Church in the Metaverse

Church Tech feat. Frank Barry and Dean Sweetman
Church in the Metaverse with Frank Barry and Dean Sweetman from the Church Tech Podcast

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Church in the Metaverse

With all the buzz surrounding the word ‘metaverse’ and news of companies like Facebook investing in its development, many people wonder how it will impact the church. 

One question that may be on the minds of many people in leadership positions in churches and other spiritual communities is whether they should hop aboard this next wave of technology or avoid it for fear that it will put them at risk.

The answer to this question is not as cut-and-dried as it might seem. For starters, there are some clear benefits to embracing new technology: for one thing, it can help us engage our congregants in ways that were previously impossible. 

But there are also risks associated with this technology—especially when it comes to how it may impact our faith and practices. 

We believe that there is a lot to be said about the power of face-to-face interaction and interaction within communities. 

In fact, the metaverse can play a significant role in helping us create communities that allow us to come together and share ideas, but is it right for every church? How can it be used effectively while maintaining faithfulness?

We invite you to join this episode as we explore these questions in more detail and discuss how the metaverse might affect your church community. Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry will talk about what they think about using the metaverse for ministry, how it might work best in your church, and what potential pitfalls could arise from implementing this new approach.

“The church has to stay committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations, and having the miracle that is the kingdom of God on the earth.”
-Dean Sweetman

Dean is the co-founder and CEO of Tithe.ly. Before launching Tithe.ly, Dean was involved in ministry for more than 30 years. 

Frank is a founding Executive Team member and COO at Tithe.ly. Prior to being at Tithe.ly, Frank spent nearly 15 years helping churches, charities, and nonprofit organizations leverage technology to advance their mission. 

This podcast is the ideal resource for church leaders and administrators to help you understand the human, technological and ethical implications of virtual reality and the metaverse. So be sure to listen and learn how these virtual worlds can impact the church!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • What is the metaverse
  • How virtual reality can be used in church
  • How virtual reality churches will work in the future
  • The pros & cons of the metaverse
  • How to reach the young generation through virtual worlds

Resources Mentioned:

Know more about Tithe.ly: get.tithe.ly
Follow Tithe.ly on Instagram: tithe.ly
Follow Tithe.ly on Twitter: tithe.ly
Like Tithe.ly on Facebook: @tithelyapp

Other Episodes You May be Interested In:

What is Church Tech?
The Line Between In-person & Online Church

How Churches Can Become More Effective Online with Trey Van Camp

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[101:27] If we believe that the Christian journey is not just finding Jesus, it is actually growing in my faith. 

[11:56] I think it's going to help you reach younger people just naturally not because younger people don't go to church in the building necessarily, but because digital natives younger folks grow up digitally.

[15:48] The great friendships I built and connections have been with people I've met and developed a relationship with within the physical world. And that, that, to me, is irreplaceable.

[17:16] The church has to say committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations, and having the miracle that is the kingdom of God on the earth.

[20:29] When it comes to growing in your faith and doing it with a community of believers, you can't skip that stuff. It's kind of like fundamental to growing as a Christian,

[26:25] Metaverse or online helps, but I don't think it can replace human interaction.

podcast transcript

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Dean Sweetman (00:00):

There's just something about meeting a guy your first time or your mates and you just shake hands. It's a cool thing. Look, meta will never replace those things. If it's an entry point, if it's an evangelistic opportunity, if it's a way to help people that can't get the physical, awesome. But I think the church beyond the fad of the whole thing, the church has to stay committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations and having the miracle that is the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Frank Barry (00:37):

All right, here we go. Podcast, episode number three.

Dean Sweetman (00:41):

Let's do this. Pumped.

Frank Barry (00:43):

It's going to be good. Episode number two, we talked about church online.

Dean Sweetman (00:49):

Yep.

Frank Barry (00:50):

And another big topic that is pretty big been in the news. They changed their name for it, and it's church in the metaverse.

Dean Sweetman (00:59):

Church in the Metaverse. Frank, what is the metaverse? Can you tell me what that is first?

Frank Barry (01:08):

I don't even know if this makes any sense or if people care, but this is the second time we're recording this episode because-

Dean Sweetman (01:16):

Our journey to the metaverse got-

Frank Barry (01:17):

... Our journey to the metaverse didn't happen.

Dean Sweetman (01:18):

... Something happened.

Frank Barry (01:19):

It didn't work the first time.

Dean Sweetman (01:19):

There was a crack in the matrix.

Frank Barry (01:21):

So it would be fascinating to recover those files and listen to them and see if what we talk about today is the same. But yeah, I mean, the metaverse. We did an episode on church online, and I think from our perspective church online and church in the metaverse are kind of similar things, right?

Dean Sweetman (01:41):

Yeah.

Frank Barry (01:41):

But I know you went down the path of Web 3.0 and kind of what that is, and you maybe can rattle on that a little bit. But church on the metaverse is like church with goggles, remember? I think that's what you said.

Dean Sweetman (01:54):

Oh, yeah. So-

Frank Barry (01:54):

Church with goggles. It was-

Dean Sweetman (01:56):

... Church with goggles. I do remember.

Frank Barry (01:57):

... So officially, you get credit for that. I said it first, but you actually said it first in the episode of that-

Dean Sweetman (02:03):

Metaverse church is church with goggles. So, I got my headset on.

Frank Barry (02:07):

... I got my headset on.

Dean Sweetman (02:08):

Which I have not done yet. I'm going to buy a pair. I got to see what's going on.

Frank Barry (02:11):

Yeah, I feel like that's the next step is to go [crosstalk 00:02:14].

Dean Sweetman (02:13):

That is the next step. And you have to buy the Oculus. That's the only one to get.

Frank Barry (02:19):

That's the only one I know about that-

Dean Sweetman (02:20):

I think there's others, but that's the best one. Which means I'm in Zuckerberg universe, which don't really enjoy living in his universe, but that's okay. And so I'm going to get my goggles-

Frank Barry (02:30):

... That's why he changed Facebook to Meta.

Dean Sweetman (02:33):

... Exactly.

Frank Barry (02:34):

It's supposed to be more... I don't know, more inclusive of everybody now. Not just the walled garden of Facebook.

Dean Sweetman (02:41):

Well, look, as a business move, it's pretty risky. He's betting the whole company on and he's burning billions of dollars in cash to go all in on Metaverse. I'm impressed with that. So I get my goggles on and somehow I'm in. I'm walking along a street and then there's this beautiful church. And there's other people on the street maybe, and maybe you and I are mates in the metaverse, 'cause we're getting notice of that.

Frank Barry (03:07):

Yeah, you get notification that buddies are online.

Dean Sweetman (03:10):

And I'm like, "Hey, Frank, Dre and the three boys, hey, let's go to church together." And we literally go and walk in the church. Is that what it is?

Frank Barry (03:19):

Apparently, yes. That's what it is. So you're in your house or you're in your car or you're at Starbucks. You're not in a physical building or a physical-

Dean Sweetman (03:33):

I bought my Nikes that I'm wearing and I got my Nike hat on or something.

Frank Barry (03:39):

... Well, yeah, 'cause you're just in a virtual world. So you've got goggles on, you're wherever you are, but you're not necessarily in physical human contact with other people at church you're in this digital world. And they got worship going on, and they got someone preaching, and they got greeters and all the things, but it's just all virtual. So you're experiencing it all digitally, which is fascinating. And it's also not, I know we touched on this a little bit, it's not like the very first virtual world that became anything was second life.

Dean Sweetman (04:16):

Way back in the day. I remember it.

Frank Barry (04:17):

That was 2003, 2002, somewhere back then so a long time. I think it's still around. I mean, they got up to 10 or 20 million users-

Dean Sweetman (04:28):

Wow.

Frank Barry (04:29):

... coming in everyday. And I'm not quite sure how they did that. I don't think there was VR, but maybe there was. I never got into it personally.

Dean Sweetman (04:37):

It was like a 3D screen from memory.

Frank Barry (04:39):

Yeah, okay, 3D.

Dean Sweetman (04:40):

You just used a mouse or arrows and you just kind of moved around.

Frank Barry (04:43):

Got it, yeah.

Dean Sweetman (04:45):

But this is more global now.

Frank Barry (04:47):

Yeah, now we're in Web 3.0 version of it with virtual reality and churches are giving a go. Life Church launched somewhere around Easter or something like that. They did a big service. There's a big, I don't remember his name, but there is a guy that was at a big church, decided to go plant a church. And in that process, this is a few years back, instead of planting a physical location in the real world, in the universe, he planted a church in the metaverse and went all church online, and it's exploded.

Dean Sweetman (05:27):

There's plenty of that actually. Actually, I talked to one of our customers once and I can't remember the context, but he's like, "Yeah, I only do online ministry, and that's what I do." And he was more of a teacher than say a pastor. So we're going to get back to the same thing a little bit. So, okay, if I was pastoring today, would I set up a church in the metaverse? 1,000% yes, I would. I would have my guys and I'm going to go like, "Go and work it out. We're doing this." I would do that. But then I think we're going to... The intersection of, what is church-

Frank Barry (06:03):

And then you'd be on stage physically on Sunday, in the building with real people, but everybody there would have VR goggles on.

Dean Sweetman (06:14):

Was that-

Frank Barry (06:16):

No, I'm just saying, this is blending it all together. 'Cause now you got churches physically happening with real people, but they're all in the metaverse so you're just putting it all together. You'd be on stage preaching with goggles on.

Dean Sweetman (06:29):

You just blew my mind then. I can't even go there. Let's just come back one notch from that. I've got my avatar, and I'm preaching, and people are coming in. I get it. I, 1,000% get it all. The music, I get. Maybe you're giving via NFT. I get it.

Frank Barry (06:48):

Bitcoin.

Dean Sweetman (06:48):

But the same question comes up about our discussion on online church. At what point is this biblical church? And everyone's got all their interpretations, so if you're going to criticize us, that's fine. We're just asking the questions.

Frank Barry (07:06):

Well, let's talk about the benefits first. 'Cause I think this is a little bit I think what we did when it didn't get recorded was, what are benefits? And then we'll talk about some of the challenges or struggles. So, what's the big benefit? Why would you do it if you were still a pastor leading a church?

Dean Sweetman (07:24):

Beyond just the gimmicky of wanting to be first in the metaverse with the church?

Frank Barry (07:27):

Yeah, right.

Dean Sweetman (07:29):

Okay, well, as with online, I could reach people that couldn't be in the building physically. So maybe people who are sick, people who are older, people who are traveling, all the same audience. So I'm solving that problem, and maybe it's a much better experience because they're not just watching the screen and listening to the sermon. We do chat and prayer in our kind of products when we do that for churches, but maybe this is a 10 times better experience, but I'm essentially doing the same thing. I'm providing a church opportunity to potentially worship though it's kind of lame, worship online might be better. Well, that's the thing. Could worship be a more immersive experience in the metaverse than just-

Frank Barry (08:14):

I mean, I think it is again, not speaking from experience, but just the fact that you're in this VR world. I've done some VR stuff, really basic stuff, and it's pretty amazing. You put these things on and you feel like you're there.

Dean Sweetman (08:29):

... So maybe meta's better than online because we... I think we talked about the power of corporate worship, how beautiful that is. Sensing the Holy Spirit as you're worshiping with a bunch of people. I've never had the same feeling doing that by myself as when I'm doing it in a crowd of people whether it be 100 or 10,000. So maybe worship is much, much better with the goggles.

Frank Barry (08:53):

Than church online, yeah, absolutely. And look, I think fundamentally doing church online, doing church in the metaverse is going to help you reach more people.

Dean Sweetman (09:05):

So that's when we get to this really, why am I going to do this? Is this going to be, and we settled in on evangelism online, gateway, try before you buy experience, get to know all that.

Frank Barry (09:20):

Yeah. Serving the people, like you said, that may not be able to be in the building for a bunch of reasons. It could be mental stuff, it could be physical stuff, it could be sickness, it could be some kind of disease or physical limitation. It could be-

Dean Sweetman (09:33):

Age.

Frank Barry (09:33):

... Yeah, it could be age, it could be travel, it could be coronavirus. There's all these things that your current church members can't get into the building. And then there's reaching other people that might connect with the person who's teaching. Maybe they just find you online or find you in the metaverse and they're somehow drawn to your style or something like that. Or you're good at being found in the metaverse, however that works. So you have this opportunity to reach people that you couldn't reach in your local community

Dean Sweetman (10:08):

100%. So Jake, my son, they're stuff online. They're getting people from all over the world watching, so that's kind of cool. They have a lot of people that can't get to church in LA watching. But at some point, if we believe that the Christian journey is not just finding Jesus, it is actually growing in my faith, and if we believe what the Bible says about coming together for corporate worship, eating together, breaking bread, listening to the Word, at some point, the meta... If I was on the meta, I'd be saying, "Hey, if you're here today, it's so great to have you. If you're in 10 miles of out where we are doing church, we'd love to see you next Sunday." I would say that every time.

Frank Barry (10:59):

Yeah, absolutely. We're [crosstalk 00:11:02] something that connects them to people in the church.

Dean Sweetman (11:06):

Or maybe you have a meta church party, of all the meta church gatherers and you do a real, live and it's just for them. You could think of a ton of ways to do it, but there's no way I wouldn't make an appeal if you are in my meta meeting that I wouldn't want to meet you face to face, shake your hand, and break bread with you.

Frank Barry (11:28):

And I think there's a few other things that come to mind, so planting churches. Again, it's kind of an evangelism thing. It's a-

Dean Sweetman (11:36):

Totally.

Frank Barry (11:37):

... But planting churches in the digital world is easier than planting... Easier in some ways. It's probably not easier in every single way, but there's certain things about it that are easier.

Dean Sweetman (11:47):

Not much to set up. Not in [crosstalk 00:11:50].

Frank Barry (11:50):

Cost effective. I'm sure costs way less to do that. And I think it's going to help you reach younger people just naturally. Not because younger people don't go to church in the building necessarily, but because digital natives, younger folks grow up digitally, are growing up digitally. It's going to be normal to them. My kids, they play Roblox and Minecraft and these games that are not necessarily full metaverse VR, but they're interacting with friends in these digital spaces, so it's so normal for them.

Dean Sweetman (12:30):

It is. Video games.

Frank Barry (12:33):

Absolutely.

Dean Sweetman (12:34):

Those, what are they called? Those mass-user type games where you're on there with all these people, and shooting stuff, and building stuff, and all that kind of stuff. You're right, I've a grandson, who's eight. Your boys are 10, so it's pretty similar. And just watching how he interacts with devices, and it's just astounding. And so really good point, reaching younger people could be one of the main ways in which you take hold of this technology and use it for good is preaching the good news to young people. Absolutely. I love that.

Frank Barry (13:08):

Yeah, and opening people up. I think there's the anonymity. That is also a negative, I think, but in some respects can be a positive in the sense of connecting with people and then opening up. There's probably also a good side of, I feel safer, so I'm willing to maybe open up a little bit more because I don't, it's...

Dean Sweetman (13:32):

That's kind of interesting because if you think about, if the metaverse could do just about everything in real life does. Think about going to see a counselor or going to a pastor or a therapist, and maybe that's a better experience than Zoom or in person because people are embarrassed about their stuff. So ministry, we're going to work it out as we go, but you could do some really effective ministry in the meta that makes it a little better than just on a screen. That could be really effective.

Frank Barry (14:05):

Yeah, totally. So these are all these pros, positives to church online and even better version of church online, church in the metaverse that are good. But circling back to your point, but you're still not with people. You're not actually with people. And this is where people who are way smarter than me like theologians studying the scripture and all this kind of stuff, is this the church that Jesus started? Does it look like this, feel like this?

Dean Sweetman (14:44):

So you think back to all the relationships that are special to you, and you've been going to church for a long time. And the deepest friendships that you've built over the last 20 years of your life, where have they been?

Frank Barry (14:57):

Yeah, in church. 100%.

Dean Sweetman (15:03):

In church. I started designing a church seriously and committed my life when I was 17. So I'm 57. So for the last 40 years, my life has been in and around church in as a missions guy, as a pastor, as a church planner, even doing what we do now. We just talk with church people every day. I flew down and saw you yesterday, and we met up with a guy he's at church.

Frank Barry (15:28):

And he flew out too.

Dean Sweetman (15:32):

So it's kind of the center of our world. I moved to a new neighborhood here and I've made a bunch of new friends who don't go to church and I'm loving it. I'm just really enjoying it. But the great friendships that I've built and connections have been with people that I've met and developed a relationship with in the physical world. And that to me is irreplaceable in both of my growth as a Christian. It was those years of small group Bible study, sitting in, having people pray for me. All those physical interactions that I can do in the metaverse for sure, but man, I think that's a long [crosstalk 00:16:21].

Frank Barry (16:20):

There's something in that human touch, right? Getting a hug, a real hug. I'm sure you can hug in the metaverse, but I don't know what that's like.

Dean Sweetman (16:32):

It's proven. When human contact, all the endorphins or what happens in your brain. Even a smile. A handshake. One of the things I hated about COVID is you couldn't shake hands anymore. Now, we're fist bumping, and I don't want to fist bump. I want to shake your hand. 'Cause there's just something about meeting a guy your first time or your mates and you just shake hands. It's a cool thing. So look, to me, the physical, meta will never replace those things. If it's an entry point, if it's an evangelistic opportunity, if it's a way to help people that can't get the physical, awesome. But I think the church, beyond the fad of the whole thing, the church has to stay committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations and having the miracle that is the Kingdom of God on the earth experience [crosstalk 00:17:31].

Frank Barry (17:31):

You read Acts Two, and you read the whole of Acts, "And they met together and they were in each other's homes and they did it daily and they..." Now, again, you can do a lot of that in the metaverse. People could argue all the things and I can't tell you that you can't, but there's some portions, like physical contact, that you obviously can't. And I think on the negative side, you don't get the physical contact, the real human interaction that I think all of us know is legit. And then there's going back to anonymity. People maybe don't necessarily know you. That you're interacting with a video game in a way. I know it's not, but it I think it might feel a little bit like that. And so, are you really...

Dean Sweetman (18:22):

And look, there's a lot of negatives around these shoot them up video games. The kids stay in their basement all day and play. I don't know if we know the full extent of that. This generation of young boys, especially, that have grown up in that. Is that linked to some of the things that we see with school shootings? I don't think we know enough to make a judgment, but staying in your basement, playing video games. My oldest son who is the geek son, he helped us start the business. We were partners together. We would have to limit-

Frank Barry (18:56):

We have to do it with our kids too.

Dean Sweetman (19:00):

... Because he would literally, if we didn't, and I did experiments. I had Saturdays where I wouldn't say anything. And we wouldn't see him for six hours and he didn't believe it. He goes, "No, I've only been gone two. You said two, and I did two." And he came up six hours later. I said, "Bryan, it's six hours." That showed him, because I let him go without restraining a couple of times, just to show him how immersively this was. He's 35 now, but even then I knew, early days, World of Warcraft for six hours can't be a really good thing for your brain.

Frank Barry (19:40):

[crosstalk 00:19:40], you have to see the sun, you have to do something with real humans outside. Yeah, totally.

Dean Sweetman (19:45):

So I think this falls in the same basket. If all I'm doing is in this anonymous place, I don't think that's going to be healthy.

Frank Barry (19:57):

And the idea of really connecting with people, loving one another, dealing with conflict, dealing with pain, dealing with interpersonal stuff, is it the same in the metaverse? I don't know. I just don't...

Dean Sweetman (20:13):

No, because I can push a button-

Frank Barry (20:14):

And leave, I can get out of there.

Dean Sweetman (20:15):

... and just turn off and run away. That is such a good point, because a lot of what makes us grow are these-

Frank Barry (20:25):

In the church.

Dean Sweetman (20:25):

... interactions with people that we have in the real world. [crosstalk 00:20:28]

Frank Barry (20:27):

Not in and out, but meaning when it comes to growing in your faith and doing it with a community of believers, you can't skip that stuff. It's kind of fundamental to growing as a Christian. Learning how to love one another is-

Dean Sweetman (20:41):

Absolutely.

Frank Barry (20:42):

... not easy. You don't learn that by reading. You have to go do it, you've got to be in the heart of stuff and work out how to love people.

Dean Sweetman (20:56):

Yeah, and building something with other people. Building a church, and building relationships, and building ministries that serve the poor or give out food or whatever. Those are things that you do with others are what grow you as well. We had this thing that was called Pack to School. We'd do backpacks for one of the local schools. I remember people would bring all the stuff, which was cool. You'd like, "Hey, four weeks, guys. Let's donate something," and we had lists and people brought their stuff. But the funnest bit was all of us putting the backpacks together. You were putting pencils in every single one and you were doing... and then, of course, the best thing ever is giving them out. That's the greatest feeling. And so you can't tell me you can have that experience in the metaverse.

Frank Barry (21:46):

So there's all that stuff, the physical, in person. Okay, so I'm going to throw out too, this is maybe more theology, but what about like communion and baptism?

Dean Sweetman (21:57):

Yep.

Frank Barry (22:01):

I don't know. I don't think... I mean.

Dean Sweetman (22:05):

Well, let's just take baptism first.

Frank Barry (22:07):

Let's just say you need real water and you got to be in it somehow.

Dean Sweetman (22:11):

Right, I'm the [crosstalk 00:22:12] in the metaverse is my theological position.

Frank Barry (22:15):

I don't think you can. You're not being baptized. There's no real water.

Dean Sweetman (22:20):

No way. Well, what is baptism? It's a public confession of a private decision that you've made to follow Christ. Water baptism is coming out to the world and saying, "I'm a Jesus follower." And apart from all the things that it does, it's symbolic of your old man or old woman dying and you're leaving that in the waters of baptism, you're coming up a brand new person. So there's the things that happen spiritually in water baptism, but it's essentially a very public thing. And so let's strike that from the metaverse straight away.

Frank Barry (22:56):

I think that one's going to be tough.

Dean Sweetman (22:59):

Communion. This is interesting. Now we serve churches. We serve every kind of church. And the way I grew up, I grew up in church doing communion every week. Both as a Catholic in the early years with my mother going to church and then I kind of became a evangelical born again Christian at 17, and we did communion every week, most weeks. I think it's not as prominent in church today, depending on the denomination.

Frank Barry (23:37):

'Cause we do it every week. It's-

Dean Sweetman (23:37):

It's central.

Frank Barry (23:37):

... a normal, yeah.

Dean Sweetman (23:39):

It's central to the Catholic mass. So we got lots of different ways people practice it, but we kind of all believe the same thing. A little bit different, the Catholic church teaches that the actual, the Eucharist is actually the body of Christ. Some other denominations believe that. Most Protestant denominations, it's symbolic. It's not actually Jesus that you're eating. Putting that aside for a second.

Dean Sweetman (24:10):

The first communion was the last supper and Jesus sitting with his friends that had a meal. And at the end of the meal, he took the bread and he broke it. And then he took the wine and he drank it, and they all did the same. So if that was the representation of commune and then as the New Testament begins to unfold, it is instituted, enshrined in church doctrine that you would do this. There were other things that happened in the first couple of hundred years. They were called love feasts, where everyone would come and gather and similar to how the book of Acts, a little bit different, but it was all around the meal.

Dean Sweetman (24:50):

So you can argue that communion is got bread and wine in it, it's got people in it, and it's got remembering what Jesus did for us on the cross. That is what communion is. Could you virtually sit in a room and break virtual bread and be-

Frank Barry (25:09):

Or have it physically there in front of you, but you're still...

Dean Sweetman (25:14):

... Potentially.

Frank Barry (25:14):

It's gray. It's pretty gray.

Dean Sweetman (25:16):

We could all have our own, very gray, but I would strike communion from the metaverse too. Because I don't think the spirit of what it was in the new Testament can be replicated digitally. I just don't think it can. They're both gone.

Frank Barry (25:33):

That one's a scratch.

Dean Sweetman (25:37):

And if that's the case, now we've really stripped meta church down to introduction, helping people that can't come physically that Sunday.

Frank Barry (25:51):

I mean, church outside of Sundays or church outside... is it augmented? Does it add in to other things, physical things you do in person with other people physically? Does it give you the ability to do some of the counseling or dealing with deeper stuff, and you have that sense of I can be a bit more open because you don't know me yet or I feel safer. So I think there's a bunch of those kind of things that online helps with. Just online period. Metaverse or online, it helps with... but I just don't think it can replace human interaction. At the end of the day we all need, you're created literally to be with people.

Dean Sweetman (26:44):

Absolutely. Well, I mean that's our stand. It'd be good if you could us comments.

Frank Barry (26:49):

Yeah, give us your perspective.

Dean Sweetman (26:53):

Yeah, 'cause this is going to get shown on YouTube and all your favorite platforms, but we'd love feedback on this too. 'Cause I think we'll get a wide kind of variation of comments about this subject and it's so brand new. It's just getting started. What happens when Apple does, they're going augmented reality. They're going [crosstalk 00:27:15]-

Frank Barry (27:14):

My eye glasses, you and me that wear glasses already normally, we're going to be hooked up because we just live with glasses already. Everyone else that doesn't wear glasses, they're going to have some trouble.

Dean Sweetman (27:28):

... Exactly. And what's augmented reality going to be different from virtual? I mean, we're at the beginning stage. So we'll have to do an episode next year on that.

Frank Barry (27:36):

On augmented reality. Oh, my gosh. All right, well, good times. Good to hang. Good to chat. We'll see everyone in the next episode of the Church Tech Podcast. See you, guys.

Narrator (27:48):

If you enjoyed listening to this episode of the Church Tech Podcast, the easiest way to help to support the show is by sharing this episode with the pastor or the minister you know would benefit the most from listening to it. You can send them over to churchtechpodcast.com to learn more about the show or share this episode directly from within your podcast app. To get new episodes of the Church Tech Podcast, you can easily subscribe or follow the show for free on YouTube, Apple podcast, Spotify, and anywhere else that you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you again next week with the next episode of the Church Tech Podcast.

S1E3_Church in the Metaverse.txt

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The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Church in the Metaverse

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Church in the Metaverse

This podcast is the ideal resource for church leaders and administrators to help you understand the human, technological and ethical implications of virtual reality and the metaverse. So be sure to listen and learn how these virtual worlds can impact the church!

Show notes

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Church in the Metaverse

With all the buzz surrounding the word ‘metaverse’ and news of companies like Facebook investing in its development, many people wonder how it will impact the church. 

One question that may be on the minds of many people in leadership positions in churches and other spiritual communities is whether they should hop aboard this next wave of technology or avoid it for fear that it will put them at risk.

The answer to this question is not as cut-and-dried as it might seem. For starters, there are some clear benefits to embracing new technology: for one thing, it can help us engage our congregants in ways that were previously impossible. 

But there are also risks associated with this technology—especially when it comes to how it may impact our faith and practices. 

We believe that there is a lot to be said about the power of face-to-face interaction and interaction within communities. 

In fact, the metaverse can play a significant role in helping us create communities that allow us to come together and share ideas, but is it right for every church? How can it be used effectively while maintaining faithfulness?

We invite you to join this episode as we explore these questions in more detail and discuss how the metaverse might affect your church community. Dean Sweetman and Frank Barry will talk about what they think about using the metaverse for ministry, how it might work best in your church, and what potential pitfalls could arise from implementing this new approach.

“The church has to stay committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations, and having the miracle that is the kingdom of God on the earth.”
-Dean Sweetman

Dean is the co-founder and CEO of Tithe.ly. Before launching Tithe.ly, Dean was involved in ministry for more than 30 years. 

Frank is a founding Executive Team member and COO at Tithe.ly. Prior to being at Tithe.ly, Frank spent nearly 15 years helping churches, charities, and nonprofit organizations leverage technology to advance their mission. 

This podcast is the ideal resource for church leaders and administrators to help you understand the human, technological and ethical implications of virtual reality and the metaverse. So be sure to listen and learn how these virtual worlds can impact the church!

By the end of this episode, you will learn:

  • What is the metaverse
  • How virtual reality can be used in church
  • How virtual reality churches will work in the future
  • The pros & cons of the metaverse
  • How to reach the young generation through virtual worlds

Resources Mentioned:

Know more about Tithe.ly: get.tithe.ly
Follow Tithe.ly on Instagram: tithe.ly
Follow Tithe.ly on Twitter: tithe.ly
Like Tithe.ly on Facebook: @tithelyapp

Other Episodes You May be Interested In:

What is Church Tech?
The Line Between In-person & Online Church

How Churches Can Become More Effective Online with Trey Van Camp

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[101:27] If we believe that the Christian journey is not just finding Jesus, it is actually growing in my faith. 

[11:56] I think it's going to help you reach younger people just naturally not because younger people don't go to church in the building necessarily, but because digital natives younger folks grow up digitally.

[15:48] The great friendships I built and connections have been with people I've met and developed a relationship with within the physical world. And that, that, to me, is irreplaceable.

[17:16] The church has to say committed to taking ground, buying land, building buildings, getting people in physical locations, and having the miracle that is the kingdom of God on the earth.

[20:29] When it comes to growing in your faith and doing it with a community of believers, you can't skip that stuff. It's kind of like fundamental to growing as a Christian,

[26:25] Metaverse or online helps, but I don't think it can replace human interaction.

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