‘And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”And immediately they left their nets and followed him.’
– Mark 1:17-18
Pokémon GO is the new craze. Our Facebook feeds are full of it, our friends are talking about it, and many of us are walking the streets and sitting at parks playing it. How can we do everything – including playing Pokémon GO – for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31)?
I want to suggest that this new craze may be an open door to catch more than just pokémon: it might be a good opportunity to meet people, build relationships and share the gospel.
“Gotta Catch ’em all”
For those who don’t know, Pokémon GO is all about walking around and exploring your local area in order to find Pokémon. The whole point is to catch as many as possible, train some up and take over Gyms by battling other people’s Pokémon. It’s a clever game, it’s got the world talking and it’s made a way for people to meet one another.
“Be Fishers of Men”
When Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow him in Mark 1, he told them that instead of catching fish, he would make them fishers of men. Over the next 3 years he taught them the good news of the kingdom of God that the King (Jesus) had come and God’s promises were about to be fulfilled.
The good news had come: There was now a way for people to be reconciled to God, a way for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus would take them on the cross, dying the death we deserved so that by faith (trusting in Him) we can be forgiven by God, adopted as his children and live our lives for him instead of as slaves to Sin and Death.
Peter, Andrew and the other disciples were to lead the way in telling others about God’s kingdom so that they might be ‘caught’ and become part of this Kingdom. And as we read the bible we see that it didn’t just stop with them – we have the same responsibility – we, like them, are “ambassadors for Christ, God [is] making his appeal through us”. We are to go into the world and tell everyone the good news about Jesus, the true King.
What does this have to do with Pokémon?
Pokémon GO is good news for many people! Jesus bring better news than that, for all people!
Suddenly there’s people walking the streets, sitting at parks and meeting one another. There’s even people deliberately walking past our local churches just so they can get a few more pokéballs or battle whoever is controlling the Gym. Pokémon GO has created a doorway for people to meet one another. It’s created an opportunity for us to build relationships and tell people the good news about Jesus.
How can we, as ambassadors for Christ use Pokémon GO as an opportunity to glorify God and tell people the good news about Jesus? Here are some of my thoughts, if you have others please comment below!
- Enjoy playing Pokémon GO. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the good gifts that God has given us. But don’t stop there: Rejoice in our Amazing, gracious and merciful God who gives us good gifts even though we don’t deserve them, who created the world and gave us the ability to enjoy it. Don’t just enjoy the gift, Rejoice in the Giver!
- Don’t be distracted. Entertainment is good, and we should enjoy what God has given us. But there are far more important things in the world. The point of your life is not catching Pokémon, it should be to live for God’s glory – don’t get distracted from that goal! Don’t get distracted from serving and loving one another and world. Have more passion for Jesus than for Pokémon.
- Be prayerful. Don’t just go catch Pokémon, pray for wisdom to know how to use this game to glorify God and tell people about Him!
- Meet people. Next time your sitting at the local pokéstop and there’s someone else sitting nearby staring at their phone, start a conversation. All it takes is a simple: “Hey, how are you doing? Caught anything good yet”?
- Don’t just be catcher’s of Pokémon, be fishers of Men. Use this new game to build relationships so that you can tell people about Jesus. Make friends and invite them to read the bible with you or to come to church!
We need to be salt and light in a world that is lost. We need to be honest to a world that thinks catching Pokémon is the coolest thing out, telling them that Jesus is better, more satisfying and more worthwhile.
We need to change our priorities so that instead of trying to “catch ’em all”, we start trying to catch people for God’s kingdom so they can know the Way, Truth and Life in Jesus.
How will you use Pokémon GO to do that?