The Exponential Conference was helped in Orlando, FL. This year's theme was EMPOWERED, moving in line with the Holy Spirit's leading. That really encouraging thing for me this year was that Exponential had a variety of Digital Ministry sessions that Church Planters can learn from.
During the different presentations we got to hear from people like Jeff Reed, Tyler Samson, Jason Polling, Mark Lutz, and Jate Earhart. They have been doing digital ministry for a number of years in a variety of different forms. For instance, Tyler is using Church Anywhere to empower people and start micro-church locations. Jason is using digital to minister to people in virtual reality. Mark and Jate are using Twitch in different ways but using it to engage in conversations on Discord. Each is using digital in different, yet effective ways.
Listening to the variety of presentations on ministry in the metaverse and digital ministry, there were a few things shared that encouraged me in my digital ministry.
- The end goal of online ministry is discipleship. No matter what way you using, everyone who shared talked about discipleship and how digital ministry helped create discipleship opportunities.
- Relationships trumps technology and strategy. Online ministry is very relational. People feel the freedom to be themselves
- Web 3.0 is the Age of Experiences. Web 1.0 was the Information age. Web 2. 0 was the birth of social media. But with Web 3.0 we are entering an age of experiences with the metaverse and virtual reality.
- Different Worlds. Different Personalities. Different Churches. There are different virtual reality worlds and with those worlds come different opportunities. Explore the worlds and see which one is best suited for you and your ministry.
- Gaming Industry is only getting bigger. Gaming and VR are not going away. It's big money and is expected to bring in over $200 billion in revenue by 2025. Keep exploring these areas and looking for ministry opportunities.
- People in VR are not looking for "polished". Too often, in the Church world, we feel like we need to be fully produced and polished. We want to be excellent, which is good, but sometimes we can get stuck by over-producing too much. In VR, we just need to be authentic and real. The more real we are, the more likely we are going to have meaningful conversations.
- The average user in VR is aged 35. A misconception about gaming and VR is that only young people are playing. This stat proves these misconceptions wrong.
Virtual Reality and Metaverse ministry is now a big part of digital ministry. However, even outside of this, there are lots of opportunities to minster to people, young and old in digital ministry. Keep exploring and looking for ways you can use digital and online tools to minister to people in the world today.
What do you think? Did you go to Exponential 2022? What digital ministry encouragement did you get while there? Share your ideas below or on social media.
Also, if you are interested in being a Digital Missionary or want to learn digital tools to expand your reach in ministry this year, join the Digital Bootcamp Facebook Group!
Be part of a Phygital, Digital-Only or Metaverse coaching or cohort, check out The Church Digital Equipping Store.