Many churches are embracing the popularity of Pokémon Go as a way to strengthen young people's faith in God. The hit mobile game from Niantic is now available in more than 20 countries around the world.
BBC reported City Road Methodist Church in Birmingham is using the game to spread the message of Jesus. After the game became available in the UK, a string of players turned up to the church after it becomes a so-called Pokestop.
Pokestops are landmarks or places in real world that turned into virtual centers for Pokémon Go players. The stops also act as a training ground for the digital monsters. As a way to spread the word of God, Birmingham's City Road Methodist Church invites players for a service with a sign that says "Jesus cares about you".
According to figures published in Telegraph, the augmented reality game has more than 21 million active users in the US alone.
As for the game's impact on Christian faith, Jarrid Wilson of Christian Post weighs in on the issue. He lists 3 things that believers can learn from Pokémon Go.
As the name suggests, Pokémon Go encourages players to go outside to hunt monsters and make friends. Wilson believes Christians spend way too much inside church buildings, and it's time to spread the word of God by reaching out people.
He also cites The Great Commission, where Jesus instructed disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. This is not to say that many Christians are not doing the Great Commission, but Wilson believes there is always room for improvements.
Second, community matters in Pokémon Go. By following the #PokemonGo trend on Twitter, one can easily notice that people all around the world are joining together to talk about the game. In addition, many people are getting to know each other on a personal level even though they haven't met before. Now, imagine that if they are talking about the greatness of God.
When it comes to the Christian life, Wilson says meeting other believers is paramount to spiritual growth and maturity. Also, believers can share insights about God's word through weekly or monthly meetings.
Lastly, Pokémon Go can help Christian leaders look for ways to reach new people. For some reason, Christians have always been perceived of being late when it comes to new technology. Now, when it comes to evangelism, Wilson thinks this is the perfect time to embrace new technology to spread the Gospel.
What are your thoughts about Pokémon Go? Let us know in the comments.