Multiplication Center

Project: Creating the first hybrid IRL (in-real-life)
and VR (virtual reality) Church
Leader:
Jason Poling

 

Purpose

Our goal is to reach all worlds for Jesus by planting churches that unite Metaverse and Brick-and-Mortar Christians and envision creative ways to make disciples in the digital world.

Project Categories

  • Church Planting and Funding Model
  • Collaborative Methods for Increased Planting
  • Digital Engagement and Technology Models and Methods
  • Disciple Making and Church Engagement
  • Methods and Models for Mobilizing Everyday Missionaries
  • Micro Models and Expressions
  • Other – Innovative, unique projects that may not fit in an identified category but still fulfill our mission of church multiplication

Big Idea and Overview

In the late Spring of 2020, we planted a multi-site campus in one of the VR social platforms. Think of the Metaverse as an entirely new world, and the various VR platforms (like VRChat and AltspaceVR), gaming communities (like Minecraft and WoW), bulletin board servers (like Discord), and streaming platforms (like Twitch) as “continents” on that new world.

We desire to spread the gospel and the community of Christ into all of these unreached continents and people groups. And they are truly unreached. The vast majority of the natives in these tribes are Zers and Millennials who are completely unchurched and tend to view the church in a negative or disinterested sense. There are also many others who are de-churched for various reasons.

From our experience so far, it appears that most of these individuals would have never entered a Brick-and-Mortar church. Therefore, we see it as imperative that we go to them. But we still believe in the power of the local, IRL church. We want to help new Metaverse Christians feel connected to other Christians who may not fully understand the digital world. And we want to help non-digital Christians to see the legitimacy of the Metaverse Mission and learn how they can welcome them into a mutual Hebrews 10:24-25 community that encourages each other and supports each other in the “All Worlds” work of Jesus Christ.

We have since planted a Discord church community at the end of last summer, began a gaming Bible Study in the fall, and launched a second VR church campus on Easter 2021 in another platform/continent. Our Twitch community, that began when we planted the first campus, has also steadily grown in numbers and genuine connectivity.

In just one short year, we have had the opportunity to plant hundreds of
gospel seeds in the hearts and minds of yet-to-believers, developed genuine relationships with scores of Nones, Atheists, Witches, Satanists, and Muslims (even some from closed countries). We have also discovered ministry opportunities in the Autistic community (VR is an easier environment for them to connect in as compared to IRL churches). We have seen a number of salvations and have conducted a couple of baptism services (that were observed in real time in our IRL congregation via Twitch stream).

As we learn how to do hybrid discipleship, we always connect both digital and IRL disciples together in the same trainings and experiences via Discord/ Zoom. Our preaching team and elders and other IRL volunteers often come in to connect with the VR campuses. We share prayer requests together across campuses. We recently had one of our VR worship leaders come and lead worship for our IRL congregation.

And this Fall we are planning to host our first VR/IRL Family Reunion at our Northern California campus. We want to have as many of our VR members come for a weekend to enjoy worship and fellowship with our IRL members. We hope to continue raising up more leaders and planting more campuses and churches. In fact, we just hired our first Metaverse Pastor who is also helping us develop a digital way to connect the discipleship process to a game-type format. We just want to do whatever it takes to reach all worlds for Jesus!! (1 Cor. 9:22)

Customer / Mission Field Context

Think of the Metaverse as an entirely new world, and the various VR platforms (like VRChat and AltspaceVR), gaming communities (like Minecraft and WoW), bulletin board servers (like Discord), and streaming platforms (like Twitch) as “continents” on that new world.

We desire to spread the gospel and the community of Christ into all of these unreached continents and people groups. And they are truly unreached. The vast majority of the natives in these tribes are Zers and Millennials who are completely unchurched and tend to view the Church in a negative or disinterested sense. There are also many others who are de-churched for various reasons.

From our experience so far, it appears that most of these individuals would have never entered a Brick-and-Mortar church. Therefore, we see it as imperative that we go to them. In just one short year, we have had the opportunity to plant hundreds of gospel seeds in the hearts and minds of yet-to-believers, developed genuine relationships with scores of Nones, Atheists, Witches, Satanists, and Muslims (even some from closed countries). We have also discovered ministry opportunities in the Autistic community (VR is an easier environment for them to connect in as compared to IRL churches).

Goals and Desired Outcomes

1. 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”.

2. Develop creative and relevant, yet biblical and historical, methods for discipling and deploying new believers from the Metaverse.

3. Connect Metaverse and IRL believers in a genuine “hybrid” community of Christians for mutual encouragement and missional efforts.

Results and
Impact

In the past year, God has enabled us to:

  • Plant 4 churches in 4 distinct Metaverse Continents (AltspaceVR; VRChat; Discord; Twitch)

  • Start a Bible Study in another Metaverse Continent (Valorant)

  • Plant hundreds of Gospel seeds

  • See scores of individuals take a next step of faith in Jesus Christ

  • Baptize 7 individuals in VR

  • Disciple 4 individuals to launch 4 new small groups in VR

  • Hire first Metaverse Pastor

Media Assets