4 Ways Your Church Can Make the Most of Pokemon Go
If you have no idea what I am talking about there are plenty of great posts about what this is all about, so I would recommend reading those first… This post is all about how your church can make the most of the Pokemon Go craze right now. In the last week I’ve joined the hoards of people who have either discovered or rediscovered the world of Pokemon. I’ve searched in and out of London, at work, in my home and it quickly became a conversation point during my uncle’s birthday celebrations yesterday.
1. Check… Is your building Pokemon Gym or Pokestop?
Pokestops have been virtually placed on public landmarks - statues, museums, train stations and churches around the world. Do you have any near you? If you do, you should expect to start seeing people wandering around hunting for Pokemon in your area.
The reaction of Graham Hunter, Vicar at St. John’s in Hoxton:
"I've discovered we have several pokestops in our church gardens - so I'm looking forward to seeing more and more people wandering around staring at the phone screens in our church grounds - and trying to make them feel welcome!"
People who might never have come near your church are entering your area for the first time. Simple things, like putting up posters to indicate that they are welcome, could be a good opportunity to invite them in.
Check out this simple poster from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Swanage:
Inside their coffee shop they are also offering places to charge phones, and a slice of cake.
2. Lure some Pokemon to your building
Perhaps your building isn’t a Pokemon Gym or a Pokestop. That’s a shame, but not to worry. The game has a feature where you can set up a lure on your location, attracting Pokemon to you. When the Pokemon start turning up you can start telling the Pokemon hunters on social media:
3. Start conversations
Yesterday I was wandering through a park and had a spontanous conversation with a group of three teens. I didn’t start the conversation. They came up to ask if I was searching for Pokemon, and if I had found anything interesting. As it so happened I had and was able to point them in the right direction.
Somehow this game is creating community. It is bringing strangers together and getting them talking to each other.
Vicars, pastors and church leaders, how are you training your church members to make the most of these sitatutions? Cat Caird has written a really interesting piece on how “…Pokemon Go is illustrating to us the deep hunger and need for community”. She points out very clearly that this game will bring people close together for a short amount of time, however like all things this side of eternity, it will fade away.
4. Go on a walk together
Yes, you can now get your youth group out on the walk into the country or around the parks in your area. Simplest youth activity ever. Youth leader win!
But seriously, we’ve already seen that this is creating community, people are talking about it. So why not get some of your church to invite their friends on a Pokemon Go walk on Friday night? Or look at Meetup.com, see if there are existing meetups in the area and join them. Before you go, pray that God will use the evening to lead people to the gospel.
Got other ideas?
These are just four quick ideas, there is so much you could do. If you have thoughts put them in the comments below. Or, if you want to read up a little bit more have a look at these other posts:
- Cat Caird - Pokemon Go & Creating Community
- Millennial Evangelical - 3 Reasons Pastors Should Care About Pokémon Go
- Babylon Bee - Nation’s Churchgoers Brace For Flood Of Pokémon GO Sermons
- BBC - Churches sign up to become Pokestops
When not catching Pokemon, James Doc is a web developer working for the Victoria and Albert Museum. In his spare time he co-organises the Kingdom Code meetup, a group of Christians who use and build technology. He attends The Globe Church on the Southbank and is a keen cyclist.