The Importance of Playing Pokemon

I’ve seen a lot of posts about Pokemon Go and the church in the past couple of weeks, asking how the church can engage with the new, often young, people stopping by our buildings. It finally only hit me: maybe one thing we can do is use Pokemon Go to get us out of our buildings! Maybe we should actually allow ourselves to play.

One of the wonderful things about Pokemon Go is that it gets people out and walking around their communities. But let’s be honest, we are just as likely to find ourselves sitting in our offices as anyone else.  “Did you know that was a Philipino Community Center?” Molly said to me as she collected some potion at a Pokestop nearby. Pokemon Go gives us an opportunity to discover our neighborhoods in a new way.

What if instead of coming up with ways for those elusive young Pokemon Go players to discover us, we stepped out and discovered what’s going on in our neighborhoods and communities.  What if we did this together as a church? What if, for example, we had a Pokemon Go event after worship on Sunday: an hour of play for all ages, followed by a picnic and a chance to share about the new places and people we had discovered.

Or even better, what if we asked the Pokemon Go players we know to tell us what they think we should do.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do with Pokemon Go is turn to the people who are playing and ask them to show us what it’s about. What if we asked them to help us as we fumbled along the street looking for Pokestops and zubats and gyms. What if we let them lead and teach us, get frustrated with us at our lack of ability, and share their enthusiasm with us. What if this had nothing to do with how we use Pokemon Go as a tool to capture Millennials, but how it allows us to connect with one another. 

What if it were fun?