OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The pandemic has changed the way people attend church. Online services have become popular, but now some churches are moving past Zoom and turning to virtual reality.  

It is a high-tech way for one Oklahoma church community to connect all from the comfort of their couch. This new metaverse could be the wave of the future.   

Life Church has created a virtual reality community church in the metaverse where people can meet friends, listen to services and play games all within the comfort of their own home.

All you need to hop into the metaverse is a virtual reality system with a headset and two controllers.

“Imagine going into a digital world that is now 360 degrees around you. That feels very familiar to what you’d experience in a physical space. But now it’s a digital world that you’re interacting with… We’ve essentially taken a 3D rendering of our campus and we’ve imported that into the space. So, the experience you would have in the space is very familiar to what you’d experience at a physical campus,” said Greg Gackle, team leader for Life Church online. 

Amanda Sims, who attends the virtual reality church frequently, says she has met people from around the world attending Sunday services.  

“What I love about going into the metaverse and experiencing worship in the metaverse is you’re really just interacting with people from all over the world that are coming,” said Amanda Sims, connections team pastor with Life Church online.  

Rev. Dr. Tiffany Monroe is the executive director of Saint Paul School of Theology on the campus of Oklahoma City University. She said it’s been more difficult to get people to come to church because of new ways to attend, but at the same time it has also welcomed more people into the church community. 

“It’s been a challenge to get people to come to church, post pandemic… We’ve come into new habits. So, we’re comfortable. We like to worship God in our pajamas or with our cup of coffee on our porch,” said Rev. Dr. Tiffany Monroe, executive director of Theology at Oklahoma City University. 

So far, Life Church has been seeing anywhere from 40 to 160 people attend the virtual reality church each Sunday. 

Life Church says it’s using advancing technology as a tool. 

“We believe faith can be strengthened when people gather, and they discuss, and think through and process how really God’s word can apply to their lives… What we found in the metaverse is we are reaching different groups of people that maybe we hadn’t reached before,” said Gackle.  

If you don’t own a virtual reality system, you can of course attend online, most churches have now incorporated that into their church.

Life Church online offers the virtual reality services on Sundays.