Jigglypuff and Jesus? Churches Nationwide Captured by ‘Pokemon Go’ Game Craze

Poke Church-compressedReports nationwide are outlining how purported churches across the country are being pulled in by one of the latest societal crazes: Pokemon Go, a mobile game that has users on their feet and out on the town in an effort to capture Pokemon characters at various “PokeStops” set by the game’s creators.

Gamers seek to “catch ’em all” as they scout out various Pokemon creatures—some comical, some crabby—such as a Weedle, a Jigglypuff, a Poliwag, a Hypno, a Jynx and Vaporeon. Users may find Pokemon eggs at PokeStops, which will “hatch” when the player walks a certain distance, or they may throw a PokeBall to catch spotted Pokemon.

According to reports, the game, which was rolled out earlier this month, currently has over 7.5 million daily users.

As number of congregations have discovered that they have been set up as “PokeStops” or “gym,” many have decided to play along along with gamers by posting on the signs outside their houses or worship, “Poke stop here!” or “We are a PokeStop. Get supplies outside; find Jesus inside.”

In other words, some assemblies have announced to players, “We’re game.” Christian-identified blogs are consequently posting about how church leaders can use the foot traffic to attract the lost to their assembly or to accommodate existing members.

Aaron Earls of the blog “The Wardrobe Door” wrote on July 11, “You probably don’t want your student pastor spending his entire day playing Pokemon on your front steps, so put up a sign to let players know they can come inside.”

“If it is hot, people will be thankful to step inside and hang out in an air conditioned area while they pick up some items, see what Pokemon are around or battle a gym leader,” he said. “If AC won’t bring someone inside the doors, maybe some free pizza and a soft drink will.”

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Earls suggested that assemblies advertise a set “Pokemon day” at their house of worship.

“Players can come and hang out in the church, get free food, and talk about their latest catches,” he wrote.

Earls also outlined in an article for the Washington Post entitled “Come for Jigglypuff, Stay for Jesus: Church in the Age of Pokémon Go” that Pokemon has become a theme of discussion among members of his church—as well as a potential distraction.

“Before we started our class Sunday, the young adults I teach wanted to talk Pokemon Go. We shared our best catches and embarrassing failures. Before I began the lesson, I joked, ‘Don’t play during class unless you see a rare Pokemon. Then you have to let me know, so I can catch it, too,'” he wrote.

“But for a few, the temptation was too great. They didn’t want to miss any Pokemon that might virtually wander in while we talked Bible,” Earls acknowledged.

Ridge Community Church in Greenville, Wisconsin even distributed a free Pokemon collectible to players during its Thursday night “happy hour.”


But while some believe that Christians should use the cultural phenomenon as an opportunity to build bridges with the unchurched, others note that the biblical Church was never meant to use carnal means to win the lost.

“For the Church to dish out the pablum of the world that can be picked up on every street corner (or in this case, on every mobile device) only serves to diminish the quality, the power, and the integrity of the amazing life-changing truth we have to offer,” Eric Ludy, pastor of the Church at Ellerslie and president of Ellerslie Mission Society in Windsor, Colorado, told Christian News Network.

“The simple rule of thumb is this: If we compete with the world with worldly means, the world will always best us. The Church only wins when it labors God’s way, with God’s truth, power, purity, love and ingenuity,” he said.

Ludy stated that he sees the Pokemon craze as being “emblematic of the current drift of the Christian culture.” And while some professing Christians see frittering away their time playing the game as a personal liberty since they do not consider Pokemon to be intrinsically sinful, Ludy noted that there are much better ways for Christians to spend their fleeting lives.

“Long and short, a maturing Christian doesn’t ask the question, ‘What can I get away with?’ but rather, ‘What can I do to love my God more?'” he explained. “I think many immature Christians right now are seeking to justify their petty addictions instead of allowing some good soul-searching questions to reverberate in their souls. We have one life to live for Jesus Christ. Is this really how we should be spending our time?”

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  • Amos Moses

    Satire ……….

    Nation’s Churchgoers Brace For Flood Of Pokémon GO Sermons

    U.S.—As hit mobile Game Pokémon GO continues to take the nation and the world by storm, American churchgoers reported Friday that they are bracing themselves to endure an onslaught of sermons themed around the phenomenon.

    One church in Atlanta has reportedly already sketched out plans for a “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” sermon series, in which parishioners would be encouraged to evangelize using sermon illustrations, acrostics, and the occasional Bible verse tied to the Pokémon universe. Another church in Florida has announced an exciting sermon series on man’s free will entitled, “I Choose You, Jesus!” according to local news reports.

    “Paul became all things to all people,” one pastor from New York told reporters as he helped decorate the church’s stage as a giant Pokémon Center. “If that means I’ve got to dress up like Pikachu, then by Zapdos, that’s what I’m going to do!” The pastor then reportedly had to run off to help hang a giant Poké Ball from the rafters of the sanctuary.

    Reacting to these reports and countless others, the nation’s Christians confirmed that they are mentally readying themselves for the forthcoming tidal wave of Pokémon references. “They’re coming,” the churchgoers confirmed. “The only question is, how long will they last?”

    At publishing time, the faithful were also preparing for the coming assault of Pokémon GO themed books, with Christian bookstores already marketing a devotional entitled Discipleship—It’s Super Effective! and an inspirational work on self-esteem called Jesus Wants You To Be The Very Best—Like No One Ever Was!

    Babylon Bee ………….

    • Amos Moses

      Satire ……….

      Church Attendance Spikes Nationwide Due To Influx Of Pokémon GO Players

      U.S.—Hit mobile game Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm, and churches are benefiting handsomely from the augmented reality phenomenon.

      According to a survey of America’s churches, 82% reported a substantial spike in attendance as Pokémon GO trainers wandered on and around their properties in order to take advantage of game-boosting Pokéstop buffs and rare Pokémon scattered about their campuses.

      “We just open the doors and let them wander in unaware,” one pastor said. “Then, when they’re busy catching a Pokémon or taking advantage of our Pokéstop module, we lock the doors behind them and fire up the worship songs. Poor guys don’t know what hit ’em until it’s too late.”

      Other churches reported using strategies like holding special community groups focused on helping players catch rare and high-level Pokémon in their area, promising in-game items and buffs for players who make a decision for Christ, and shutting down Sunday services to allow members and visitors more time to catch the virtual pocket monsters.

      Another pastor was just happy the Christian message was being heard, no matter what the means. “We’re excited that people are encountering the gospel through—wait, hang on, there’s a Charmander over there—gotta go!”

      Babylon Bee ………….

      • Amos Moses

        Satire ……….

        Preacher Wanders Away From Pulpit To Catch Pokémon

        CLEVELAND, OH—According to sources within Second Baptist Church of Cleveland, Teaching Pastor John Walton abandoned his key sermon point and wandered away from the pulpit in order to catch a Pokémon for his Pokémon GO collection Sunday morning.

        Walton had reportedly begun a passionate plea for his congregation to focus on Christ, preaching that “knowing Jesus is everything—all else is just details.” But as he began to expound on his point, carefully exegeting the third chapter of Philippians, he suddenly trailed off and muttered that he had to “take care of something real quick” before walking briskly out the side door while staring at his phone, leaving the congregation stunned and confused.

        Bewildered parishioners peered out the church’s windows to spot Pastor John with his smartphone extended, frantically swiping at the screen to throw Poké Balls at what turned out to be the fire-type Pokémon Growlithe.

        Once the virtual monster was caught, Walton performed a brief victory dance before sprinting back to the pulpit and picking up where he left off, according to eyewitnesses.

        “Now where was I?” he reportedly preached to his flummoxed flock. “Ah right—considering all things as loss when compared with Christ; let’s get right back to it then.”

        Babylon Bee ………….

  • Amos Moses

    So instead of “exegeting” movies ……….. the false teachers will now move to “exegeting” Pokemon ………… SMH ………….

  • brine

    “The simple rule of thumb is this: If we compete with the world with worldly means, the world will always best us. The Church only wins when it labors God’s way, with God’s truth, power, purity, love and ingenuity,” he said.

    Somewhere along the lines ‘the church’ has thought that God’s command to preach the Word and to be salt and light is not enough…too divisive ‘they say’…’lacks compassion’ they say. ‘Not enough to keep them, you have to entertain them’ or they ‘will be stuck in the world and won’t listen to anything’ they say. So we bring the world into what is supposed to be a Holy Assembly. Compromisers think that you mix the Word in to the world like you try to hide a vitamin in applesauce to give to children. And we are definitely reaping what has been sown. A mixed multitude now lives and dictates direction making for a carnal congregation with no power and a Formica veneered ‘Christianity that ‘draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope’. So long as we feel we are at least 6 inches from the world then God must be pretty pleased with us. God help us…

    • hytre64

      Well said. It sounds like the definition of a “Seeker Friendly” church

    • Chet

      Great post!…

  • hytre64

    “Long and short, a maturing Christian doesn’t ask the question, ‘What can I get away with?’ but rather, ‘What can I do to love my God more?’” he explained. “I think many immature Christians right now are seeking to justify their petty addictions instead of allowing some good soul-searching questions to reverberate in their souls. We have one life to live for Jesus Christ. Is this really how we should be spending our time?”

    Very well said Pastor Ludy

  • http://HisPlaceDanville.com Stephen Anderson

    1) People chasing “Pokemon” are not seeking salvation from sin.
    2) Churches that follow the fads of the world don’t even know what the Gospel is.
    3) The Father will draw those He has chosen to a place they can hear His Gospel.

  • Reason2012

    Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

  • Hum Dinger

    Churches, locker rooms etc…are insane to let people play this game in their buildings. This game uses new technology, that can be very dangerous. First of all, everywhere you go with this game, you are filming your locations, and sending the images back to the host. That means people and businesses are being filmed without their knowledge or consent. The user isn’t purposely filming. It is the nature of the game. Everywhere they go, they are providing surveillance for the host, and scouting for new pokeman locations. Imagine if some terrorist hacked into the host? They could use info to scope out attacks, know where your children’s bedrooms, exits and entrances are. Take it further…What if terrorists use the tech to unite operatives around the world. Instead of catching pokeman, they could place targets in any given town. The technology could lead perp to any victim. I also don’t think it is a coincidence that churches are targeted. Wake up! “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.