Ministry in the Metaverse
Our creative team was just granted (literally, a $3,000 grant) an opportunity to purchase some VR headsets for exploration of ministry in the metaverse.
I feel like that last line needs some reverb: MINISTRY IN THE METAVERSE-VERSE-verse-ver…
Read Part 1: SHOULD THE CHURCH EMBRACE IN THE METAVERSE?
A few of us participated in VR Church’s “How to build a metaverse church in three days” webinar. The biggest takeaway from that and other conversations so far is that using VR as another streaming platform would be a mistake.
My digital-guru friend Bart Blair of Missional Marketing said it like this, “VR will not be a replacement or substitute for church. Incarnational relationships is what makes the Church. New Tech is a STEP towards incarnational community, and not a substitute for incarnational community. It’s not a unique place to KEEP people, but a place to reach people while they are there as an attempt to direct them to in-person incarnational relationship with your church.”
I think I mostly agree. I tend to believe that VR is making connection and presence in digital worlds more tangible. But, to Bart’s point, I am excited to see virtual reality, the metaverse, the internet at-large and all other digital spaces as training grounds–not to “get people to church” but to help people be better neighbors incarnational to where they live.
Let’s go exploring!
Here are a few ideas that have my team excited:
1. Metaverse prayer boards
Surely there will be public gathering spaces? Instead of building a custom gathering space, integrate presence into public spaces that already exist.
2. Immersive storytelling
We have friends who want to build a community center in El Salvador. How cool would it be to film an exploration in 360 and allow our people to travel without a plane ticket?
(click and drag to explore):
3. Public Access VR bar
Just like libraries have public access internet, we want to use the (above stated) grant money to build a public access point to the metaverse. Not for any reason other than to educate, explore and connect with others.
4. Accepting digital and cryptocurrency
We already live in a cashless society. Might as well figure out crypto-giving.
5. Worship companion app
Or maybe just a discord server text channel. An ungated, open, live chat that every worshiping location can access to connect in real time, from any device, for free. In the very least, we know the Ginghamsburg app in its current form is not what it needs to be.
Do you have ideas, too? I’d love to hear them. Email me or the creative team at firstname.lastname@example.org
OTHER QUICK THOUGHTS:
-I don’t want to be on Facebook anymore. 88% of the reached audience during our last facebook ad campaign (of which we targeted parents ages 25-40) were women over the age of 65. Facebook demographics are trending older. Facebook knows that, too.
-Technology will change again soon. Tech changes are never the end, just a step to what’s next.
-There are lots of smart ideas out there to collect peoples’ data. I’m hazy on what’s ethical and what’s not.
-Weekend worship is starting to feel repetitive and old. No matter how you prepare the taco. Not that I aim to be entertained, but new tech is surfacing fresh innovation. It feels fun again, and fun is important. Life with Jesus should be fun. Challenging, transforming, fun.
–What does VR counseling mean for professional counseling state licensure boards? State-bound licensing is becoming quickly archaic. Isn’t it?
-Yeesh there is so much I don’t know. I’m gonna be busy for years figuring all this stuff out. Happy for anyone to come alongside.
Communication Director | Ginghamsburg Church
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