Judge me if you must - but I am a fan of Pokemon Go!
I eagerly awaited its launch in the UK and, ever since, have been happily capturing Pokemon and storing them. I regularly expanded my storage capacity to accommodate over 600 Pokemon. After all "Gotta Catch 'em all" is a tag line for the Pokemon franchise.
I've enjoyed discovering Pokestops at churches, monuments and places of historical interest. I even discovered some interesting facts about some of the places we visited in Paris this year - Pokemon provides details of Pokestops that can be more fun than official guide books!
This weekend, serving on the staff team at the Church of Scotland's National Youth Assembly, however, I discovered that capturing Pokemon is not enough!
There's more to it - much more to it, than simply capturing!
Pokemon have to evolve.
It's not enough to capture them and store them in an ever expanding facility - they have to evolve to the next (and subsequent) level.
And then, they are equipped for battle in Pokemon Gymns.
Pokemon evolve by being fed Pokemon candy.
Evolving the Pokemon I have already captured has greatly reduced the number I have but has vastly increased their quality and resilience - simply by using the Pokemon candy I had in abundance
I know this is going to make me sound like a geek BUT that immediately struck me as a metaphor for the church.
Often, our goal seems to be capture. To reel folk in, to expand the facilities if necessary, (though that's rarely necessary these days) and to be happy that we've done our bit - When what is really required is to feed people and continue to feed them once they appear on our radar or cross the threshold of our church plants.
Faith is not the destination but just the start of a journey that requires nourishment.
As folk are fed, they grow in faith, they evolve. They become stronger, more equipped for the struggles of faith. And the resources for nourishment are abundant.
Today, I'm giving thanks for connections, physical and spiritual, made through Pokemon Go!