Are you playing Pokemon GO? If you’re not playing it yourself, you likely know a handful of people who are.
Released only last week, this game is making serious headlines. What’s the secret behind this viral game? And how can it help your church?
Glad you asked.
Pokemon GO is an augmented reality video game. Players roam the city in search of digital creatures using their cell phone’s built-in GPS. When a player finds a digital creature, the app displays a live feed from the front facing camera and allows the player to see the digital creature standing before them. Sound strange? At its core, this game is simply a new take on geocaching.
Below is the promotional video—Oh, and it’s already received nearly 29 million views:
But how can this game relate to your church? Fixed locations called “Pokestops” or “Gyms” populate the game. These Pokestops act as virtual stores and gathering places for players. After wandering the town in search of creatures, players need to resupply, and where better than your church?
You might be surprised to hear that a large number of these Pokestops are churches. Before the launch, game developers pre-selected the locations for these virtual shops. Libraries, churches, and some businesses have seen a large influx of people wandering nearby their establishments. Though some find it a nuisance, others embrace the trend by inviting players inside in hopes they become patrons. Do you know if your church is a Pokestop?
Here are some great ideas to leverage your church as a Pokestop:
Set up a Pokestop Greeter.
With so many people playing this game, why not set up a greeter to hang out with people who are roaming your Church’s front steps in search for their next creature? It could be a simple way to invite more people to visit your church. After all, you’re on the cutting edge of technology, right? Finding a volunteer shouldn’t be too tough, our guess is there are already a few people playing the game who already attend your church.
Put Up a Sign!
Don’t have a greeter available? Just put up a simple sign to welcome Pokemon Go players—you could even open a room and invite them in for prayer. Use social media, or announcements to let people know that your church is a safe place to gather and play the game.
Attract more Pokemon = attract more people.
There are other factors that might encourage players to seek and find your church. For example, there are in-game items, aptly named “Lure Modules,” available for purchase that can motivate players. These Lure Modules act like virtual bait and create a “hotspot” for a half-hour where these creatures are more likely to appear. Every player in your vicinity will see the digital bait, and just like the monsters in the game, they come running.
New technologies are often hard to keep up with, but how your church responds to trending technology is a clear sign to this generation that you care enough to speak their language. Is it possible that this new craze could be a creative way to invite people to your church? Is planting bait for digital creatures all that different than offering refreshments in the foyer?