US megachurch Life Church has started hosting Sunday services on Microsoft’s virtual reality platform AltspaceVR.
The platform offers the opportunity to attend live events and meetups in a virtual space. Usually, a virtual reality headset is needed to join the meetings or to activate the 2D mode on your desktop computer.
In an Instagram post, leader of the church pastor Craig Groeschel said: “One church in multiple locations… Now including #metaverse in @altspacevr! Celebrating those who attended and the two people who decided to follow Jesus! 🙏🏼 Swipe to see. #werejustgettingstarted.”
According to Ryan Sharp, a pastor at Life Church, more than 200 people attended their virtual reality service on 19th December.
“We met people from all over including Brooklyn NY, Indonesia, Russia, Finland, and the UK. Some said they found us from the featured events on AltspaceVR, some said they subscribed to our channel and marked that they were interested in the event,” Pastor Ryan wrote on Instagram.
Life Church prides itself in “pioneering innovations for the global Church” as its YouVersion Bible app has been downloaded more than 500 million times.
A spokeswoman for Life Church told The Roy’s Report: “With recent emphasis on the metaverse, organizations around the globe are taking a closer look how to leverage virtual reality—including the local church.”
“While critics might question if real connections can be made in the metaverse, Life.Church has seen countless lives changed through relationships in digital spaces over the years … people are often more willing to let their guard down and have deep, meaningful conversations more quickly from the safety of anonymity than they are face-to-face,” she continued.
The Life Church metaverse services started on 12th December and will continue meeting virtually every Sunday at 10 am CST.