As Episcopalians, we love our slogan, “The Episcopal Church welcomes you!” but how often do we get to trot out our warm welcome? Thanks to the Pokémon Go game that is sweeping the country, lots of people are showing up at our churches – sometimes to play on our lawns and sometimes to go inside to catch Pokémon. What can we, as a church, do to welcome these people who may not have ever been to a church before?
Forward Movement has prepared a simple bulletin insert that you can use in your Sunday service leaflet to educate your church members about this phenomenon and why it matters.
Here are some resources that church leaders can use for their own education or to offer gracious hospitality to Pokémon Go players.
1. Forward Movement has a poster you can print out (or your local copy shop could print it for you in full color and poster sizes). The poster is formatted to fit on 11×17 or ledger. Post outdoors where Pokemon players are congregating.
2. The Washington Post has a fun and informative article, “Come for Jigglypuff, stay for Jesus: Church in the age of Pokémon Go”
3. A blog called The Wardrobe Door offers “8 Ways Churches Can Capitalize On Pokemon Go”. These are really practical tips, and we encourage you to do one or more of the eight suggestions.
4. You can make your own flyers or resources. Create a welcome poster or pamphlet (a light touch is best) with details about your church with the basic message: “We are glad you’re here, and we’d love to welcome you another time!”
If you’re creating your own flyer, you might like to use this text, drafted by the Rev. Kara Slade, Episcopal priest and avid Pokemon Go player:
No matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re a Gym Leader, [insert church name here] welcomes you to our [Pokéstop or Gym]. Make yourself at home and help yourself to all the items you can find and all the Pokémon you can catch. If you take some good photos with the in-game camera, we want to see them too! You can share them with us at [Instagram user id or Twitter id or other electronic contact info].
We love being part of the world of Pokémon, and we’re also a church that loves following Jesus by worshiping God, by living in Christian community with each other, and by loving and serving our neighbors. If you’d like to find out more about who we are and what we do, one place to start is to visit our church website at [address] and www.episcopalchurch.org. But we really hope you’ll visit us in person. Come and see what (and who) we’re about. We’re here every Sunday at [time].
That’s just a sample, and you should feel free to make it sound authentic for your church.
If you have created useful Pokemon resources, please let us know. We’d love to add them to this page to share with others.
If evangelism isn’t fun, we’re not doing it right, so have fun offering Christ’s welcome to all who come.