Although the plot involves an ark, a covenant, seven halos and religious prophesies, the thrill-kill video game Halo seems a tad out of place at a Christian youth center.

But every afternoon after school, dozens of teens flock to The Portal center at Coast Christian Fellowship in Torrance, where they huddle around game consoles and battle for control of the cyber-universe.

It’s a scene being played out around the country as religious leaders try to use Halo to attract youths. The goal, they say, is to make a connection and build relationships with teens who might not otherwise be interested in church.