 What are some things you’ll need to do in order to move your game forward?


Bottom Line

It’s time we all get on the bandwagon and enjoy this life, even when we are hard at work. This is the freedom and creativity (POSSIBILITY) that comes from knowing that we’ve been created and put in motion to do bold and beautiful things; that we, as children of God, can move in the freedom of His grace and forgiveness without the weight of the world on our shoulders. This is the freedom of thinking like a child about the adult issues we face…children can make a telephone out of a tin can, a pirate ship out of a milk carton, a mighty fortress out of an oak tree. This is game play.

What game will you design? What possibilities has God provided you in this life?

Name it. Design it. Do it.

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