The innovators doing ministry in virtual reality have discovered that evangelistic conversations are easy in the metaverse. One reason is that people will talk about most things in the metaverse. Regardless of what they believe, people don’t seem to have a problem talking about their beliefs in public virtual spaces.
Christianity has a P.R. problem today, and it may need to be solved at the individual level.
From Scripture, we know that scattered seeds do not always produce fruit. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer whose seeds fell on a footpath, in shallow soil, among thorns, and under the hot sun. Only a tiny percentage fell on fertile ground. If all the seeds were equally scattered, then only 20% found suitable soil for growth. Interestingly, only 20% of Americans are active in a church today.
Becoming Missionaries in Our Communities
Does the gospel need to change to become more effective? Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I doubt that’s the case. Some methods may need to adjust as we move evangelism into digital and metaverse spaces. The word “pre-evangelism” has surfaced to describe how we get people to see value in our conversations about Jesus. Christianity, in general, has a P.R. problem today, and it may need to be solved at the individual level. Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson have developed the “B.L.E.S.S.” practices to guide individuals to be missionaries in their communities:
B – Begin in Prayer
L – Listen
E – Eat Together
S – Serve
S – Share My Story
Through B.L.E.S.S., the Ferguson brothers are seeing individuals build relational equity with people in their lives. Note that the evangelism part of B.L.E.S.S. is not at the beginning but at the end (“Share My Story”). You begin developing relationships by listening to people, sharing a meal, and serving others. The expectation is that you have three different interactions with someone before you share your story. Plus, you are praying for the individual upfront. The goal is not to invite someone into a church building but to conversationally share your personal story of Jesus.
The greatest opportunity you have to reach people is already sitting in your pews.
There is only so far that church leaders can go in sharing Jesus. The power, therefore, is not in an organization but with individuals. The greatest opportunity you have to reach people is already sitting in your pews. What if we moved our focus from getting people into the church building to empowering those already attending to build relationships with those around them? What would it look like to equip everyone in your church with B.L.E.S.S.?
Making B.L.E.S.S. the Foundation for Evangelism in the Metaverse
The B.L.E.S.S. framework is groundbreaking in its simplicity of reaching people physically. But what would it look like to utilize B.L.E.S.S. to connect with people in digital and virtual spaces? How can we use digital tools to connect with people who are not physically connected? Imagine how to modify some of the B.L.E.S.S. simple activities to work in the metaverse. For example, there’s not much difference between physically and digitally listening. Obviously, eating together will need to look different. Yet, there are other ways we can create connections and build relationships.
What does evangelism look like in the metaverse? How can we adapt B.L.E.S.S. to work digitally? And, how can your church leverage your best resource, the people in your pews, for the kingdom? Join Dr. John Harris and me as we dive deep into reimagining B.L.E.S.S. practices in digital or metaverse spaces on September 28, 2022, at 12:30 pm EDT at Metaverse Church NEXT.
In June 2000, Jeff led his first online Bible study, taking 75 people from around the world through the book of James using a text-based system called Ultimate BB. He was doing digital ministry way before it was cool. Founding THECHURCH.DIGITAL in 2018, Jeff’s passions have evolved into helping churches (and individuals, too!) find their calling through digital discipleship, releasing people on digital mission, and planting multiplying digital churches. This pursuit will expand as Jeff (and others) create the DigitalChurch.Network, an organic, decentralized network for digital expressions of church globally. Jeff also serves as the director of Metaverse Church NEXT for Leadership Network and works closely with Exponential and other globally facing, multiplication-friendly, gospel-centric organizations. Jeff married his high school sweetheart, Amy, and has two kids and a dog. They live in Miami, Florida.