What Kid's Ministry Can Learn from Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go...it's taken the world by storm.  One week after going live, the new app had already been downloaded over 15 million times and was number one in the Apple app store.

In case you've been hiding in a cave and just came out, Pokemon Go is a smart phone game that blends real and digital worlds, challenging players to explore their neighborhoods to find creatures and treasure for in-game use.

There are some key things kid's ministry can learn from the Pokemon Go phenomenon.  Let's look at 7.   

Kids have a natural desire to explore.  A big reason the game is appealing is because it gives kids the opportunity to explore and go on an adventure.  It's the thrill of the hunt. 

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Invite kids to go on an adventure with God and His Word.  Use terms like  "exploring" and "adventure" and "seek" and discover."  Incorporate adventure themes into your lessons and events.

Kids love a challenge.  Pokemon Go presents ongoing challenges that kids can conquer.  And when you conquer a challenge, it brings a sense of self-worth, satisfaction, confidence and victory. 

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Challenge kids with ongoing games and contests.  Use challenges to help kids memorize God's Word and grow spiritually.

You can capture kids' attention with the right strategy.  The average person is playing the game 33 minutes a day.  We often talk about how today's kids have short attention spans.  I would respond by saying "their attention span is only short when it's not captivated."  With the right strategies, kids can stay engaged for a longer period of time. 

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Study the game.  What is it that is captivating kids' attention?  I think you'll find it's a combination of everything else that I've talked about here.  How many of these elements can you bring into your lessons and programs?

Kids love to collect things.  Kids love to collect Pokemon...just like they love to collect other things.  You can read more about this in a recent article I posted.

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Provide kids with opportunities to collect things...whether it's Bible collectible cards or pins or some type of small toy that ties into what you're teaching.

Kids love AR.  Pokemon is an augmented-reality game.  It allows you to enter a fantasy world.  AR will continue to grow in the next few years.  It is predicted that by 2018, around 25 million virtual and augmented reality headsets will be sold to consumers.

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Don't just tell kids Bible stories.  Take kids into Bible stories and immerse them into the world of the Bible.  And you don't need a highly developed app to do this.  It can be as simple as using sound effects, props and costumes when you are sharing a Bible story.  Instead of making kids sit and passively listen, invite them to be part of the story by acting it out and participating through active, hands on learning experiences.

Adults will come back to what they loved as kids.  There are just as many, if not more, adults playing Pokemon Go as there are kids.  Know why?  They have a connection with Pokemon that goes all the way back to when they were children.  They played with Pokemon cards, video games and toys when they were kids and they are being drawn back by that connection. 

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  We must constantly remember that what we do in children's ministry is critical.  What we teach and how we model what we teach will impact kids for the rest of their life.  It's also a great reminder that what we do in children's ministry not only bears fruit now in kids' lives, but will also bear fruit in their lives when they are adults.

Pokemon Go can bring kids to you.  Restaurants and other places of business are advertising that they are Pokemon stops.  Recently a Pokemon Go meetup in New York City brought several hundred people to Union Square.  And an estimated 1,200 people showed up at a similar event in Washington Square Park. 

Pokemon Go developers are planning on allowing businesses to sponsor locations.  It is rumored that they are already forging a partnership with McDonald's. 

Kid's Ministry Takeaway:  Could you use Pokemon Go to bring kids to your church?  Check and see if there are any Pokemon hanging around your church.  If so, could you spread the word and use it as a tool to invite kids and families to come?  And if sponsorship comes available, could you purchase some?  Pokemon Go...it could help you catch kids for Christ!