US pastor says Pokémon Go is 'spawning demons inside your church'

There are already millions of Pokémon Go gamers around the world.Reuters

While churches across the UK and America have been encouraged to welcome Pokémon Go gamers, one US pastor is convinced there is something sinister going on.

Rick Wiles, who also runs the Trunews website, on Monday warned that "these Pokémon creatures are like virtual cyber-demons".

"I believe this thing is a magnet for demonic powers," he said.

According to Right-Wing Watch, Wiles went on to warn: "What is this technology is transferred to Islamic jihadists and Islamic jihadists have an app that shows them where Christians are located geographically?

"The enemy, Satan, is targeting churches with virtual, digital, cyber demons... They're spawning demons inside your church. They're targeting your church with demonic activity. This technology will be used by the enemies of the cross to target, locate, and execute Christians."

Other church leaders are taking the game a little less seriously, however, and are actually enjoying the unexpected boost that Pokémon Go is giving to places of worship.

The wireless geo-location technology used in the game means many "gyms" and "Pokéstops" are church buildings.

Many pastors are reporting that groups of young people are turning up on their doorstops to catch Pokémon and do battle for control of gyms, and it's widely considered a huge evangelism opportunity as there are millions of players around the world.

The Church of England has issued advice to its parishes noting that the game was "giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church".

It says churches can "Place welcome signs outside: encourage them to come inside and offer them drinks and snacks. The game also uses a lot of battery so why not create a battery charging station? If you've got it, let them connect to the church's wifi."

It also advises church members to "Speak to players about the game: learn how to play it yourself, it's a good way to start a conversation that may lead on to other things."