In case you haven’t heard, virtual reality is quickly growing in popularity and the metaverse virtual world is attracting investors, tech companies including Facebook taking a leading role, and are now even attracting churches to create virtual reality services or campuses to reach more people in more places. This Sunday, with the right equipment and software you too can join a virtual worshipping world, sing, listen to preaching, and join in fellowship in an immersive virtual experience, with real people from all over the world connecting through their digital avatars.
“We’ve found the environment is just a rich environment for ministry, ” explained Bobby Greenwald to CBN News, discussing virtual reality’s opportunity for churches. Greenwald is a pastor at Life.Church and the founder of the YouVersion Bible app. The church now has 39 locations, 1 virtual campus, with headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“If we are going to reach people who no one else is reaching we’re going to have to do some things no one else is doing,” continued Greenwald.
Pastor DJ Soto is another proponent of the technology, having launched VR Church in 2016 as a completely virtual church with no physical location. He believes VR is the future of the church and predicts by 2030, the main campus of every church will be in the metaverse.
“We experienced deep authentic spiritual community in a virtual reality environment,” explained Soto.
Soto shared experiences where people who don’t believe in God come and visit his church and hear the gospel for maybe the first time.
While millions of churches were shut down, Soto explained that their church was able to continue reaching people and give an alternative space for people to connect.
“What’s fascinating about virtual reality church is we never had to shut down, our doors stayed open.”
Soto believes we’re leaving the information age and moving into an experience-based age and is taking the lead in helping churches stay up to date with the latest technology.
Proponents of the technology compare the Metaverse to utilizing new technology to spread the gospel, similar to what Billy Graham did in utilizing TV and radio in his day to spread the message of Christ.
But there are many skeptics to the use of the technology and think it’s a part of the end time mark of the beast.
But churches maintain it’s all about reaching people.
“At Life.Church, we will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll do things no one is doing.”
Greenwald concludes, “We feel like we have these tools that have never been available before in human history that allow us and give us the opportunity to connect and reach people that we otherwise would not be able to reach.”
For those interested in attending a virtual reality church, here are some steps to get started:
- Purchase a Meta VR headset
- Head over to https://altvr.com/guide-section/get-started/
- Download the software
- Locate your event of choice in the Metaverse by searching the app store for AltSpaceVR, download, and create your account.
- Find church services to appear under “Live & Upcoming Events.”