Whether you love it or hate, or have strong misgivings about it, we can all agree that Pokemon Go is here to stay. At least until the next “Go” game comes out. (Which by all reports will be a Harry Potter rendition but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.) Here’s my attitude about Pokemon Go. And you don’t have to agree with me. I’m okay with that. I like using current cultural interests to meet new faces and build relationships with family. Take the Olympics for instance. You can’t get anymore pagan of an idea than that and many churches use the symbols for special events and even VBS. (Which I’m also okay with because I know the true meaning of those things.)
Let me remind everyone, PokeStops (the places where players find Pokemon) are churches. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, whatever the creators of the game intended. I’m not suggesting that we all download the app and start playing. Nobody has to get acquainted with a Pikachu or evolve a Pidgey. I am suggesting that before we condemn the game into oblivion we should think about using the tools we have for the glory of our God. If not, we leave the world a darker place. I’m not cool with that.
So here’s what we did. We decided to host a Pokemon Go outreach. It was so easy that we’re doing it again, every Saturday next month and we’ll wrap it up with big skating party and then transition our newcomers into our children and youth ministries. It’s really simple and inexpensive if you can wrangle up some refreshments. Here’s what I did.
First, I bought some “lures” and planned to place them at the cross in my local park. You have to do it through the app so at least one in your group will have to download Pokemon Go. They were really inexpensive. I got four for less than $10 in total. To explain, a lure is a digital marker that draws Pokemon to the Poke Stop you assign the lure to. At our park, we have a big cross that is also a PokeStop. (Again not a coincidence.)
Each lure module lasts 30 minutes and we planned to drop lures for two hours. I created a Facebook event, boosted it for $20 and then sent a message to the local Pokemon Go group asking them if I could share it there. They said yes!
On the day of the Pokemon Go Outreach, we set up a table in the park pavilion with free bottles of water, snacks and friendly faces. We greeted people as they came through, introduced ourselves and had fun. Nobody preached. Nobody smacked anyone with the Bible. We had one mission.
And it worked. We told everyone to come back the following week so we could do it again. We did that three times and ended with a big skating party. I can’t tell you how many people we met. It was a win-win.
Just sharing an idea. You can do it!
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.