8 Ways Churches Can Capitalize on Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go church

[This post deals only focuses on the ways churches can use Pokémon Go. I wrote a piece for Washington Post with more nuance that discusses the positives and negatives: “Come for Jigglypuff; stay for Jesus: Church in the Age of Pokémon Go.”]

Pokemon 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 Pokemon that show up on your smartphone.

The game shot to the top of both iPhone and Android app charts, 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 this weekend was a PokeStop or gym—from a gigantic megachurch to a tiny fundamentalist church.

This has lead 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.

My friend Chris Martin of Millennial Evangelical noted how he saw several young guys sitting on the steps of a downtown church because it was a Pokemon Gym. (He has also written a helpful post on why pastors and church leaders should care about Pokemon Go.)

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 to your pews.

1. Check your church on the game.

Download Pokemon 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.

2. Staff the area with a greeter.

Find the exact location of the PokeStop at your church and have someone around that area to talk to those who stop by.

Ideally, you would use someone who plays the game themselves so they could have a knowledgeable conversation. But even if no one knows much about the game, anyone can be there to say hello and welcome players to your church.

3. Place welcome signs on your door.

You probably don’t want your student pastor spending his entire day playing Pokemon on your front steps, so put up a sign to let players know they can come inside.

If it is hot, people will be thankful to step inside and hang out in an air conditioned area while they pick up some items, see what Pokemon are around or battle a gym leader.

You could also use those church signs for something other than horrible puns for once.

4. Offer drinks and snacks.

If AC won’t bring someone inside the doors, maybe some free pizza and a soft drink will.

Put signs near the PokeStop or gym location and advertise a Pokemon day. Players can come and hang out in the church, get free food, and talk about their latest catches.

Remember, these may be individuals who haven’t been to church since they were kids or maybe never at all. This is about hopefully correcting some misconceptions they have about Christians and the church.

5. Post about it on social media.

#PokemonGo has been trending on Twitter since the game was released. Get in on the social media action by tweeting from your church’s account about the Pokemon in your building.

An art museum in Arkansas took photos of Pokemon near different exhibits and blogged about it. Now people who may never have thought about going to there may show up to catch the Pikachu near the “Untitled” light installation.

The same could be true for your church.

6. Attract Pokemon to your church.

If you can get the Pokemon there, maybe you can bring the people in too. The game actually has a way to do just that. Players can purchase “Lure Modules” that draw in Pokemon to PokeStops for 30 minutes.

Invite those players hanging around to come back at a certain time when you will use one of the modules. Put it on signs at the PokeStop or gym, so those driving by will know.

You could also use it as part of the draw for a big event. Buy a Lure Module for your VBS Kickoff event or fall festival. Announce that you’re doing it on promotional flyers.

7. Have drawings for free Pokemon gifts.

As you have players become more comfortable hanging around, have them enter drawings for Pokemon themed gifts—like packs of trading cards or even a Pokemon Go Plus (a watch-like device that alerts players to events in the game and new creatures to catch).

If they fill out an information card to register for those drawings, you have contact information to follow up. Don’t spam them with every material your church sends out, but let them know about upcoming Pokemon events or age relevant activities.

8. Keep up with the game updates.

At some point, trading will be part of the game. Once that aspect of the game is released, announce you will have a Pokemon Trading Night at your church.

Provide refreshments for the players gathered to swap stories and Pokemon. The more you do these type of events the more these individuals will feel at home with you and your church.

Pokemon Go is providing churches with an opportunity to meet new, unchurched people from their neighborhood. You can form relationships with non-Christians just by walking outside your church.

Don’t miss out on this because it’s not something you are interested in. Paul said he became all things to all people so that some might come to Christ.

Pastors and church leaders can make fun of Pokemon Go and the players walking right outside their doors. Or they can take Paul’s advice and become a gamer to reach the gamers for the sake of the gospel. Hopefully, these eight steps can help you do just that.

Trevin Wax explains well the spiritual and philosophical reasons a game like this has caught on.

Pokémon Go taps into our longing for unity in a fractured world. For a moment, we are together, sharing the same physical space and playing the same game.

Pokémon Go also taps into our longing for something beyond the flattened, rationalist society of our age. For a moment, we feel the magic of the old mythologies and long for something beyond this present world.

He sums it up well by reminding us that “we should have eyes wide open to the pressures people feel in this fractured and flattened world, so that we can better tell the better Story, which, in the words of C. S. Lewis, is ‘the myth that became fact.'”

Also, if you are wondering: “Is Pokémon satanic?” that link will answer your question.

Have you seen any churches use Pokemon Go as part of their outreach? What other ideas could churches use to engage players?

133 Comments

  1. Paul

    Can you make sure your church is a game stop?

    • You can check it on the game itself. Just download the game and open it up near your church.

      It will show up on the map with a floating blue cube if it is a stop. It will be a tower with a Pokemon on top if it is a gym.

      If it isn’t either of those, I don’t think there is a way to register it as one right now.

      • Wesley

        The locations are all based on Niantic’s other game, Ingress. If there’s a way through that game to submit new markers, then it should be added as a stop or gym subsequently.

        • Arnold

          New submissions haven’t been taken in Ingress for almost 2 years now. Stops and Gyms are just what you see until submissions are accepted again.

  2. Julia

    Hi! Just wanted to say these are really great ideas!
    I’m not a Pokemon fan myself very much – I watched the beginning of Pokemon Indigo League a couple years ago, but I never played myself. But this is fantastic, and I know if I weren’t a Christian, church-going type I would really appreciate the hospitality, snacks, and relief from the heat of summer days, especially after traveling around looking for Pokemon to catch. :0) Thanks for posting!

  3. Joe

    How do you get your church to be designated as a pokestop or a gym?

  4. Aspree

    But when you share the Gospel (you know, that message about sin and repentance), they will accuse you of bait and switch.
    Unless you never share it…

    • I should hope individuals would share the gospel. But I’m not talking about just tricking people to come in and then throwing tracts at them or even preaching a gospel sermon to the first player who wanders in.

      The point is to form relationships with these unchurched individuals and counteract some misinformation they may have about Christians and churches. Once you have a relationship with them and you both talk about the things you enjoy in life, Jesus naturally should be a part of that for the Christian.

      • Carrie maderer

        Yes that is the point relationships. Please have them work on a way to get your church added. Where I live in Lakehills Tx we have 2 shops and that’s it, and they are miles away from each other. So more shops would be nice.

      • I guess if you can’t attract them with the true Gospel, might as well use a secular means. I had no idea the Bible says to build relationships in lieu of salvation, since now is the time. It says preach the gospel in and out of season. What if they don’t come back? You lost the greatest opportunity to bring Jesus to them.
        If Pokemon is all you have to speak to the lost, that’s all you have to share.

        • Russell H

          Exactly.

          Paul didn’t mean literally become any and everything toneveryone so that the ends justify the means… An example being that he chose to know nothing more than Christ and Him crucified, regardless of what the Jews and Greeks wanted.

          With what we lure people in is with what we hold them there. If it’s not Jesus, is not real truth and it’s not going to save anyone.

          Proclaim the Gospel, which is our charge and let the Holy Spirit convict. Pray about such a conversion, but realize our agenda is already set, and He does not give us a directive of using the means of the world.

          Sure, love them and tend to their needs… Which are not entertainment and AC, but a perspective on our wicked sin and thus our desperation for a Savior from God’s just wrath we have all earned, and telling them who He is and what He has done in our stead, so that we do not receive wrath but grace, mercy, reconciliation, justification, forgiveness and salvation, from the Father, in Christ, and Him only.

          That is loving them.

          Skipping over being rooted in Truth and sidestepping to felt needs disregards His Word and dishonorable Him, as we are to be pleaders of God rather than of men–loving Him first, then others–and we can’t do either without His Word being our standard and, reminder and our aim.

    • Alika

      Personally, I’d probably take the approach of getting the new visitors comfortable at my church and its events and provide them with opportunities to get more involved in my church community if they like what they see … but at a rate at which they feel comfortable. I’m not a big fan of the “hard sell” anyway.

  5. BJ

    We are currently engaging these youth as they seem to be coming in swarms. We are doing a drawing for a pokemon basket, and free candy bars to anyone who stops inside. I do have a question though, will we be a pokestop indefinitely, or will we eventually roll off so that a new stop can take our place? Just wondering how much revenue to pack into our advertising, only to find out that we are no longer a designated stop… Thanks!!

    • Those are some great ideas. But I have no idea if the game will be changing PokeStops anytime in the future.

    • Steven

      The company’s past augmented reality game (Ingress) kept locations until they were reported as incorrect. You will likely stay a pokestop unless something happens.

  6. Keagan

    This is really very pandering. Please do not try to lure people in with gimmicks as if they themselves are pokemon. Please just let evangelism and fellowship happen organically…no need for raffles or designated greeters.

    • Becky

      I definitely agree with you on the thought of pandering, but as a Pokemon Go player who has been wandering around the city awkwardly hanging out in the doorways of unfamiliar churches, I think I would really appreciate a “Welcome” sign and even a greeter–just the assurances that the church knows we’re there and are okay with it, because right now it feels like sneaking around.

    • As I said earlier, I’m not talking about luring people in (though the game item is a lure). My point is the give the players a reason to interact with people at the church: break down barriers and misconceptions they have about Christians and the church. Form organic relationships about something you share in common.

      If you want to avoid the giveaway, don’t do it. That’s just an idea for churches who may find that useful. But if you have players gathering outside your church, why not try to start up conversations with them, welcome them to your church, and develop relationships with unchurched individuals?

      • Brendan

        Agree that it’s super important to make the most of our new contacts through Pokestops. However it’s also important to understand where these people are coming from in terms of their thoughts and apprehensions. Know your audience – many will be uncomfortable with having conversations with strangers in real life. They might feel awkward about going near a church exactly because they are afraid of being ambushed by Christians. Being too forthright would probably send them running. I would argue that it’s better to let them know that they are welcome in a low-key, non-confrontational way (e.g. a sign inviting them to come in/explore). Signs could even include puns of Pokemon names to build goodwill and commonality. If visitors do come in to explore, church staff or laypeople on site could simply say ‘hi’ and then use their response as a guide as to how comfortable they are with further conversation.

      • Keagan

        You could maybe start forming organic witnessing relationships by not referring to anyone as “unchurched individuals”

        • It’s a shorthand way to speak of a group. Hopefully, no one will read this as telling them to walk outside to the people playing the game and say, “Hi, unchurched individuals.” You’ll form relationships by getting to know the people and calling them by their name. I’m not advocating anything differently.

  7. Amanda

    I can’t post a picture in your comment section, but our church has 2 pokestops and we put up a sign inbetween them inviting players to attend Sunday worship and to be sure to pick up their free pokecoins from our welcome desk after the service is over. Can you imagine people who might never have set foot in a church before? So excited for the possibilities!

  8. I’m glad someone wrote this. This is a fantastic idea! I’ve seen lots of businesses taking advantage of the game, and why not the church as well? For those concerned about it interfering with evangelism, honestly I think ignoring–or even worse, scoffing at–these gamers who most likely do not have a church home will detract from their image of the church, not add to it. The simple act of being kind and hospitable can open doors long shut.

  9. Jay

    Interesting article. Could have done without the smallminded, hateful jab at fundementalists. But other than that very good, going to check our church today.

  10. Maybe churches would be better advised to find ways to serve others without expectations than trying to serve themselves by capitalizing on a cultural trend.

    Certainly does reveal how Church institutional mindsets work however.

    • There’s a lot of assumptions there that I’m advocating churches only serve their community in this way. My point is not, “Hey there’s a cultural trend, get on that.” It’s more like: “Hey, there’s a bunch of kids hanging around outside our church, maybe we should go talk to them and form relationships with them.”

    • Beat

      Barton,
      Do you not see where God has answered prayers? Christians across America have been praying for our country, for revival, for us to reach our community in massive ways…
      THIS GAME IS GOD’S NET. He is reeling in people of all backgrounds for us to catch. Will we turn away what He has brought in?

  11. eris

    It’s really creepy that churches have to rely on the “free candy” method to get people in their doors. It’s almost as if the message isn’t enough or something.

    • I’ll be sure to let every organization and business that has ever advertised, passed out flyers, or given food away to guests that someone online thinks they are “creepy.”

      • Keith

        Clever reply Aaron. lol. BTW, in regards to this phenomenon, I have some buddies that street walk & witness almost every week, mostly fridays in N.Dallas. The place we usually do our one-on-one evangelism typically had from 10-75 people hanging out depending on the weather. The last two nights there were 300-400 there. We had more easy spiritual conversations this weekend with the 16 to 28 year old crowd than ever before. This is so cool. I need some custom Pokemon front page tracts !!!!! I did a google search trying to find ideas and your idea thing popped up. Thanks. People will talk to you — and any conversation can EASILY move to spiritual things. You gotta try. Its awkward at first, but so is every first job anyone ever had. But think of 98% of your paycheck as being deposited in a heavenly 401k.

    • Paul

      Eris, you have it right especially with the new game that is already causing troubles internationally. If someone thinks using the game is Mission Outreach, they have the wrong end of the stick.

      • Sue

        Building relationships with people who come to your door is always mission outreach, no matter why they come.

    • Beat

      Eris,
      That is not it at all! God is simply answering prayers of Christians across America. We have been praying for ways to massively reach our communities and the people of our country.
      God is moving in a major way and literally BRINGING souls to us.
      He has always used strange (to us) ways to communicate His messages (burning bush, talking donkey, a Man from Galillee’s death, loaves of bread).
      When we stand in eternity and look back, are we really going to question why He used a game to bring people to Him?

      • Don

        let’s just face it. These people playing games on phones just don’t fit in with us devout Christians. why should I lower myself to talk to them,much less give them water if they are thirsty. If I would never meet them any other way, why would I do something to bring them inside the church to meet me?

        • Ray

          You just sound arrogant and prideful with that comment. Jesus lowered himself to wash his disciples feet. Your attitude is the reason people are afraid to approach Christians. Why would you discard the people that God has placed walking around near the church? The devil too can use people inside of the church.

  12. Thanks for the super helpful article! What a cool opportunity we have with this!
    A practical question…I’m writing some posts for social media and working on signage…is there a place to get a Pokemon graphic or photo that our church can use to promote our stop? Maybe I just need to get the app and take a picture of my phone!

    • Elizabeth, if you notice that link says the interview was with Time, but they never provide a link to it. That’s because the actual Time interview looks nothing like that. Here is a link to it: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2040095,00.html

      The only mention of anything connected to Satan in the story is where Satoshi Tajiri describes why the Pokemon faint in the game and not die. He says that’s because he doesn’t believe children should have such a flippant attitude about death. The interviewer tells him that an American preacher says Pokemon is the devil. Here’s his response: “I never heard of that! [Laughs] I heard there was a guy who criticized [kid’s book character] Harry Potter because of the magic. But I saw the author, and she seemed really nice. The critic seemed like a grouchy mean guy.”

      You are free to disagree with his viewpoint, but you aren’t free to spread false information about him. That’s bearing false witness. We have a command about that.

    • Beat

      Elizabeth,
      I can’t tell you (nor can anyone else) whether Pokemon was created for dark purposes. Prayer and watchfulness is what you should do for yourself.

      HOWEVER, IF Pokemon Go was created by Satan (rather, twisted as Satan is not creator, only liar), then God is using it for His glory instead! Satan planned to kill Jesus on the cross but it was always for God’s victory and our salvation.
      It is the same here! God is using a game to bringing people we might have never been able to reach and creating VICTORY! -Don’t let the devil distract you or scare you out of the harvest God is bringing in right now!

  13. Jason

    I am saddened when I see Christians who refuse to culturally engage and would rather sit in their ivory temples. No one is suggesting we preach a gospel of Pokemon or fail to talk about spiritual matters. But, the mere fact of opening the doors and welcoming individuals is a step of Christ-like action. The Spirit calls those whom He wishes to call, and we just need to be obedient.

  14. Great article. I’m always amazed at the disconnect of my peers in the church and finding authentic ways of being part of the larger community and not just insular in our walls. Being community doesn’t always mean sharing the Gospel. It means establishing yourself as a loving person. The rest comes after they get to know you by your fruits. Awesome stuff. A lot of the comments are indicative of the lack of knowledge in social media and mobile technology and how the unchurched use it for other things than gas lighting other Christians. Also side note you are a warrior for answering the comments. On my blog I never answer the comment section which tends to be the lowest form of literature..

    • Hahaha. Most of the comments have been good. A lot have been questions by genuinely curious people. Some are … more typical internet comments, but that’s life online. I’d rather they be wasting their time here than out there being angry at someone else.

  15. Paul

    Pokemon GO — 11 armed robberies in the St. Louis area in recent days, girl in Wyoming found a dead body on shoreline of a river, warnings being issued by police in various states and countries as far away as Australia, police warning not to drive and play. The game is barely a week old and has been creating problems in not a few places. Now there is this, Quote – Google: ‘Pokémon GO’ App May Be Able to Obtain Full Access to Google User Accounts, Reports Say
    The app may automatically have access to Gmail accounts and inboxes, search history and Drive, among other Google services, multiple outlets reported. This only affects iPhone and iPad devices. End Quote. Mission Outreach does not require Pokemon GO.

    • Whoa. Who said outreach required it? Certainly not me. I’m just letting churches know that people will be showing up to their doors playing this game and here are some ways to engage them.

      Yes, people have used it irresponsibly and even dangerously. That’s every technology that’s ever been invented. You are using the internet. Obviously, that has been used for all types of unspeakable evil, but no one is telling churches to never use it because it itself is evil. At least, they aren’t anymore.

      And yes, the app gave the developers too much access to your Google account. That was a big issue. They have acknowledged that mistake and say they are correcting it. If you don’t feel they have done enough to keep your information safe, you don’t have to download the game.

      I’m just not sure what any of those has to do with churches connecting with people from their neighborhood hanging around their building because of this game.

      • Andrea

        In addition to what Aaron said, the danger that is now attaching itself to the game is all the more reason for churches to welcome inside the players (i.e., help them be safe and among people instead of isolated where they are more easily robbed). The church might even choose to find some way to provide players with tips on playing safely, or at least more safely.

        Again, the message is not that we can’t possibly do outreach without engaging this game and its players. It is simply a view on how to incorporate this phenomenon into existing outreach if a given church chooses to do so.

    • Beat

      Paul,
      The way you currently view Pokémon Go, only by it’s negatives, could be done with anything.
      (Quick example: Sex. I could say that Sex should never be mentioned. “It’s an abomination with porn, adultery, fortification, lust, child abuse….” But I would only be seeing the downside of living in this imperfect world. I would be denying that God created it for birth and for marriage.) – Can’t throw the baby out with the bath water!
      While Pokémon Go shouldn’t be the ONLY method of out reach- who are you to deny that God is bringing the lost to our doorstep? Will you turn away what He has brought in?

  16. Gary

    I think these are great ideas. I am going to pass them along. Thank you

  17. Paul

    If you need ‘gimmicks’ it to engage (Mission Outreach), there is a problem. Just minutes ago, I received an e-mail from a friend. It is as follows, “My daughter just called. She is playing this stupid Pokemon Go and 2 guys in a car rammed the back of her car. When they saw she had 2 other people with her they took off. This was in [location deleted]. She doesn’t know how lucky she is.” It was an intentional act! This game, if needed, that should never have gone mobile. Intentional crimes are being perpetrated not to mention the mindless acts of brains not as advanced as the technology. People are so focused on ‘gaming’ and entertainment with a fixation on self and immediate gratification that it does harm to them and others. Not a Mission Outreach tool that is wise IMHO.

    • Who said you need “gimmicks”? I said take advantage of people literally coming to the doorsteps of your church by starting a relationship with them and pointing them to Christ.

      Yes, using your phone while driving is a stupid decision. But that goes for texting, tweeting, surfing the web, whatever. Pokemon Go is just the thing today. It will be another distraction tomorrow.

      I’m not sure how Christlike it is to make assumptions and assertions about the intelligence of people (both followers of Christ and not) who think differently than you do.

      But seeing as how I don’t think outreach requires using Pokemon Go, I pray that whatever means you use to share the gospel with the unchurched of your community is successful.

    • Even Jesus to his followers ‘gotta catch’ em all’.

  18. Stephanne Moorehead

    Great article! While our house hasn’t gotten on the Pokemon Go train (though when our boys hear about it we might be forced) my husband is a youth and family pastor, so I forwarded him the article. Yesterday he had his weekly summer board game day for the teens and several were talking about the game and how great that our church had two things. After reading the article he decided to figure it out. Turns out we are a gym and our large centennial rock with plaque is also a pokestop. You have to get fairly close to the rock so he immediately put in a stake with a clear box on it that has a pokeball and says Pokemon sort of like a sign to help people find it and in the box he put fliers for our monthly game night, VBS, etc. It’s a start while he ponders what else might be done. We are all about anything that might help us reach out to the neighbourhoods surrounding us.

  19. Douglas

    interesting, this is one of the first things I read this morning on our News Site before happening upon your article through a link at Challies.com:

    “Pokemon Go’s digital popularity is also warping real life”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/82043257/pokemon-gos-digital-popularity-is-also-warping-real-life

    not a good app by the looks of it, it sent folks off to the Hells Angels clubhouse here in New Zealand

    “Pokemon Go players turn up at Hells Angels headquarters looking for pokestop”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/81999684/pokemon-go-players-turn-up-at-hells-angels-headquarters-looking-for-pokestop

    bit of a worry a?

    regards

    Douglas

    • Beat

      Douglas,

      Ya, sometimes people stop using their heads. But it doesn’t take an app to do that. I knew plenty of people who did stupid things even before the internet was popular. (In fact, we’ve all been there!)

      However, the devil likes to use all sorts of distractions to keep us from doing the good work: telling others about Jesus.
      Don’t you think the devil is afraid that God made hundreds of thousands lost souls to seek out churches across the world? You bet he’s going to try to scare the church out of the harvest God is setting up.

    • Sue

      People will still need to use common sense, just as with any tool or technology. When my brother purchased his first car GPS unit, it’s directions sent him off the end of an unfinished bridge. Fortunately he applied common sense and chose not to follow the voice telling him to proceed.

  20. Tom

    Hi Aaron.
    Has anyone addressed that the whole Pokemon phenomenon is a real clever training ground for guiding people into calling on ‘entities/spiritual beings’ to battle? Clever & subtle but not particularly Godly.
    I agree we need to learn to be relevant & engaging but at what cost to our spiritual side?
    Pokemon means ‘Pocket Monster’ … I don’t know … I just gave a real uncomfortable sense that this is an incredible & subtle ploy for spiritually blinding people to the truth of the Gospel & spiritual awareness of righteousness.
    Thoughts?

    • I’d be far more concerned about children growing up in a sexually intense culture and not being taught even the basics of their faith and being spoon-fed spiritual platitudes at Sunday School. Want to protect your children? Start really teaching them the Gospel. Teach them good apologetics as well. I have my own apologetics ministry and I have played Pokemon for years. Not at all concerned. I don’t really bat an eye any more when I hear people talking about something being demonic any more. Been there. Done that. Heard it all. It’s largely paranoia.

  21. Hi Aaron. I linked to your post on mine, but I’m a Pokemon Go player and an apologist as well and I have written on this.

    http://deeperwaters.ddns.net/?p=9517

    I also messaged you on Facebook.

  22. I’m just curious if any of the commenters here are working in youth ministry?
    Thanks!

  23. Fee

    Hi,

    I agree with Tom.

    In my younger days i also got enchanted by the Pokemon hype. I started collecting cards and wasted a lot of money of it.

    We shall not allow open doors in our life especially the time we’re living right now. The problem is what is behind Pokemon and the motivation of it whole concept. I think one of the biggest target of the game are children…so i did a researchment about the original maker of Pokemon the guy called Satoshi Tajiri and found a interesting link:

    http://www.p4rgaming.com/pokemon-creator-admits-games-aimed-towards-satanists/

    After reading it all made sense to me, it’s like a evil spirit idea has been manifested through this vessel. Try to cover a wolf with sheeps cloth and act being part of us that it seems harmless? We have been told that Satan’s objective is to steal from us, kill us, and destroy us.

    Im not judging anybody we all know we’re mature people who can have fun, watching movie, playing games and know what the limits are and what not..but im talking about the children that is playing this game how does it developing in them?

    All i can say is have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. We do not need Pokemon to preach The Gospel of Jesus Christ and don’t want to be associated with it by using all kind of gimmicks and stuff it’s foolish.

    • Hi Fee, I certainly do want to tell anyone to do something that grieves their spirit or causes them to feel uneasy. If people use the game in an unhealthy way, they definitely should stop. But you should know that article you link to about the creator of Pokémon is fake. I linked to the actual interview in a previous comment. As Christians we are commanded to not bear false witness and spread falsehood.

      • Fee

        Hi Aaron,

        Thanks for replying actually after seeing this site https://carm.org/what-is-pokemon
        i started looking for information about the original creator of the game. The article that is stated false does have a link to his wiki.

        Im talking about where does this Pokemon idea came from? it is linked to occultism, sorcery and we can take it lightly like oh i just a game..that it exactly what the game wants you to think like i said a wolf in sheep cloth by using cute animation.

        Pokemon even preach evolution? i mean evolution to what? evolution does not exist in The Word of God and Will be rejected.

        I know what this game can do to people and have seen manifestion of it..take it seriously dear brothers and sisters.

        • THis is something my ministry partner wrote.

          http://www.tektonics.org/af/fantasy.php

          People make way too big a deal about this kind of thing. As for how it came about, the creator is known as Dr. Bug by his friends. He was just always fascinated with bugs and he has Aspergers as well. He wanted to make a game about what he would have liked to do as a kid.

          As for evolution, I’m not worried about that. I could accept evolution in my Christian worldview and not have a problem. Many of the early supporters of evolution were Christians, such as the botanist Asa Gray and the preacher Charles Kingsley. It’s only in America really that evolution is a major issue.

        • mat

          FEE- Check out the update to the article you shared above. He’s since updated it (July 17) and shared current findings on the Pokémon Go game.

    • Oh wow. A game is made and the target is children….

      So are so many Pixar and Dreamworks movies and such. Of course people want to sell things for children.

      And claims about demonic stuff and such? The creator of the game has the nickname Dr. Bug. He’s fascinated with bugs. He also has Aspergers, as does my wife and I.

      It’s kind of like the whole Legend of Zelda craze, which I also enjoy. The producer of the game has signed material for kids and said “On beautiful days, go play outside.”

  24. I totally agree with everything, up to a point. But we have a hot spot here, and it’s at our playground. Because we encourage kids in our neighborhood to come and use the playground, there are kids out there a LOT, and now we have tons of people coming to play Pokemon Go. Our concern is that we can’t possibly monitor it or greet people who come, and they are coming at all times of the day and night, opening the gates to get in and then leaving them open when they leave. That part we can deal with. What we are most concerned about is the safety of the children if someone with criminal intent decided to use it at an opportunity to prey on the kids, our own, the community, as well as the many kids who are coming to play the game. (My husband and I left a car here a couple of nights ago, and when we cam to get it at 10pm, a gate was open and a kid on a bike was at the playground.) Our playground is rather isolated, and has been a site of criminal activity in the past, especially after dark, so that heightens the concern.

  25. I have to add that our pastor went to Niantic (they are the actual creator of the game, and Nintendo markets it) to see if there is a way to move the hot spot, and they were not helpful, so he called a local TV station, and he and some players ended up on our local news yesterday. Hopefully that’s not negative publicity, but he is truly concerned for the children. I don’t think this would even be an issue if the hotspot were in our front parking lot, or somewhere else not close to the playground, but it is literally IN the playground.

  26. Jenn V

    I think this is a very interesting response to seeing more people show up at your church at random times of the day. Additionally, my husband plays the game with students in the youth ministry, and it has given him some great opportunities to build relationships with the guys and even their non-churched friends. They go try to take a gym and then usually end up talking about life and hanging out. My husband and I are the student pastors at our church, and I think parents are thrilled that their students want to hang with healthy adults who just want to have a positive influence on their kids. Adults who love the Lord and want to lead others in that way. I know several games have become a catalyst for ministry. Clash of Clans was another game that engaged a bunch of students and also helped build relationships. No matter where you stand on this issue, you have to recognize that God can use anything to bring people to Him. So why not this?

  27. TYLER

    I am pretty impressed with how much effort you went into to responding to the poeple that challenged you or had questions, usually without being sassy or belittling. That is admirable and I appreciate it!

  28. This is incredible, in just about every way. I love how you’ve articulated this idea so well. I’m writing a blog post for posting soon about this game.

    You have hit the nail on the head here, I believe.

    Great ideas! I’ll be sharing!

  29. John

    To the doubters, it boils down to this.

    When these under or un-churched souls come to the door step of the church, does the sign say Welcome? or No Trespassing?

    Are you sharing the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ or are you turning up your nose and judging them?

    • Indeed – good point!

      Although – I can already picture pastors and church administrators and custodians who have no clue what Pokémon GO is trying to chase off groups of middle school boys and girls from their church lawns…

      Let’s at the VERY least be uninformed.

  30. mICHAEL

    I love this article, its like a dooropening for the kingdom of God for the lost souls!

    God bless you all brothers and sisters in Christ!

  31. Ashley

    I think the game does have witchcraft elements so a church might not want to give Pokemon cards out. There are many articles on how Pokemon has caused seizures in children. I think a greeter and all those things are great. I think this can be a tool to care about people. I think you have to be cautious with it if you are a Christian.

    • This really isn’t accurate. There was one episode of the anime where this happened, but it has nothing to do with witchcraft. It was about the way some lights were flashing. That episode has not been played again. As for elements of witchcraft, it really comes from people who don’t play the game or understand it. I know many many kids who play. I have never seen any of them develop from that any inkling of interest in witchcraft.

    • Precious

      i love that you pointed this out. Pokemon has a lot of demonic elements in it and i can understand why wouldn’t be giving cards. however, i still believe that churches should open their doors to everyone even if its because of a game and actually take the time to make them feel welcome in the house of God. Jesus never rejected anyone.

  32. Thanks for this post and for your ideas. When it all comes down to it – isn’t it really all about common sense? Churches should be places that are welcoming, inclusive and open to any and all that might come through her doors (or on the church grounds). So…let’s just do what Christians and the church are supposed to do – let’s be loving, welcoming and kind.

    I included your post as a link in mine that went live yesterday. Thanks!

  33. Judy Patsch

    This article seems to imply that all Pokemon players are unchurched, which I doubt is the case. I assume your intent was to make suggestions on connecting with those who are unchurched, but it comes off as if everyone who comes to your steps playing Pokemon is unchurched.

    • I hope every player is not unchurched, since our family has been playing the game. 🙂 The intent of the article is to reach the unchurched gamers, not to assume every gamer is unchurched.

  34. Allison

    Our church has been trying (unsuccessfully) to think of some “verbage” to put on our church sign that sits in front of our rural small church to let pokemon players feel invited to not only catch/hunt, but come inside. Any short (60 characters at most) quick, funny quote you can think of to place out front?

About Author

Aaron Earls

Christian. Husband. Daddy. Writer. Online editor for Facts & Trends Magazine. Fan of quick wits, magical wardrobes, brave hobbits, time traveling police boxes & Blue Devils.