Pokémon Go Is All The Rage, 8 Ways Churches Can Welcome Players

What if it is just a conspiracy to get young people to go to church? Send a positive message to gamers.

Pokémon Go Is All The Rage, 8 Ways Churches Can Welcome Players
Pokémon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and, whether you realize it or not, that’s a big deal for churches.

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Some social observers saw the launch date for Pokémon Go’s release in the U.S. last month as timely — one day after the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., the same day Philando Castile was shot to death in suburban St. Paul, Minn., and one day before police officers were ambushed in downtown Dallas.

The game offered a welcome diversion from tragic events, they noted.

“There are a lot of things going on in the world right now,” Duncan acknowledged. “I know this is a pretty silly thing, but it’s just one of several things we are doing to impact the community.”

Pokémon Go has quickly become a cultural phenomenon and, whether you realize it or not, that’s a big deal for churches.

Let me explain.

The app mixes the popular video game with an augmented reality form of geocaching.

In essence, you travel around in the real world, trying to catch Pokémon that show up on your smartphone.

The game shot to the top of both iPhone and Android app charts last month, as millions of people around began their quest to “catch ’em all.”

Here’s a promo video showing some of the game’s current and future features.

Here’s why churches should care.

Part of the game features going to PokeStops, which are real life buildings and landmarks that allow players to obtain needed items. Churches are often used this way.

In fact, every church we drove past recently was a PokeStop or gym — from a gigantic megachurch to a tiny fundamentalist church.

This has led to some interesting situations for many unchurched gamers. Some exclaimed how this would be the first time in years they have been to a church.

These are the missing millennials churches have been worried about. Now, a smartphone game has them literally coming to your doorstep.

So what can a church do to capitalize on this? Here are some practical steps to hopefully move the gamers from your steps and then into your pews.

1. Check your church on the game.

Download Pokémon Go on your smartphone. Even if you never play it, you can see if your church is a PokeStop or a gym.

If it is a stop and you are in a more rural area, many people will simply drive by slowly. If it is a gym or you are in a city, you may have a lot more foot traffic than normal during the week.

Knowing how long the players will be around can help you make plans for engaging them.

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Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.

Article Topics

News · Visual Arts · Multi-media · Android · Gamers · Gyms · iPhone · Millennials · Pokémon Go · All Topics

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