Nearly 150 technologists from companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Linkedin, Bank of America, and Zynga gathered in San Francisco on June 28-30, 2013 to create progressive technology for the next era of Christianity.
It is called Code for the Kingdom – a 48 hour hackathon where computer programmers, designers, and strategists work as teams to solve problems confronting our society, communities, churches, and spiritual lives. At the end, $11,000 in cash prizes is awarded to the projects for categories such as, Best Overall, Best of Social Justice, and Best of Spiritual Formation.
For example, Likewise, (likewiseapp.co), which won Best Overall, coordinates micro mentorship within specific communities. In order to participate, you must be willing to be both a mentor and mentee. Participants give datapoints about how they would like to be mentored and how they are comfortable in mentoring others. Then the technology weaves a network of mentors and mentees, so that mentorship is a two-way street.
What about online safety for kids? Vin Thomas of Fixel and John Critz formerly of Gowalla created Sproutlook (sproutlook.com), a kid-friendly email solution that allows children to email friends and grandparents drawings and audio clips while making moderation easy for parents.
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Even large nonprofits got involved. Youth With A Mission, a ministry with over 18,000 staff in 180 countries, brought their 4K Interactive Map project (4kworldmap.com). The 4K Map divides the world into 4,000 Omega Zones and reports the spiritual needs and basic life needs of the world on both a local and global level. YWAM was able to make new strides on their initiative by collaborating with other technologists including senior level developers from FellowshipOne, one of the leading church management platforms.
Some ideas were simply a fresh approach to age-old spiritual disciplines. Abide allows users to quickly record and email an audio prayer. Scriptive (scriptive.org) pinpoints how users currently feel and then recommends Scripture based on their unique circumstances. PlusBible (plusbible.com) lets you share Bible notes with friends.
“Code for the Kingdom shows what can be accomplished with the right mix of prayer, talent, and brainstorming,” says Kent Shaffer of Open Church. “This is the first of what will hopefully be many hackathons. It’s just a glimpse of what God can do when we offer our hearts, minds, and hands for His work.”
Code for the Kingdom San Francisco is a collaboration between Leadership Network, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and Carpenters. Leadership Network will be taking the event to the East Coast and Texas in the months to come as part of their Beyond Digital Initiative. This initiative seeks to accelerate ministry technology through the hackathons as well as a 2-year leadership community comprised of innovative churches across North America.