Jason Poling is creating the first hybrid Virtual Reality and In-Real-Life church. As he is learning how to do hybrid discipleship, he is paving a pathway for both digital and in-real-life disciples being together in the same trainings and experiences via Discord and Zoom. In the past year, God has enabled Jason and his team to plant 4 churches in 4 distinct Metaverse continents: AltspaceVR, VRChat, Discord, and Twitch.
Listen to Episode 9 of the podcast and access the show notes below.
Future Church Insights:
1. Jason explains what a VR Church is.
He explains that the “Metaverse” is a new world with continents and different platforms. Sometimes it’s an on-line game, sometimes it’s a chat feature or streaming platform. He notes that there are a lot of unreached people and continents within the Metaverse that a VR Church is able to reach
2. Jason notes that people show up to VR Church because they want to connect, not to stay anonymous.
He says that most people assume that the Metaverse is populated by people who don’t want real relationships or don’t want to connect. But, they have found the opposite to be true – people often attend the VR Church in more authentic ways than a traditional brick and mortar church.
3. The VR Church is able to reach unreached people.
Jason points out that many who show up to the VR Church would never set foot in a traditional church. But, the VR Ch
Goals and Desired Outcomes of Hybrid VR/In Real Life Church
- Reach more of the lost, Nones, Zer, Millennial yet-to-believers often found in abundance in the Metaverse by planting church communities on all “continents”.
- Develop creative and relevant, yet biblical and historical, methods for discipling and deploying new believers from the Metaverse.
- Connect Metaverse and IRL believers in a genuine “hybrid” community of Christians for mutual encouragement and missional efforts.
More of a reader? Download the transcription here.
Key Quotes from the episode from Jason Poling:
“I have shared the gospel over my time as a minister and I love sharing, but I have shared the gospel more in this last year and a half in the Metaverse than maybe I have in my ministry.” (16:31)
“I mean, and the thing is because this is anonymous, a lot of people… And “”it’s low threat. So when you come to a brick and mortar church, if you’re not a believer, it’s threatening, it’s nerve wracking. They’re not stuck in a building. And so I think that allows a lot of people to come. So we’ve had satanists, we’ve had new age people with Wickens, we’ve had a Muslims, we’ve had the gamut.” (17:33)
“And we’re on this together, reaching all worlds for Jesus…And what’s also too is, we do want to see people get involved in IRL ministry too so a number of them, they came to the VR church and because it was safer, they didn’t understand, they were nervous to go, but anyway, through this, they’ve got an exposure church saying, wow, church is beautiful. I love this.” (31:26)