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How Your Church Can Be a PokeStop or Gym for Pokémon GO, and What To Do If It Already Is

( [email protected] ) Sep 15, 2016 06:08 AM EDT
When Pokémon GO first started, players were surprised to find important Pokestops (where players can find Pokémon items and experience points) and Gyms (places where Pokémon can train or fight) in strange places.  Several of these places were churches, but why is it that the game has put their landmark there?  Not only that, can a church request to make their church a Pokémon landmark?
A lot of churches are Pokestops and Gyms, can yours be one of them? Vocm

When Pokémon GO first started, players were surprised to find important Pokestops (where players can find Pokémon items and experience points) and Gyms (places where Pokémon can train or fight) in strange places.  Several of these places were churches, but why is it that the game has put their landmark there?  Not only that, can a church request to make their church a Pokémon landmark?   

I'll answer this question with another question.  So why in the world is there Pokémon GO stops at certain locations, and not at others?  According to Games Radar, this is because Niantic Labs, the studio that partnered with the Pokémon company to create the location-based game, partnered with Google to harness the power of Google Maps in their game.  It is the same technology used in Niantic's own game of Ingress. 

Most of the time, the locations are chosen based on sites with historical or cultural significance, so it is no surprise to find a Pokémon GO Gym or Pokestop at the Washington Monument.  As for other locations, they were chosen based on geo-tagged photos from Google.  Not only that, several of the portals were submitted as suggestions by Ingress players, and there were about 15 million player-submitted portal locations, with only one third being approved. 

So, why is it that some churches are Pokémon GO landmarks and some are not?  Well, there is a Niantic submission form that allows anyone to make a request for their particular landmark to become either a Gym or a Pokestop. 

The issue is that when Pokémon GO first arrived, it quickly became a sweep-the-world sensation.  As a result, Niantic became overloaded with Pokémon GO submissions.  Bustle reported that at first, any request for a Pokestop will result with an automated response of "please try visiting a local park or other interesting or historical locations in your community". 

That news about requesting Pokestops or Gyms at your locations is two months old.  However, the submission form hasn't really changed since then.  It is possible that Pokémon GO will get their act together and figure out a way to make this more systematic, so a request can be handled in...less than two months. 

If your church is already a Pokémon landmark, it is suggested by Illustrated Children's Ministry that you take advantage of the situation by welcoming those who stop by.  It isn't a time to give out religious tracts or assume that your church will grow, but a way to be friendly to the community without having an agenda. 

There is also another way to bring Pokémon GO to your church.  If you know Pokémon GO, then you already know about the power of Lure Module.  A Lure Module is a way to attract Pokémon to a location, so they can be captured by Pokémon players within range, but they only last a half-hour.  If you want to, you can plant a few lures on Sunday morning, preferably after the service. 

Just one Lure Module costs 100 Pokecoins, with 8 Lure Modules costing 680.  Don't have any Pokecoins?  Just use real money as 100 Pokecoins cost $0.99, and 550 Pokecoins cost $4.99, The more real money you spend, the more Pokecoins you can get.