I see many things through the lens of the Gospel so seeing how Pokemon relates to our faith isn’t so crazy. But I can’t take total credit for the comparison. This observation came from a pastor I coach in a discussion about the Pokemon Go phenomenon. I don’t play but I understand the game sends players with their smart devices all over the place to find and capture Pokemon "monsters".
So it's been credited with getting young computer gamers outside, discovering their city instead of spending all their time on computers in their homes. One of the popular stations where the Pokemon characters are being placed is in churches. One gamer said that as many as 70% of the landmarks where you collect "monsters" are churches. I saw a tweet that said, what if Pokemon Go is just a conspiracy to get young people to church?
It's ironic that a secular computer game is actually getting people to church. My pastor friend pointed out in our discussion, "it is unfortunate Christians don't have the same enthusiasm and passion to go and make disciples as the Pokemon players do in capturing their 'monsters’". That ignited a discussion about the similarities between Pokemon and the great commission. Think about it. There are a few similarities.
First off, Christians have been given similar instructions as those playing Pokemon. In Matthew 28:18-19 we are told to Go, get out of the church, your house, your comfort zone and travel to identify people, not computer characters but real people, and to share the love of God with them to make disciples. I guess you could say our task is not to capture them but to convert people to faith in Christ.
In Pokemon Go I’m told you can accumulate points or monsters to compete against other players. When we participate in the Great Commission, we also receive something to help us with the task. We receive power from God to help us accomplish His will. Acts 1:8.
In Pokemon you are playing in a fantasy computer world that is integrated with the real world. In the great commission, you are participating in the Kingdom of God, the real world.
Where the comparison ends of course is that the Great Commission is not a game, it is a matter of life and death for eternity for real people.
There may be more similarities. For those Christians who play the game, I'd like to know what you think and if there are other comparisons. One thing for sure, it's a strange and rapidly changing world in which we live.
I'm sure Pokemon is a fun game but I sure wish Christians would get as excited about the Great Commission and spend their time going out into the world to share the Gospel with those who don't know Christ as they do playing a computer game.