The Life & Ministry

Molt teed off and watched his Frisbee disc sail off to the left and then back to the right before it settled in a sunny patch of grass. “London was cool — mainly schmoozing with people.” He was telling me about his recent trip to England. A gaming company had flown him over to check out their new app.

I had driven to Charlotte, North Carolina, to interview Molt, the guy behind the YouTube channel, “GAMINGwithMOLT.” It’s his job. His hours were flexible. It’s why he could play disc golf in the middle of the week.

“So what is a YouTuber?” I asked him while searching for my errant Frisbee.

“I’m pretty much like a TV personality,” said Molt, “but instead of television, I’m on YouTube. Television shows have commercial breaks. We have mobile advertising.” He sank a 10-foot putt.​

“Kids always want to know how much I make.” I wanted to know, too, but I wasn’t planning to ask. “I just tell them it’s enough that I could quit my other job.” My tee shot hooked wide to the right and landed in poison ivy.

Molt’s real name is Michael Holt. “Take off the ‘ichael’ and the ‘H’ and ‘Molt’ is what you get. A friend from college started calling me that, and it stuck.” While in school, he had planned to play baseball but, the summer before his freshman year, a freak injury involving a rope swing crushed that dream and nearly cost him his life.

While in the air, his left arm became tangled in the rope. By the time he hit the water, the rope had severed his bicep and brachialis muscles and torn his tricep 75 percent of the way through. “If it were cut any more, the doctor said I would have bled to death.”

Needless to say, he entered college a wounded man. “Losing so much strength in my arm was physically hard, but what I really lost was my confidence.” It was a low point spiritually as well.

Renewed Strength

“I grew up in a Christian family, which is lucky, but sometimes it can fool you into thinking you are a Christian when you’re really not. I was always involved in church, but it wasn’t until high school when I started to understand the idea of having a relationship with the Creator.

“In college, I started to drift away, but my dad was persistent in encouraging me to pursue Jesus.” Change didn’t happen overnight. But slowly, over the next two years, both his strength in his arm and his faith in God returned.

He transferred to the University of South Carolina to study broadcast journalism. “I thought about being a news anchor or sports announcer, but I eventually switched over to majoring in visual communications.” In 2010, he moved to Charlotte to work in graphic design. Two years later, he posted his first video.

“I can hardly listen to it. I sound like a nervous child. I was so quiet and reserved.” Not anymore. One thousand-plus videos later, he is MOLT, one of the most-watched mobile-gamer YouTubers out there. “Most of my videos are about Clash of Clans. Some are of me playing. Some are tutorials. The cool thing is that I can use both my graphic design abilities and my commentating skills when I’m producing content.”

He uploaded one that morning. “Three a.m. for my friends across the pond. Then, it will be there waiting for those on the East Coast when they wake up and three hours later when the Pacific Coasters get out of bed. There’s strategy to it.”

Whatever it is, it’s working. GAMINGwithMOLT has over 400,000 subscribers and gains more than 1,000 a day.

“I love that line ‘Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words.’ The way I think of it is that preachers have their pulpits, but God has given me a platform of a different kind. Not that I talk about Jesus all the time, but people know what I’m about, and I always try to stay positive. One time a mom wrote a comment thanking me for being a role model in her son’s life and not shying away from my faith. Things like that are so encouraging.

“It’s really true that you can build a community [online]. One of my best friends is a YouTuber. We’ve only met in person three times, but we talk to each other almost every day.”

Feels Like a Relationships

Molt is aware that not everything on YouTube is uplifting. “Some guys are really immature. And to be honest, I could make a lot more money in the short term by being vulgar. But I’ve learned that in the long run, being positive and true really pays off.”

To him, getting involved in Young Life was natural. “I have always felt a connection with high school guys. From freshman year to senior year, I went through all the phases myself. From the quiet, short introverted guy to the popular, super confident one — I can really understand what they’re going through. To me, Young Life doesn’t feel like a ministry. It feels like a relationship.”

I asked him if being a YouTuber gives him cool points with the guys he spends time with. He replied with a smile.

“It’s fun. Last summer when I was at Young Life camp, kids from other parts of the country would recognize me. I’m sure the same thing will happen this year. But that’s nothing compared to the joy I get out of watching these high school guys grow in their faith. I’ll never forget when one of them stood up at Say-So. Everyone has fears about what others think about them, but he stood up in front of all his friends. I had never seen so much joy.”

Molt and I finished Hole 18. We made our way to the edge of the empty parking lot. I could tell Molt wouldn’t mind playing another round, but I needed to be heading back home. It was quiet between us as I figured out how to tell him that my life didn’t allow me to play two rounds of disc golf.

He answered as if reading my mind. “All of this is a dream. The fact that I get to make videos and hang out with guys for a living is amazing. I’m so grateful. So thankful.”

Molt recently celebrated his second anniversary on YouTube with a post to his fans. “I can’t believe this is where I am ... I am so blessed.” Molt plans to continue to post videos for years to come. He is already branching out from Clash of Clans to other mobile apps. He remains committed to Young Life as well.​