Visual Story Network

Exec Summary: 5 Principles of Community Building in Virtual Reality


22 people participated in our "Mission AR/VR Network" online event on May 23, 2018. DJ Soto (VR Church) told the story of the world's first VR church and shared "5 Principles of Community Building in Virtual Reality." The 20 minute presentation was followed by Q&A and a networking time. The notes, recorded webinar, and a partial participant list are below.

We encourage all Christ-followers interested in the kingdom application of AR and VR to join the "Mission AR/VR" group on Facebook.

We have also hosted other Mission AR/VR events. Here are the summaries and recordings...

     June 30, 2016 Meet & Greet 

     April 20, 2017 Meet & Greet

     May 23, 2018 Leaning into the AR/VR World 

5 Principles of Community Building in Virtual Reality

  • Go out an experience VR.
  • Morpheus, “you have to experience it yourself." Once they put people in the headset, they get it.
  • VR/AR one of the most disruptive technologies the church has faced, Facebook wants 1 billion using VR
  • VR Church attendance: 50 percent Christians, 50 percent agnostics/atheist.
  • Because there is anonymity with avatars, they are allowed deep conversations.
  • Tanabe, a person from Japan who had medieval church building, helped DJ make his Church
  • Online community throughout the week through Discord.
  • Faith and science is the most active channel 

1. Experiment

  • Encourage the R&D of the Church
  • Get a headset
  • Slow to new things
  • “The Church has outsourced innovation to tech companies” (Bobby Gruenwald,

2. Build Relationships

  • Wild West
  • Ready Player One/Matrix
  • VR will not be about games and movies as much as it will be about social applications
  • People don’t care what you know, until they know you care

3. Your Audience is Everyone

  • Global
  • Literally all walks of life
  • Atheist from UK, Muslim from Middle East

4. The Information Age is coming to a close. We are entering the age of experience.

  • Church will be about experiencing things and not just attaining knowledge
  • Walk through the Red Sea, experience the Bible like never before

5. Build Community and Discipleship but it may be reimagined.

  • In the next 10 years, more digital plants than physical.
  • New, disruptive, confusing, but things are still the same

Event Recording

Partial Participant List

  • Stan Rowland, helping intergate churches to transform neighborhoods, AZ, Collaborative Neighborhood Organization.
  • Duane Troyer, S.I.L. worker, wants to know the outer edge of the technology wave.
  • Arlen Isaak, curious about what is coming, bases in Brazil.
  • Jim Green, Jesus Film,
  • Cal Kohnke, Thailand, international coordinators for Create International, creating Gospel films for unreached people, AR,
  • Caleb Scott, Lebanon, Horizons International, curious to know how VR could be used in the Middle East.
  • Paul Konstanski, CRU, natural progression of reaching people,
  • Dan Burke, animation and filmmaking, loves the idea of VR,
  • Irv Klaschus, Jesus Film,adaptation from dialogue of Jesus, preview in Oculus VR,
  • Dave Hurtado, create class for VR
  • Tom Kuster, Bethany College.
  • Dan Wathan, Phil Cooke Pictures. 
  • Tom Khazoyan, filmmaker and screenwriter, part of Second Life,
  • Steve Baughman, SIL, wanting to help translators
  • Andrew Haas, TWR Motion, wants to go beyond 2D films
  • Amos Alikama, Africa
  • Roy Moran,  Kansas City, focusing on trying to use social media to reach people
  • Peter, heading to Africa.

Resources Mentioned in the Session

From Tom Khazoyan:

From DJ :

From DJ :

From DJ :

From DJ : Short film -
From DJ : Behind the scenes -

From DJ :
From DJ :

From DJ :


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