“PokeMon Go” Stops by PUMC!

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in Ministry: Community & Church, Signboard | 0 comments

PokeMon Go…

If you’re reading this word for the first time and are catching yourself saying “POKE man” instead of “Poky Mahn”, read the “Pokemon for dummies” intro below. If you’re an experienced “Pokemon Trainer,” feel free to skip the intro and jump to the meat of this discussion…


“PokeMon for Dummies…”

(Or at least for the Video-Game-Enthusiasm-or-Skills-Challenged)…

The video game “PokeMon Go” has become this summer’s latest rage (it’s pronounced “POKY-Mahn”).  PokeMon Go is a free App that you can install on your cell phone. For years, game maker Nintendo has featured a variety of video games where you collect “items” to help you capture monsters and other things that pop up in a make believe world.  In these “classic games,” you navigate your character around a path on a video screen using buttons or gestures on a touch screen.  You sit in your home or in front of your TV.  But in this new game, you navigate your character along a real time GPS map by actually traveling to the designated locations.

As you gaze into your cell phone while walking along the sidewalk (or while driving… hopefully as a passenger and not as a driver!), your on-screen character walks along a GPS map showing streets and buildings around your actual location. When you encounter a “PokeMon” creature, your phone starts to buzz. When you respond by tapping the phone’s screen, the camera pops into action to reveal an imaginary target appearing in your real world photo.  The PokeMon is sitting on your couch, or on your lawn, or even crawling on your best friend! You can capture the creature by flinging a virtual ball or some other “item” at it.  When you encounter a “PokeStop” in your travels, you can replenish your supply of “Items.”

When you first start the game, you’re given your marching orders:

When the game was programmed, somewhere along the line somebody scanned the GPS world, looking for interesting sights (“Monuments”) that were prominent in a public location.  They designated some of these “Monuments” as “PokeStops”… places where you can collect “Items” to supply your quest in capturing PokeMon.PokeMon Screen-Approach PUMC _IMG_0056 400x300

As it turns out, one of those sites is our church Signboard!

When you get close enough to our signboard (the range extends to inside the church building), you’ll collect items such as “Incense”, “Poke Balls” and “Egg Incubators.” As you try to capture the PokeMon, these items are the ammunition and tools that you need.  You spend them.  They get used up.  And eventually, you need to return to a “PokeStop” in order to replenish your supply.



The Meat of the Discussion…

Which brings us to the spiritual application.  The fact of our church being chosen as place to replenish a “Pokemon PokMon Signboard _IMG_0064Trainer’s” supply of resources is too good an analogy to pass up!  Think about it; you’re out doing “battle” every day, walking through the relationships that form your life.  Conflict is always there.  Some people drag you down.  And yet, some others can support you and lift you up.

Life happens.  In the good and the bad, in the mountaintops and in the valleys we “spend ourselves.”  We loose connection with the things that make us strong.  We begin to doubt and get frustrated and even angry.  In order for life to have Joy and Meaning, we need resources like family and friends.  We need to connect with a purpose in our lives that is more lasting and significant than playing a video game or staring into your phone.

We all need God! 

So isn’t it a cool metaphore that one way in collecting “Items” in a video game is to return to the Church?  Many of us are in the habit of re-connecting with “church family” every Sunday.  Many of us feel the need to continue connecting throughout the week with small group Bible Studies, Prayer Chains, serving in ministries such as worship teams, food pantry, or administration (… or even writing website posts…).  And even outside the church, we need personal habits such as Bible Reading or Prayer to keep us grounded with the source of true life.

Jesus put it this way…

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.  

(John 15:5-8, New Living Translation)


Whether it’s in a video game or in real life, we need to keep replenishing our supply of “Items.”  In Pokemon, you need to return to a “PokeStop” and collect “Incense” and “Poke Balls.”  In real life, you need to keep opening yourself to the Holy Spirit and keep filling your heart with love and faith.


For more on PokeStops:      PokeStops

For Directions to PUMC:      Directions  

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To read about more Signboard Messages:  Signboard







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