CNLP 470: D.J. Soto and Nona Jones: An Introduction to the Metaverse, Web3, VR Church and What’s Next Online and IRL

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D.J. Soto, Founder of VR Church, and Nona Jones of Meta/Facebook give a primer on the metaverse, how Web3 will be different from Web2 and Web1, VR church, NFTs, DAOs, blockchain and more as we explore what’s next online and in real life. This is part 2 of a 6-part Future series.

Welcome to Episode 470 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Facebook: NonaInstagram: Nona | Instagram: D.J. | TikTok: D.J. | Twitter: D.J.

World Vision

So, this year, we asked pastors across America how they are doing. The results of this study are sobering, but we have also found pockets of hope that we believe will encourage and empower you into this next season.

You can join World Vision, David Kinnaman – President of Barna, Danielle Strickland and others on February 15th for a webinar discussing brand-new research on the state of pastoral health and exploring a vision for ministry beyond the pandemic.

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Nona Jones

VR Church

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The Tim Ferris Show: Chris Dixon and Naval Ravikant — The Wonders of Web3, How to Pick the Right Hill to Climb, Finding the Right Amount of Crypto Regulation, Friends with Benefits, and the Untapped Potential of NFTs

This Pastor is Putting His Faith in Virtual Reality Church

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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Breaking the Social Media Prism by Christopher Bail

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Insights From D.J. and Nona

1. We’re on the cusp of “Web3”

Crypto, blockchains, NFTs, virtual reality, the “metaverse” …what does it all mean? D.J. Soto—founder of VR Church—and Nona Jones—Director of Community Partnerships at Meta—guide Carey through the different iterations of the Internet and why we may be on the verge of a completely new era for human connectivity.

In Web 1.0, most people consumed content created by relatively few content creators. This was the original iteration of the Internet. In Web 2.0, we see the rise of user-generated content and platforms designed to connect people via content creation. Web 2.0 signaled the beginning of social media, blogging, podcasting, and it’s the era we’re in now.

Web 3.0 (or “web3”), is a continual democratization of the Internet and will be marked by a convergence of technological innovations (like crypto, virtual reality and artificial intelligence) to craft a more immersive and decentralized experience that focused on the individual (as opposed to companies (Web 1.0) and communities (Web 2.0)).

2. The future of the Internet is a seamless experience between online and reality

A lot of people already talk about virtual reality (or “VR”) and are probably familiar with it as it pertains to video games and VR headsets. But augmented reality (or “AR”) needs to be a part of any conversation relating to the future of technology and the Internet.

In AR, the online sphere is overlaid on top of the natural world and can be interacted with. Think of mobile phone games that use your phone’s camera to display images that aren’t there. Now, imagine wearing a pair of glasses that overlays real-time data from the Internet onto your surroundings—from phone calls and calendars to breaking news alerts and online purchasing options.

The more integrated the online experience becomes to our daily lives, the more the line blurs (and eventually vanishes) between the online world and the natural world. Within the span of a couple of decades, it’s highly likely that all of our integrated technology will sync into one holistic experience.

3. The Church should lead in innovation and experimentation

D.J. and Nona end the conversation by encouraging church leaders and pastors to not reject the rapid development of new technologies and experiences out of hand. Obviously, there are a lot of theological issues that need to be addressed (and undoubtedly debated) as it pertains to augmented reality and web3. But an outright rejection would be the wrong move.

The COVID-19 pandemic caught many pastors completely off-guard and the inability to meet in-person severely affected their ministries. In most cases, they then turned to technology to host worship services and meet the needs of their congregants.

Should churches be at the forefront of innovation if it opens up an opportunity to reach more people with the Gospel? What does it mean to be proactive (rather than reactive) as it pertains to the metaverse, blockchains and VR? Most churches, for example, wouldn’t think twice about having a website or social media presence—and yet, that very technology was unheard of just forty years ago. What will the future of church look like forty years from now?

Quotes from Episode 470

It's still about leading, shepherding, empowering, and helping people to grow in their faith. And there's nothing different in the metaverse when it comes to that - @djsoto Click To Tweet The metaverse is kind of like an embodied internet where you're not just looking at it, but you're actually in the experience. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet The spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation, and experimentation seems to have left the church. - @djsoto Click To Tweet It doesn't matter how many followers you have if those followers are not following Jesus through you. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet We have to decouple our ego from church attendance. - Nona Jones Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 470

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Next Episode: Craig Groeschel and Bobby Gruenewald

Life.Church’s Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel and Bobby Gruenewald (Creator of YouVersion and Church Online) talk about the future of hybrid church.

In this interview, Craig and Bobby talk about the limits of digital and physical church, the strengths and weaknesses of each, their new presence in the Metaverse, and how different kinds of church can break through people’s physical and spiritual facades to get to authentic life change.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 471.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.