A free smart phone game has hundreds of thousands of gamers standing around in front of churches. The new geolocation game Pokemon Go is a real sensation bypassing Twitter and catching up to Facebook in time spent engaging online. The free app created by the Google spin-off company, Niantic, uses the players’ GPS in the phone to locate where the gamers is and then makes Pokemon appear on the phone screen in real-life locations giving players a chance to “catch” all 151 virtual creatures on the streets of their town. Many Episcopal Churches (including Christ Church Savannah shown at right in a games screen) have learned that they are “PokeStops” and “Gyms” where players can gather in the real world to capture and battle their virtual Pokemon. The only way to find out if you church is in the game is for someone to download the app and to visit your church.
Turning your church into a “charging station” for players is one way to engage with gamers. As it is hot across south Georgia, offering cold water or a chance to come in air conditioning during church hours can be a way to show off your church to folks who may not otherwise find you. While this fad will fade and likely the vast majority of those playing the game will only find themselves standing near a church in their game play, not entering one, the Holy Spirit uses all kind of ways to get folks attention. Doing what you can reasonably to welcome those God brings your way is always a good idea.
The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, Canon to the Ordinary