As technology continues to advance rapidly, the Church must find ways to use new technologies to further the Kingdom of God. One of the newest and most exciting technological developments is Web 3.0, which is becoming widely adopted. To learn more about what Web 3.0 is, read my previous blog on this subject.
I believe the Church can and should leverage Web 3.0 to further the Kingdom. I’m aware of the benefits and drawbacks of Web 3.0, as this technology is a powerful tool that can either be used for the betterment of society or one that can be used to completely deceive it. Even though the Church is often wary of adopting new technology into its strategy, it’s imperative that we pour energy and resources into understanding Web 3.0 to utilize it for Kingdom purposes instead of trailing behind.
Here are four ways the Church can lead in this space:
1. Engage the Laity: As with many new technologies, Web 3.0 can be challenging to understand. However, we often forget that in many churches, business executives, engineers, and computer scientists sit in the pews. To ensure the Church is leveraging Web 3.0 effectively, we need to seek out and engage with the expertise of those in our church families who understand the technology and can help us navigate. To succeed, churches need to embrace a willingness to change. I believe the churches that are going to have the most difficult time adapting to this new technology are the ones that are very successful right now because they’ll have to disrupt what they’ve already mastered and reach a new community in a new way.
2. Learn from Others: The Church can use Web 3.0 to reach out and assist people in need, spread the Gospel, and serve the Kingdom. By seeking out and learning from those who have more knowledge of Web 3.0, we can explore new ways that it can potentially solve large-scale church problems. I’m not going to pretend to know all the specifics of what this looks like, but if people are reaching billions worldwide by creating new technology within Web 3.0, imagine what the Church could achieve if we intentionally focused on doing so. Countless blogs and podcasts speak specifically into this area, so I encourage you to find ones you can learn from and enjoy.
3. Build Web 3.0 on Strong Values and with Accountability: There is so much danger in utilizing this new reality without intentionally building a foundation of values and accountability. We can look to the example of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX, his cryptocurrency exchange company, as a guidepost of how Web 3.0 can be used to deceive if done without a basis of integrity. FTX was the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, but when customers tried to withdraw their funds without success, it was found that Bankman-Fried allegedly stole about $10 billion from FTX customers for his trading firm. Now, millions of people are left without money, and Bankman-Fried is facing various charges.
On the other hand, Carsten Waldeck, one of the original designers of mobile phones in Silicon Valley, advocated making mobile phones modular so people could update their cameras and screen more easily without fully replacing the device. His idea was shot down because it’s harder to monetize, but because of Carsten’s values about stewardship, he wanted to give people more affordable control over their devices and support carbon-neutral production. He created Shift, a company that focuses on sustainable technology.
This is why I believe the Church can’t afford to ignore Web 3.0. We must engage with this technology, but we must also do so in a way guided by our faith. Imagine the actual good Bankman-Fried could have catalyzed throughout the world if he had rooted himself in integrity, accountability, and true altruism. If the Church begins to lead the way by approaching Web 3.0 with biblical values, hopefully the “crypto-kings” of the future will reconsider how they approach it as well.
4. Empower the Next Generation: Web 3.0 provides an opportunity to invite the voice and agency of emerging generations in fresh and creative ways. As the prophet Joel reminds us, God promises to pour out his Spirit so our old will dream and our young will see visions. What is God revealing to them about Web 3.0? How can we invite them to discover the potential of Web 3.0 together as we pursue our God-given mission? We can actually see the next generation utilizing these spaces for God already through the Robloxianian Christians, a youth-led virtual church on the Roblox gaming platform that a 16-year-old pastors with more than four thousand members. Let’s ask God to give us a resolve to maintain pure hearts and the courage to boldly pursue what may be new to us, but not new or surprising to Him!
As we continue to live in this reality, consider the following: How do we have a social impact in this type of world? How do we preach, evangelize, and disciple in this reality? How do we effectively collaborate and relate in true unity with one another? Because in many ways, if we only use the same platforms and methods as the generations before us and do not embrace change, we’ll quickly become irrelevant and static to this vastly changing reality.