The Medieval Metaverse Church: Here Be Dragons!

I just read a good article called The pastor’s a wizard, and some worshippers look like cats: This is church in virtual reality. I think a wizard is a fine choice for a pastor’s avatar. This confirms a few thoughts and predictions of mine for the future of church life in the metaverse.

The medieval theme has been dominant on internet video game environments ever since the first MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) in 1978. The new virtual landscape of the metaverse often looks more like a Renaissance Festival than George Jetson’s futuristic world.

[George WHO? . . . the teenager asks]

A contextual approach to a new virtual world [here be dragons!] will challenge the church to re-think itself, re-source itself, and re-present itself in medieval terms. Buildings will be important, even for previous organic church planters. Stone cathedrals (like what most of the virtual churches in Second Life looked like 15 years ago) and dungeons under castles will do better than boring digital twins of boring IRL churches.

Spiritual leaders in the metaverse will often be Arthurian wizards, Celtic druids, bald monks, bearded priests, and robed monastic abbesses. Ancient church rites and rituals will be vitalized (I held a christening service for avatars recently in my metaverse chapel) and worship curators will look for inspiration from the more physically interactive forms of worship from medieval Christianity. Even low church worship will become more traditional looking and liturgical.

Churches in social video game environments will move beyond content dumping to experiential narratives, discovering truth through quests, and offering both acknowledgement and celebration of proficiency levels achieved during the disciple-making process. And what better spiritual mentor to guide people through that process than a wizard?

Come and hear me speak on church in the metaverse. Next two festivals are Freakstock in Germany and Greenbelt in UK.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.

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