I have been frequently asked what I think about the new video game Pokemon Go. I didn’t even know what it was, because I’m not into gaming. But it is dominating the news, the internet, and social media, not to mention kids, teens, AND adults. so I have been checking around and here is what I have discovered. You may already know this stuff. But for those who don’t, there are three aspects of Pokemon for parents, pastors, church leaders, and children’s ministers to consider:
1) The spiritual aspect — Is Pokemon Go Evil, Dangerous or Demonic? You have to make that decision yourself. Here are words that a part of the Pokemon culture: pocket monsters who “love to fight,” magic potions and trinkets, the Pokemon eventually sprouting horns, fangs, and talons, as well as gain supernatural powers. Pokémon fight by biting and scratching their opponents.
As they morph, they become more deadly. Depending on their elemental (horoscope like) sign, they may fight by belching fire, psychic attacks, casting spells, spraying poison clouds, crushing moves and crippling mayhem. At this point, they begin to lose their cuteness.The players are supposed to know the magic and energy cards of the game. It is a kill-or-be-killed game.
You make up your own mind for your own family and church culture. If you want to know more about the spiritual ramifications, here are two excellent articles on the subject: Taking a Poke at Pokémon and again here: Is Pokemon Go Evil, Dangerous or Demonic?
2) Are there safety issues for children? Yes, especially if you are going to let your kids play alone. That’s what this video is all about from the Miami Police Department. I suggest you watch it and pay attention.
3) Is there an opportunity here to reach people outside your church congregation, possibly for sharing Christ with them? Yes. In fact, churches are in these games as “Poke-stops.” So strangers may be showing up on your church doorstep completely unexpectedly and uninvited that have been led their by the game.
You have to decide if you are going to be ugly and chase them away while screaming at the devil. Or if you are going to use this as a unique what-was-meant-for-evil-turn-into-good opportunity.
I suggest you leave a good impression of what a Christian is, and then take this encounter to demonstrate what the REAL supernatural is by praying for the ones who are sick, giving prophetic words to these strangers, and showing kindness to people who are hungry for truth—and apparently have a lot of time on their hands!