A South Florida Pastor has announced that he will soon launch a fully immersive Virtual Reality worship service in a digital replica of Miami’s oldest organized congregation.
The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek, the pastor of First Miami Presbyterian Church and the CEO and pastor of the tech nonprofit CoCreators says that VR Service for the downtown Brickell Church is a tool for evangelism and a way to reach the masses.
Of the 7.7 billion people on earth, 3.5 billion of them are online and 2.2 billion of them are gamers.
When asked about the endeavor Benek replied:
“When Jesus called his followers to ‘Make disciples of all nations’ I don’t think that he was excluding digital spaces” Abraham Kuyper once said ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’ Certainly this applies to digital spaces as well.”
Benek is no stranger to such developing technologies. He was a member of the world’s first Doctor of Ministry cohort focusing on science and theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently a PHD Student studying technology and eschatology at Durham University in the UK. He is also widely known as a lead clergy expert in Artificial Intelligence and a theology and emerging tech expert and has been featured prominently in the press around the world.
In 2014 he wrote the on his blog at Christopherbenek.com that Virtual Reality is Going to Change How We Experience Church. Then in 2015 he wrote that Virtual Reality Will Enable the Next Large Revival in the Global Church in The Christian Post. Now he’s beginning to put his theories into practice.
“We are just on the very front end of Virtual Technologies” Benek said “But if people are gathering in these spaces then the church needs to be reaching them. The potential for evangelism and ministry is enormous.”
So much so apparently that Benek has assembled a team of developers to create the world’s only VR Church Platform called CHVRCH+ (Church Plus) in order to also allow other churches to begin Virtual worship & evangelism efforts. The platform will allow churches to recreate their physical churches, preserve their historic buildings online or develop completely original venues for worship, small group and outreach efforts while utilizing custom avatars for interaction.
“Our platform is the most robust VR platform available to date. We believe that, once people see its full potential, it is going to be a technological game changer. We are starting in the church but its applications are literally limitless,”