-Rev. Melissa Fain-
Like many people these days I play Pokemon Go. I got into it for the same reason I get into most things in life. Someone I love, in this case my husband, plays it. I wanted to connect to something he connected to. I'm personally on the fence regarding churches being Poke-stops and gyms. I mean, there's this one church's parking lot I know really well, because their sign is a gym. Their sign being a gym has not moved me to want to visit their church. Also, I have less respect for churches that can't set aside a special time and place to worship and petition to God.
At the same time, I roll my eyes when I see church signs that try to be above Pokemon Go. Like there was a church sign I saw: "Jesus can catch them all. It's not a game to him." Please read these next two sentences in mock understanding, dripping with sarcasm. Oh yes, that's totally going to reach out to a secular world. I bet that zinger really had people flocking to their sanctuary.
I'm five Ponyta candy from being able to evolve my Pokemon. What does that have to do with church? Absolutely nothing, and that's okay. As Christians we need to keep a couple of things in mind when we consider what Evangelism means:
What does that mean for us?
Well, Pokemon Go is a fad, and like so many fads it's already starting to die. There's nothing wrong with using fads for sermon illustrations, but using it as a bait and switch will only make those outside your doors angry. Then, in six months it won't matter anyway. A more productive use of our time is to figure out how God is already in our communities and reaching out to that. It will last longer, and will mean more in the end.