How Churches can Benefit from Pokémon GO

14th July 2016

First of all, what is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is a mobile and tablet app game which lets players find Pokémon (Animated creatures, first created in the 90's, 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 Pokémon.
The game has been an overnight sensation with millions playing it around the world.

Why does your church need to know?

Real life buildings and landmarks, including most churches, are used in game as PokéStops and Gyms. Players visit PokéStops to collect items they need to play the game. and Gyms to battle their Pokémon.

Pokémon 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 Pokémon Go on your mobile or tablet (through the Play Store on Android or the App Store on iPhone). Through the game you will be able to see if your church is a PokéStop or a Gym.

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

What can your church to do get involved?

Hold a Poképarty to encourage players to visit. If your church is a PokéStop you can increase chances of players attending by attaching a 'Lure Module' and advertising the fact that you will be doing this ahead of time. 'Lure Modules' are in-game items that attract more Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes. They can be collected as rewards for progressing though the game or can be purchased for 100 'Pokécoins' (about £0.79).

Place welcome signs outside: encourage players 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, it’s a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things.

If you are planning on holding a Poképarty, putting up signs or anything similar, let us know by emailing communications@sheffield.anglican.org.

If you are concered about the safeguarding implications of Pokémon GO, the NSPCC have put together a short guide.

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