John Crist’s New Video Pokes Fun at Consumer-Focused Churches

Are you tired of singing worship songs that annoy you, having to make small talk with strangers, or even making the effort to get out of bed to go to church? If so, comedian John Crist can show you what it would be like to go to “Virtual Reality Church,” where you can tailor your Sunday morning experience to your every whim.

Virtual reality church is “an option for people asking the question, ‘How can I make Sunday morning even more about me?’”

VR church allows you to enjoy church from the comfort of your own home. There, you can customize your service by choosing the amount of conviction you want to receive, how skinny you want your worship leader’s jeans to be, and which sermon topics you would like to avoid completely. With VR church, you can sleep during the sermon and get notifications about when your football game is starting. The software will also choose your outfit and post on social media for you.

How Close Are We to This?

In the YouTube comments below Crist’s video, one user said, “Give it a year and this exists.” This statement could be more true than she realizes.

Crist’s video calls to mind megachurches like Vous Church, Zoe Church, Hillsong NYC and Churchome. In addition to having huge numbers of people who attend them, these churches count celebrities like Chris Pratt and Justin Bieber among their attendees. They also have slick, highly tailored social media presences.

There is nothing wrong with celebrities attending church (this is obviously a good thing) or having a strong social media presence. However, these churches do raise a couple of concerns. One is that their pastors could come to care more about maintaining their fame and reputation than they care about speaking truth to their congregations. Another is that people generally tend to present the most attractive parts of their lives on social media. This would be an easy pitfall for churches to fall into as well.

Of course, the mere fact that these dangers exist is not enough to say these churches are in error. What might be more troubling is the recent Twitter announcement from Judah Smith that his church’s next church plant is “The phone in the palm of your hand” via an app called Churchome Global.

Again, there is nothing wrong with using technology to connect and educate people. But Churchome has presented the app specifically as a form of church. In doing so, it sounds eerily like John Crist’s satire.