While many people are spiritual and identify as being part of a religion, church attendance has dropped dramatically in recent years. Religions of all kinds are having a hard time getting people into their walls. One church is looking to increase participation by allowing people to attend services from the comfort of their own home via virtual reality.
Meet the VR Church. You (and your avatar) can attend a weekly service with people from around the world at the first church that exists entirely in virtual reality. Instead of being in an old dusty building, the VR Church is a dynamic open world where one week the service could be on a beach and the next a futuristic cloud city.
The VR Church was founded by D.J. Soto in 2017. Originally DJ and his wife created a new apostolic ministry to pioneer churches across America in unusual places. Thinking that they would plant physical churches, they soon realized a new vision to plant churches in virtual reality. The church includes a governing body, leadership, and regular pastors.
“Our sermons are less stage-delivered. They’re more engaging. We want people to really experience the scripture, so I’ll have everyone follow me as we go through the story.” said D.J. Soto.
VR Church Offers Life Groups and Prayer Gatherings
VR Church is accessed via leading virtual reality social platform AltspaceVR. Users can create their own personalized avatar to explore the virtual world. Services are every Sunday at 2 pm and 7:30 pm EST. Along with the weekly services, there are various VR Life Groups, hangouts, and prayer gatherings that meet during the week. If a person is having issues navigating everything, a VR Church Host will provide guidance along the way.
“There are certain conversations that are tough to have in physical churches. And some people who don’t identify with any specific religion may have a hard time finding where they fit in. Let’s have discussions for or against God, and let’s be respectful. Everybody is invited to a VR church,” said Soto.
Virtual Reality Church is All-Inclusive
The best part of the VR Church is that it’s all-inclusive as it accepts people from all religions, those that aren’t that religious and even atheists. Everyone is invited as long as they are respectful.
So far about 150 people a week attend the VR Church. Future plans include expanding to the worlds of Playstation VR, a virtual reality church for Arabic speakers, pop-up experiences in VR arcades and coffee shops, and even a VR Seminary.
“Our mission is to explore and communicate God’s love through virtual reality, augmented reality, and next-generation technologies,” said the VR Church website.