Three things to consider if you’re playing Pokemon Go
How should Christians respond to this popular new game?
I live in Sydney, quite near the suburb of Rhodes. Rhodes was in the news last week because it was flooded with hundreds of people playing Pokemon Go. Apparently, the grounds of an apartment block in Rhodes are a hotspot for this popular new game, and residents had waterbombed noisy players who invaded the property to catch, train and battle Pokemon.
Even just driving around my suburb I’ve seen countless people playing the game. They’re recognisable as they walk in groups of three or four, staring at their phones, with portable charging cables hanging out of their pockets. The popularity of this game is astounding – it already has more active users each day in the U.S. than Twitter!
For us Christians, it’s really important that we are considerate of the actions we take and the ways we choose to spend our time. So here are a few things to consider if you’re one of many hundreds of millions of people who have started playing Pokemon Go:
Pokemon Go takes up a lot of time. Playing it involves walking around, travelling long distances, and spending many hours in the pursuit of Pokemon. Of course, there are many benefits to the game. People are getting out and about and all the walking is good for them! Many people are hunting Pokemon in groups, and this is a good opportunity for socialising.
But despite its benefits, there’s no denying that Pokemon Go is incredibly time consuming.
A lot of the time, we Christians make excuses for why we haven’t been spending time with God. We haven’t read the Bible because we’re busy with school. We haven’t prayed because we were tired. We haven’t been to church for a few weeks because our friends keep having parties on Sundays.
And yet, somehow, we still are able to make time for activities like going on Facebook, watching TV and… playing Pokemon Go.
Facebook, TV and Pokemon Go are not bad things! Yes, they have their dangers, but if used sensibly and with restraint, these activities are fun, enriching and great for relaxing.
But if you’re making excuses for not having time for God, then something’s gotta give. You can’t stop going to school, or doing your chores. But you can cut back on your leisure activities. If you have time for Pokemon Go, there are no excuses – you have time for God.
An opportunity for evangelism?
If you’re playing Pokemon Go, have you considered the opportunities for evangelism that it might present?
You could go Pokemon hunting with non-Christian friends, and take the chance to ask them what they think about Jesus! You could even tie it in to the game and ask them whether they’ve ever searched for God, or for a greater meaning in life.
Maybe, your church or youth group could put a ‘lure’ on your building to attract Pokemon… and hunters! Some churches have already started doing this, and they’ve been able to welcome new faces to their services as a result. Chat with your minister and see if they’ve considered this!
Perhaps your youth group could run a scavenger hunt event next term, where instead of finding clues or prizes, you find Pokemon. This would be an easy way to get people coming along to youth group, and you could even add a Pokemon-theme evangelistic talk (i.e. “God chooses you, Pikachu!”).
Those people in Rhodes were inconsiderate, rude and they broke the law. If you’re playing Pokemon Go and you’re a Christian, it’s your responsibility to not only follow the law, but also be as loving and kind to the people around you as possible.
Do not enter private property to search for Pokemon, even if you can see that there is a super rare one just over the fence!
Be careful around traffic, and don’t do anything dangerous or risky to yourself or others in pursuit of Pokemon.
Watch where you’re going, try not to run into people when you’re out hunting, and say sorry if you accidentally tread on someone’s toes.
Don’t play Pokemon Go in places where it would be rude, or is forbidden. Don’t play it at school if there are rules against it, and don’t play it in church!
Really, you just need to think before you act. Playing Pokemon Go is a lot of fun, and it has a lot of benefits, so make the most of the popularity of this game to check out your priorities, use it for evangelism and show Jesus’ love to those around you.