categories:, Second Life, church, innovation, technology
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March 29th, 2007

by Bobby Gruenewald

15 comments (+ Add)

Why Second Life? (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post on why we have built and island in Second Life and to also answer some questions about what Second Life is.

Our first purpose was to create a way to share the Gospel with other users of Second Life.

Second Purpose: We want to create an environment where our Internet Campus users and others who are a part of our online community can experience what we do in a more immersive environment than a web page.

Second Life is the first mainstream representation of a user-created metaverse [wikipedia] (fully immersive 3-D spaces). This concept has been predicted for the last few decades, but has not been technically feasible or widely available until the last couple of years. The primary advancements that have made it technically feasible are bandwidth a computing/video processing power. Though Second Life the most well-known metaverse, it is certainly not the only one. Currently several companies including Sony, Google and have metaverses or have been rumored to be developing one. We hope our experience with Second Life will better prepare us for reaching people in whatever platform(s) emerge as the leaders in this space.

I predict that the Internet will look much more like the immersive world of Second Life in the next 5-7 years, but only much better. All of the right pieces are in place to make it possible.

Ten years ago, churches were asking “Why should a church need a presence on the Internet?” That question seems odd to most all of us today, but it was a real question. In seven years it will seem just as odd to ask “Why should a church need a presence in Second Life (or what ever the prevailing metaverses are at that time)?”

What do you think?

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  1. Mar 29, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    I totally agree. It is something we need to start doing now, so we know how to use it to its full potential when it becomes more universally used. It did seem odd, not so long ago, to need to have a website or presence on the web…but obviously that has changed…and so will this.

    More and more people are doing things on the web. They buy or research cars, they do their shopping, etc. Most people do all their research online. They will check out our churches on the web before ever physically entering them. It’s safer that way in their minds.

    I do have a question though…what are the financial costs associated with Second Life?

  2. Mar 29, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Now, five years from now, and fifty years from now, we should constantly strive to remain on the edge of innovation, especially innovation of communication.

  3. 4Steven N.
    Mar 29, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    Totally agree. This isn’t something churches need to be asking in 5-7 years of why do we need a presence. This is something churches should be asking NOW! Most don’t need to implement just yet (except select few megachurches with the resources i.e., but need to familiarize themselves and constantly stay on top of industry trends.

    I have consulted with hundreds of churches in the OKC metro area and have found many don’t even have an answering machine or a website. Not even a basic one for free and won’t take the time and $5 bucks to go to Big Lots and get a cheap answering machine. No wonder why the “Church” in general is on the decline in America. We aren’t playing on the same ball field as the ones we want to reach. We have to constantly be challenging ourselves just like the business world even in the cyber world, without conpromising the Gospel however. Anyhow, Perhaps I’ll catch one of you on SL from time to time, my sn is Nicoli Slade.

  4. 5Gena
    Mar 29, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    I find the whole metaverse concept truly fascinating. And I have no doubt that the church should have a presence where ever people “live”. But it seems sad, somehow, that these fantasy lives are becoming so popular. I personally can’t imagine how I would keep up with a “Second Life” without completely losing touch with my first one. I can hardly keep it together in the real world.

    Anyway, I applaud you for your amazing forward thinking. It’s so rare for a church to be really ahead of the curve, and I think you guys are onto something.

  5. Mar 30, 2007 at 1:39 am

    A significant difference between the information-based 2D world of a Web site and the space-based 3D world of a metaverse is the amount of time and context necessary on the part of the user. A Web site, with subsequent multimedia content, can be quickly accessed and consumed — even while performing other tasks. (For instance, I can hop on a Web site, download a podcast, and listen to it while I’m working.) In a 3D environment, I have to take the time to enter the world, navigate in real-time to the appropriate place, and likely engage in conversation. It’s exciting, but it requires my full and possibly lengthy attention.

    I’m sure you know all this already — all I’m saying is that Web sites and 3D environments serve very different purposes. I think it’ll be quite a while before most churches need to investigate their 3D representation, whereas every church needs a good Web site even if it’s a group of ten people meeting at a gym. :)

  6. Mar 31, 2007 at 1:56 am

    great blog. I have been thinking about starting a church in a metaverse since I first heard about them a year or so ago. Great to see someone doing it.

    I think we need to use whatever means possible. Remember the words of Paul as he said he became all things to all men to reach some. There are many people in Second Life, who will ask questions that they would not feel comfortable asking in a normal environment.

    Go guys, and by the way I cant find you guys yet in Second life… Help me get there!

  7. Mar 31, 2007 at 8:25 am


    You said, “While I think many of the early adopters of ’second life’ see it as a way to live a fantasy lifeā€¦I believe the future will look a lot different and the time that people spend interacting in the metaverse will be less fantasy focused and more practical.”

    Would you mind expanding on that? I am having trouble understanding the “purpose” of being in metaverse. (before everyone jumps me i’m definitely not ‘anti’ anything, matter of fact I applaud LC for going there; i’ve been to the campus and it looks great!) I just don’t understand how SC will ever be “practical”. Help me to “see”?

  8. Mar 31, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Yes, it does help. Wow! Now I get you - so you literally think that this will literally replace the web in the way that we know it? We will surf the web or the metaverse with our avatars…

    Thanks Bobby for the quick response.

  9. Mar 31, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    I have been exploring the lifechurch “second life” campus over the weekend. I even got the tee shirt, hoodie, and parachute! I have to say that I am very impressed with the presence in SL. Each of the three times I visited, you had team members interacting with guests and getting to know them, just as you would in real life. What a great way to connect with people from around the world. Thanks for helping the church stay on the cutting edge!

  10. Apr 5, 2007 at 7:24 am

    couldn’t agree more with you, Bobby. See you on Easter Sunday as “Reed Enoch.”


  11. Apr 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Joshua (and anyone else still trying to find it!),

    If you use the search button at the bottom of the SL screen and select the places tab, you can put “lifechurch” in the search box and it should give you the option to teleport there. Your actual mileage may vary, since I’m going off memory.

    Everyone else - I totally agree that the 3D world is much more immersive and potentially a lot more effective of an “experience” than any broadcast through a 2D page could ever be. I think the real advantage of this medium is the feeling that you’re physically gathering for worship with others, which you can’t really “get” through a list of text screennames like you can in a crowd of avatars.

    aka MBDil Dollinger