12 Jul “Gotta Catch ‘Em All- 3 Ways That Pokémon GO Can Help You Share Your Faith” by Eric Heater
I’m afraid I might have an addictive personality. I just downloaded the Pokémon GO app this past weekend, and have already run three 5k’s in an effort to “catch them all”. This augmented reality game connects with your GPS and clock through your phone to follow your location while you play literally anywhere. Everywhere I look I see people playing this game – Families, teenagers, 20 somethings, household pets…
In fact, it’s been reported that Nintendo’s stock has risen by 35% since this games’ release on July 6, and that by July 7, 5.18% of all android users have downloaded this app. 60% of users are averaging an hour a day, and you cannot walk more than a block or so before running into somebody intently looking at their phone.
Now before you go and read all the fear-mongering articles about how Nintendo is trying to read your emails (this has been debunked), or steal all your stuff (probably mostly your time at this point), or start on some rant about the societal downfall due to cellphone usage (sorry, but this is the world we live in now), let me share some of my observations from my weekend journey:
1) Pokémon GO is shattering the established norm for social interactions
I was approached by many people this weekend when I had my phone out, asking if I was playing this game. Where people normally would not interact, we are now blurting out, “Hey, are you playing too?”
2) The community is going outside
If you walk past any public park or shopping center, you will not be able to avoid this game. People are walking around in droves with their phones out, and are actually getting some exercise!
3) It is bringing the community together
The game functions around the goal of collecting different characters and then interacting with other players in “gyms”, which are local hotspots around your town. People gather at these spots and “battle” one another. These locations are becoming very popular, and are a great common denominator to start conversations with your neighbors.
This weekend, I realized that Pokémon GO has the potential to help me connect with my community in a whole new way.
As believers, we always talk about the importance of sharing our faith, and showing our circle of influence the way that Jesus has changed our life. Yet, if you are anything like me, I tend to find this to be difficult to do.
But this weekend, I saw the potential to meet people where they are at, and to start building relationships. This game has opened people up to conversations with total strangers. How much more do you think we can have conversations with the people we already know! And, these conversations are what opens the door for conversations about how Jesus has changed our lives.
The real question is,
How do we leverage our summer to have conversations about Jesus?
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” – Hebrews 10:24
Here are some practical steps (and is in no way an exhaustive list):
1) Invite your neighbors over for dinner this summer
Things tend to slow down in the summer, and this might be just the right time to connect with those neighbors you haven’t met yet.
2) Plan a play date with your kid’s friends from school
Your kids miss their friends, and now you can meet their parents as well!
3) Offer to pray for your co-workers
This one obviously requires a little more of a relationship, but let people know that you care about them.
Now, obviously this game isn’t for everyone, but it’s just one way to better connect with the world around us, and interact with our community. What are some other ways that you can think of to find common ground with those around you? Please share your ideas in the comments!