The Robloxian Christians was founded in 2011 as a place for kids on the Roblox gaming platform to pray for one another and talk about their faith online. Over the course of a decade, it transformed into a youth-led virtual church ministry serving upwards of 40,000 young people from over 85 countries.
When TRC was founded, it was the first “online church” on Roblox, and one of the first totally virtual churches in the world. In the time since, for different reasons, many young people have split off to form their own churches and worshipping communities. Today, there are over 120 youth-led online churches on Roblox.
Listen to Episode 7 of the podcast and access the show notes below.
Future Church Insights:
1. Daniel explains what Roblox is and how the church formed.
Roblox is an online gaming community that has grown immensely. It mainly attracts Middle and High School ages, but has also recently begun to draw in older Elementary age youth. Daniel and his friends started the Roboloxian Christians as a space to talk about their faith when online playing different games.
2. Daniel talks about how the Robloxian Church formed from the vulnerability and leadership of young people.
He notes that it was really remarkable that there hasn’t ever been an “older person” leading the church, but it’s all been youth-led. The church experienced incredible growth through the vulnerability and honesty of the youth who participated.
3. Daniel speaks about the impact and importance of online church, pre and post COVID.
He points out that an online ministry is able to reach people that a brick and mortar church wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. That despite the hesitation that some have regarding online churches, there are people an online church reaches that would ordinarily never experience the gospel.
4. Daniel emphasizes the importance of letting youth lead.
Daniel notes that this church has allowed and encouraged young people to interact and explore faith and church in a way that is most comfortable to them. Church is changing and young people interact and have community in ways that the current church structure can’t always reach them.
Goals and Desired Outcomes of The Robloxian Christians
1. Our project is first going to build a new virtual space for The Robloxian Christians Church that is up-to-date with Roblox technology, easy to use and update for seasonal events, has strong run-performance for mobile, tablet, console, and pc-users, and is functional for different types of virtual events.
2. The new virtual space will have API-integrations between our roblox group hub and our community Discord server. Creating a new space for TRC is important not only because the current space is several years behind, but also because as we look towards future leadership transitions, having a steady virtual space will smooth it out.
More of a reader? Download the transcription here.
Key Quotes from the episode from Daniel Herron:
“Churches have young people that are brilliant. Young people are digital natives, they have been on these social platforms that, no offense to older folks, but older folks struggle sometimes to use and use effectively. So, my first thing that I would say is that churches and church leaders should listen to the young people that are in their congregation already.” (19:03)
“I think the thinking is we should empower young people and we should listen to them and hear their voices and equip them to take this upon their themselves to go into these spaces where they are already spending their time and making friends and talking to people and we should equip them and empower them and just support them as they do this and encourage them. I think that all of that really can have an impact, a much greater impact than someone who’s not familiar with the platform coming in and trying to artificially start something.” (21:51)
“I think many churches have learned this during the pandemic that when you’re online, you’re reaching a group of people that you otherwise cannot reach, whether it is your geographic boundary or ability or disability or internationally, there’s a group of people who’s never going to show up in person, who either can’t or won’t or doesn’t want to. You’re able to tap into that online. And, I think that’s something that’s special about our Roblox church is that there are people on here that have made this place their home, their home church, their home community, it’s where their friends are at.” (24:27)
“There is a lot in the media these days about declining numbers in the church, the church broadly evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics, all of them, and all of them experiencing decline especially in youth and younger people. And I know that these numbers can be really discouraging and I’ve talked to a lot of people that it is discouraging and they don’t know the magic solution because there isn’t one, but I would end with a note of encouragement that the future church isn’t going to look the same, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not still going to be a church.” (34:08)