I really owe the creation of Dragon Ministries to my wife and partner, Dhyana Kluth. She has been the guiding force behind this passion project. She was the first to point out to me that everything being created around D&D was a form of my ministry. She helped me see the magic that was being created and the friendships and community that were growing from this game.
With every step of the Dragon Ministry came to life, Dhyana has been there. She has given me the nudge (and sometimes a big push) to make this all come to life. She has shown me the big YES that has been this experience for me.
She has always supported me with this endeavor, she has been the leader in homeschooling our children, she has found the Unschool conference and she introduced me to most of the families in my current on-going campaign. She has helped me find so much joy and happiness in my life and helped me bring life to this ministry.
Let me introduce to you how Dragon Ministries started. My family attends an unschooling conference each May in Sandusky, Ohio. This year, my daughter and I presented about the learning benefits of Dungeons and Dragons. Vivian and I had a great amount of fun doing the presentation and preparing for it. Vivian did a great job balancing preparing for the talk while rehearsing for her role as the evil stepmother in a local production of Cinderella.
We were honored with support from Wizards of the Coast, who sent 100 starter kits to give away after the talk. That alone was an amazing YES from the Universe. I am always learning to listen to the big YESSES I receive.
For the conference, I was organizing D&D game play and all the spots filled up quickly. When our talk was over a father came to me and said that his son wasn't able to get into any of the games and it was really the only thing he was interested in doing this week. Could I help get him the opportunity to play?
I told him just to show up at the game time. I wasn’t going to be there at the time but the other DM would make sure he could play. I just trusted this. I had conversations with the co-facilitator before and I knew he was going to be flexible with sign up and also sometimes these kids don't always show up. I just felt it was going to be okay.
I was able to connect with the father a few times during the conference and I saw his son playing every night.
This father came to me the final day of the conference and thanked me for helping his son get to play. He said his son played every night and even set his alarm to play on the last day. He said where they live his son doesn't have any friends and spends all his time playing video games so this was a really big milestone for him. He was in a group of kids, he was engaged and he was independently working to make sure he wasn't going to miss the game of the conference. This session was the culmination of three groups coming together to battle a dark dragon lich. It promised to be epic!
This opened my eyes and made me marvel at the power of this game. The Father was so happy to see his son so engaged It made me think that there was something more going on here. That the imagination was lighting these kids up, that the role playing was engaging these kids, they were making friends and Spirit was here.
One of my favorite things about this game is literally anything can happen and often it does. People are creating connections through these games and it’s wonderful. It’s lighting them up and it's amazing to be part of this medicine.
This was where the seeds of this ministry started to form. I run campaign with a few of my friends. One day the wife of one of my adventurers came to me and said that I was doing the work. I asked her what she meant and she said that when her husband comes home from playing with us, he is happy and light. She said again,”You are doing the work.”
I let this sink in a bit and I started to think about how can we make this work, deeper. How can we use D&D for more of a tool for gaining a better sense of self? It was obvious the game was working on multiple levels and there are more and more people using D&D and roleplaying in therapy, more and more professionals in the film industry are coming out and talking about how Dungeons and Dragons was instrumental in helping form their storytelling abilities. In our world where we are consumed by worries about screen time, people are discovering new ways to come together over a new version of a 40 year old game.
As a healer and Reverend, I have been exploring dozens of different healing modalities over the years and reflecting with what I have learned, it feels like a natural next step for me. Combining my incredible love for Dungeons and Dragons and my abilities to facilitate groups, create sacred space and deepen experiences, that allow healing and connections to grow between people and communities, I am exciting to be bringing the Dragon Ministry into the world.
I am constantly reflecting on my life with the question of how I can be of service. I look at the talents I have been given and developed over my life and I ask myself how I can give back. Creating a place where people can temporarily connect to a place of imagination, develop connections with the people they campaign with, laugh, become frightened for the fate of the characters, and through this develop a better sense of their role in the world and the beautiful life force they can give back to it, really excites me.
This is an experiment. I will be using my skills as a Dungeon Master with my abilities as a Reverend. I am going to be multiclassing! Offering journeys, deepening experiences, my ability to hold space, with my Dungeon Mastering skills. My intention is to help people re-weave the stories they tell themselves about and see if we can see ourselves in a more heroic epic way. What happens when we balance this absolutely crazy fun game where anything can happen with more intention and introspection. Can we purposely provide space for learning and reflection about ourselves and how we work in the world? Can we consciously infuse more of ourselves into our characters and see if it can provide a greater opportunity to love ourselves.