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Dandelions and Pokemon

7 years ago written by

What do dandelions and Pokemon Go have in common?

A dandelion is a weed or a flower (depending on your perspective), and Pokemon Go is a video game for your mobile device. Other than prominent display of the color yellow, you may not see any similarity. Yet I started thinking about both while editing this issue of Light + Life and its “multiplication” theme.

I’ve fought dandelions this year with limited success. My yard featured a sea of yellow too abundant to eradicate by my hands, and my lawnmower only kept the dandelions at bay for a couple of days. I decided to use a spray that attached to a garden hose. Alas, the water seemed more powerful than the poison, because the dandelions grew even bigger after the treatment. Most of the dandelions eventually disappeared, but a few months later, dandelions are suddenly cropping up again. Whether you love dandelions (as my 8-year-old son does) or hate them (as my neighbor does), you must respect their ability to multiply.

I’ve never actually played Pokemon Go. I get enough excitement finding my glasses, wallet and keys each morning, so I don’t need to spend time capturing virtual creatures. Then again, I just read that the game’s average user earns $90,000 a year (, so maybe I should start.

Although the “augmented reality” creatures aren’t apparent unless you’re looking with the help of a screen, they’re still multiplying. The game reportedly is the most popular mobile app in U.S. history. Pokemon Go has people walking and riding their bikes while waving their phones. Players are approaching church buildings (and the Free Methodist World Ministries Center where I work) because most churches are labeled as “gyms” in the game. I won’t take the space to explain exactly what that means, but I’ve learned via social media that the game has led to conversations between church employees and people who would not normally step onto church property.

We can’t expect everyone to walk up to our churches, however. We must “go” as both the game’s title and Jesus have instructed us. If we want to reach the same people (average age: 25) as the game, we’re going to need to “multiply ministries” (

In this issue, we’ll learn from top multiplication experts. Read the wisdom of Bishop Matthew Thomas, who’s overseeing the Free Methodist Church’s national church planting efforts. Thomas founded Timberview Church, whose members include Suzanne Niles about whom you’ll read in this issue’s News section. Feature author Larry Walkemeyer is a multiplication master who’s a regular speaker at the Exponential church multiplication conferences. (Read more about one of his congregation’s many ministries in the News section.) One of the many churches that Walkemeyer’s congregation helped start is the Chapel of Change led by Action section author Brian Warth, who has been featured on national television shows. Experienced church planter and multiplication strategist Jason Garcia shares his wisdom about when it’s time to recalibrate.

You may not be able to catch all of the Pokemon characters or pluck all of your dandelions, but you can catch a vision for multiplication. Keep reading, and keep multiplying.

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