Pokemon Go: Why churches need to know about it

First published 27th July 2016

First of all, what is Pokmon GO?
Pokmon GO is a mobile and tablet app game which lets players find Pokmon (Animated creatures, first created in the 90s, which players have to catch, train and battle with). The game takes place in augmented reality (meaning the game combines real life action with virtual gaming) by using GPS as you walk around towns, cities and other locations to find the Pokmon.

The game has been an overnight sensation with millions playing it around the world.

Why does your church need to know?
Your church might be a PokStop real life buildings and landmarks that players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game. Your church could also be a Gym where players can battle their Pokmon.

Pokmon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church.

How do you know if your church is a Pokestop or a Gym?
Download Pokmon Go on your mobile or tablet. Through the game you will be able to see if your church is a PokStop or a gym.

You might also spot people standing outside the church on their phones who may be playing the game and at your PokStop.

What can your church to do get involved?

Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks. The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you've got it, let them connect to the church's wifi

Speak to players about the game: learn how to play it yourself, its a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things.

Hold a Pokeparty like Christ Church Stone.

Tweet about it: Just like St Stephens Rednal and Hope Church Islington did. Dont forget to use #PokemonGo.

Keeping Safe:The NSPCC has issued advice to parents of those children playing Pokmon GO in the UK. Whilst we would encourage churches to engage with those playing the game, be they adults or children, we also understand the concerns that the NSPCC have raised with regards to keeping children safe. Our first priority as a church should be to provide a safe place for children and vulnerable adults with regards to Pokmon GO.

If you have any concerns in relation to those playing Pokmon GO, please feel free to contact Leanne Smith, Safeguarding Adviser, on leanne.smith@bristoldiocese.org

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