What will attending church online look like with the rise of VR? How can your church media team prepare your church engagement in the context of our changing virtual world? What should a digital church look like and what will it need to maximize it's growth and engagement?
Virtual reality (VR) has been making waves in recent years, and many industries are starting to take notice.
Now, enter the church.
As we’ve previously explored, church leaders have begun to explore the possibilities of using VR to engage with congregations.
But with the rise of attending church online, does VR still have a future in the church? What place does VR really have in trajectory of the church’s greater mission? In this article, we'll explore the potential of VR in the church, how it can boost church engagement, what church media teams need to prepare for, and some predictions for attending church online.
Will VR Church Still Be The Future Of Digital Church?
VR has been touted as the future of online interaction and community in many areas, including for the church. VR offers digital tools and features which may craft a worship experience unlike any in person. With the unique experience of church services and interactions with other attendees in a virtual space, the idea of utilizing VR for church has been exciting for many.
However, the reality is that VR church has not quite caught on as many had hoped.
Why? One of the main reasons for this is the cost of VR technology. While the cost has come down over the years, it still poses as a major obstacle for allowing it to reach a wider public use.
Additionally, there is a certain level of discomfort that comes with wearing a VR headset for extended amounts of time. Other have discussed the sensory difficulty of staying in VR for long periods. This has deterred some from attending longer meetings through VR, including attending church in a virtual space.
Despite these challenges, there is still potential for VR church. As technology continues to advance, the cost of VR may come to be more cost-friendly and accessible. The design of the technology and virtual experience may also be adjusted to become more comfortable to navigate. Additionally, there continues to be many interested in attending church in a virtual space. As the technology becomes more accessible, more and more may be willing to give this unique digital experience a try.
Perhaps down the line communities might find more ways to incorporate VR into digital church.
How Else Will We Boost Church Engagement?
While VR may not be the ultimate future of the church, digital tools and technology will undoubtedly be key to boosting church engagement.
One way is through a church’s online presence. Many churches have started to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with their congregation. These platforms allow churches to share information about upcoming events, post sermon videos, and engage with members of their congregation in a more casual setting.
However, what does it look like to really engage with your community online more personally? Can there really be genuine conversation and connection as you build your digital presence? It's important to explore tools and resources that can truly help you make the most of your church's digital engagement.
This is why another key way to boost church engagement is through the use of digital church platforms and mobile apps. Many churches are using online church platforms or are using digital apps that allow members to access information about the church, attend church services, and even make donations. Utilizing digital platforms for church and giving expands the possibilities of your engagement.
Live streaming is also becoming an increasingly necessary way to engage with church members. With the rise of attending church online, live streaming allows members to watch the service in real-time from anywhere in the world. What live streaming platform should you use?
We’ve helped you gather the top 11 livestream options for churches in 2023.
What Church Media Teams Need To Prepare For
As churches continue to explore the possibilities of technology, church media teams will need to be prepared to pivot and adapt as needed.
One challenge we anticipate will be the need for establishing your online presence. More and more, people are finding their lives intertwined with the digital world. How do we know this? A study showed how many people find their church online: approximately 33%. This means in every ten people, 3-4 of them found their church first online. And this number is only growing.
This leads to the importance of creating digital content that is engaging and relevant to your congregation. What does this look like? Building your church's online presence requires you to craft content that is not only informative but also engaging and thought-provoking. It means creating content that reflects your community's mission, vision and values, welcoming other like-minded individuals to join your church's community culture.
Finally, church media teams will need to be prepared to handle any technical issues that may arise. This means having a team who can troubleshoot problems that may occur. Media teams should be willing to learn new tools such as digital church resources and platforms, ready to work with an IT team or your church platform's customer success specialists or engagement consultants.
P.S. If using an online church platform for your digital church, it's makes all the difference choosing a platform where customer success specialists are ready and willing to work with and support you. Not sure where to start?
One of the biggest challenges? Staying up-to-date with the changing trends in technology. It's being able to optimize digital tools to navigate an ever-changing terrain. Perhaps it's not so much chasing church tech trends, but it is keeping an eye and ear out on how we might best navigate the digital landscape. It's knowing what tools you'll need to do that well. It's understanding what ways digital can optimize the connections you build with your community.
Attending Church Online: Predictions
With the rise of attending church online, many churches are beginning to re-evaluate the way they engage with their congregation. We've talked a bit already about the future of online church platforms. Expanding further, here are a five predictions for attending church online in the coming years:
- More churches will begin to offer online services, including live streaming and on-demand content.
- Churches will start to focus more on creating content that is specifically tailored to online audiences, such as shorter sermons and more interactive elements.
- Virtual reality may begin to play a role in attending church online, but it will be more limited role than that of live stream and video conferencing.
- AI will begin to play a major role in helping church communities configure and streamline their processes, maximizing their efficiency and engagement.
- Digital tools will be invaluable in being able to navigate and engage well with online communities in a more personal and authentic way.
Altar Live: Who We Are
Altar Live is an online church platform designed for faith communities to live stream services and host interactive and engaging events.
Whether in your browser or mobile device, our simple, intuitive platform gathers your people together online in real time. Here, they can worship together in watch parties, freely socialize at virtual tables together, and find private places to pray with each other.
With a church platform like Altar Live, anyone can easily create an engaging online church service that has the ability to bring people together regardless of location.
The Altar Live team is honored to be able to provide video conferencing software, consulting & training for churches, reach every person on the other side of the screen, and create a community online.