The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. -Matthew 13:44
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has long been known for evangelism and missions. Now it may become known for combining Pokemon and evangelism.
From a Baptist Press Article:
Southwestern set off 80 Pokémon "lures" over a two-hour period, drawing roughly 200 people from the community, reflecting Jesus' declaration in Matthew 4:19 that His followers be "fishers of men." Southwesterners engaged the lost with the Gospel and, as a result, six Pokémon players professed faith in Christ.
"Unlike any other time that we have done outreach in either the community or any type of mission trip, this was the rare opportunity where we didn't have to go find people, but they were coming to us," said Joshua Clayton, a master of divinity student who organized the event "to seize the moment and strategically utilize the game for evangelism."
A Gospel tract produced specifically for the event by Southwestern stated, "Hello, Pokémon trainers! You think hunting for Pokémon is exciting? What if you were to find out that you may have just stumbled upon the greatest treasure ever known?"
[SWBTS student Mark] Becker told them about the parable of the treasure in the field from Matthew 13:44 in which a man sold all he had in order to buy a field containing buried treasure, "because what he was getting was so much better."
Becker compared it to trading an entire Pokémon deck for a Magikarp -- a rare Pokémon -- to show that what is lost is nothing compared to what is gained, [Heather] Mentz said. "He told them that [the apostle] Paul said everything was rubbish compared to knowing Christ, and I think they could tell by our excitement and expressions when talking that we meant everything we were saying."
Evangelism instructor Brandon Kiesling, who coordinated Southwestern's evangelism teams, noted, "When there are so many people involved with something like [Pokémon], you can't miss the opportunity to use it for good in some way especially when the people come to us. Why wouldn't you [seize that opportunity]?"
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-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 2, AD 2016.
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