Youth Specialties asked this question:
People are hitting the streets because of #PokemonGo and showing up at parks, houses, churches, and businesses all over the place to try and catch em all! Are you or your church a Pokestop? How is your ministry using the game to serve the community (free water, anyone?) or meet people where they’re at?
Here are some interesting responses and 4 Ways to Engage this Craze:
Josh Hardcastle wrote:
We put up a tent and passed out water and snacks to anyone who came onto our campus to grab some poke balls! We also bought some Poke Lures in the game to attract Pokemon and other people.
As they left, we asked if there was anything we could pray for them for. It was cool to get to meet some kids from our neighborhood!
2. Church Sign Pokestop
Adam West (not the one of Batman fame) wrote in:
We put this on our sign, and have passed out water and cookies to people hanging out on the property.
David Chambers wrote in on the YS facebook site: We are doing a pokewalk with the youth group and some of their freinds. Jesus is gonna catch em all.
4. Dare to Share!
Here are some ideas from dare to share. (click on the link to see all of their great resources)
One of the best ways to engage someone playing this game is by simply asking, admiring and admitting. Ask them questions about their experiences with the game. Then find a spiritual segue and ask them what they believe spiritually. Try to identify areas about their beliefs that you can admire and, finally, admit the reason you’re a Christian is that you’re so messed up you need Jesus to save you. Then share the Gospel with them!
Another young leader at Lead THE Cause wrote these words as a reminder for Christian teenagers if they choose to use Pokémon Go for evangelism, “Everyone wants to fill up their Pokédex, be sure you fill your Spirtualdex too with Scripture to share with unbelievers, and understanding the gifts God has given you. Some of your gifts are going to have higher CP (combat power) than others, but don’t give up. It can be hard to be patient on God’s timing of revealing some of those gifts and callings. But just like being still in your pulsing ring brings Pokémon out of hiding, being still before God enables us to hear from him. Personal growth is so important as we continue to share and advance the Gospel. Pokemon Go is a game of personal training and interacting with others. Our faith should be the same. We are disciples, fishers of men and we are trainers with an extra edge, because we battle with the CP (combat power) of the Holy Spirit.”
Of course we need to always be aware about potential safety issues (as there can be with any kinds of social interactions, especially with strangers.) I would encourage teenagers to exercise wisdom and to consider having an adult leader in proximity and tone or two other teenagers with them as they reach out to other Pokémon Go players with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As the Legacy Students reminded us, let’s catch them all…for Christ!
So these were just a few ways to engage with this craze. What do you think of them? What are some ways that your youth ministry engages with the culture to meet students where they are at in the head and their hearts to help bring them to where God wants them to be?