Pooler pastor sees outreach opportunity in Pokemon Go

First Presbyterian Church of Pooler Pastor John Fender said there's an outreach opportunity in Pokemon Go.

A Pooler pastor was surprised when dozens of young adults wandered through his church parking lot Tuesday.
He soon found out– the church was home of Pokémon.
Instead of scoff at it, he said he sees a window of opportunity.
It’s big kid tested and mother-approved.
“He’s asking to get up and go places,” mother Melissa Brown said.
The game that’s getting people out and about is now making a Presbyterian church pastor consider a whole new avenue of outreach.
“Part of me is confused but part says, ‘what an opportunity,” Pastor John Fender said.
Fender snapped a photo Tuesday to show his Facebook friends what was happening outside First Presbyterian Church of Pooler.
“We had to go ask what they were doing and sure enough they were playing Pokémon Go,” Fender said.
Instead of shooing them off the property- he recognized an opportunity to connect.
“We’re trying to not insert ourselves into Pokémon, that’s not the church’s desire but by the way the game is set up- we have been inserted into it,” Fender said.
“You have these largely under 30 males coming to church for the first time,” he added.
The pastor estimates about 40 cars a day are pulling through the church and he just wants to find a way to get them to park so he can become part of their experience.
Fender feels like his congregation is a perfect fit for the gaming demographic, but hopes all church leaders will catch on to what’s happening —and get into the game.
“My hope would be that we wouldn’t scoff at them or make fun of them but engage, say that which you’re seeking is ultimately found not outside the church in a game but inside the church in the story that’s told here.”
It’s too early to tell if this game is going to turn into a growing church attendance but Fender said he is not above giving it a try.

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