Ministry Leaders Assess Potential for Gospel Outreach in The Metaverse

Photo by Vinicius Amano via Unsplash

Ministry Leaders Assess Potential for Gospel Outreach in The Metaverse

By Movieguide® Staff

To reach audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches relied on live streams and other forms of technology.

Despite the unique circumstances, many churches decided to continue to livestream their services and provide online options after rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 relaxed.

The new form of outreach begs, what is the future of online ministry?

Recently, a new craze hit the tech world with the Metaverse concept. In this digital, virtual reality world, users can interact with one another online.

Life.Church pastor Bobby Gruenewald is curious about the metaverse’s new possibility in terms of outreach.

“We found that the environment was a rich environment for ministry,” Gruenewald said of the livestream era of Life.Church. “When there’s new technologies and new platforms and all the new attention that the metaverse is getting today, we want to be present and we want to learn and understand how we can do ministry in it.”

“We always say if we’re going to reach people that no one else is reaching, we’re going to have to do some things that no one else is doing,” Gruenewald added.

Facebook, which recently rebranded to Meta, helped push the metaverse into the public conversation.

As fashion, gaming, healthcare, and other occupations begin to utilize VR; pastor D.J. Soto asks why can’t the Church?

“There’s been this shift of this fringe technology [and] fringe experience that’s now starting to become mainstream,” Soto, a pioneering pastor who launched VR Church in 2016, told CBN.

“When you start to experience church in the metaverse, you start to see this whole world of forgotten people who want to be a part of a spiritual community — who don’t have a way to be connected to one,” he continued.

Gruenewald and Soto believe that the metaverse could break down emotional walls.

“We, as humans, inherently tend to put up emotional facades,” Gruenewald said. “When you put an avatar on, when you can’t see my face but you can see a representation of me, it does something different. All of a sudden, I feel more comfortable talking about questions that I have about God.”

Gruenewald added that the integration of the metaverse does not act as a replacement for in-person fellowship but offers a unique starting point for evangelism to everyone.

“We are for meeting in buildings,” Gruenewald said. “We also feel like we have these tools available today 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 through our physical environments.”

Soto added: “We’re connecting with people digitally, virtually, [and] over airwaves. And the relationships and the community and the connection [and] the salvation and the discipleship is just as powerful as anything that we’ve seen in the past.”