Hacking through a pandemic
Since 2016, every October people have gathered around the world to take part in Indigitous #HACK, our global missional hackathon. Over the years, we have seen more than 3,000 participants get together in 69 cities to work on 225 missional projects. Indigitous #HACK has become a thing that many Indigitous communities look forward to, but this year it has been surrounded by uncertainty.
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold at the end of last year, it changed everything, including the way we do work, the way we do missions, and even the way we meet as communities. Over the last year, as organizations, communities, and individuals canceled event after event, including our own Digital Missions Summit – which would have taken place in August – many started to ask: Is Indigitous #HACK going to happen this year?
Trusting God for #HACK
We did our research, looking into online options, interviewing previous #HACK city leads, and more. “After a lot of prayer, we have decided to trust God for #HACK to happen again this year,” Indigitous co-founder Simon Seow said back in April.
At the time, I figured this would be a small year, that only a fraction of previous city leads would host #HACK again. It turns out that it was my faith that was small. Right now there are more than 60 cities planning to host #HACK2020 this October, which would make it the biggest #HACK to date!
“HACK has always been an event about solving problems to share the Gospel. COVID is one such problem that needs to be overcome,” says Joshua Montzka, who is bringing the hackathon back to Melbourne, Australia this year.
Johan Myburgh, the city lead for Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa, agrees. “I think an event like this is more needed now than ever before because so much more is happening online than ever before,” he says.
A different way of hacking
Of course, trusting God doesn’t mean assuming that He will shield us from the virus. Christians do still get sick, after all. Therefore, changes have had to be made to make the local hackathons comply with safety guidelines. Some locations will meet in person but only in small groups, with proper social distancing protocols required. Other locations will meet entirely online.
While making the traditionally in-person gathering online presents a big challenge, it also opens up opportunities. “It will be much easier to include and establish Hubs in other cities that we wanted to include for a long time,” Johan says. For Johan and other city leads, doing #HACK2020 online means an opportunity for a greater reach, unbound by geography.
What to expect
#HACK2020 will look different than previous years of the event. While the online locations will miss out on the bonding over meals and other things that you can’t get in person, there is still a lot to look forward to. Those who attend the Melbourne event will find an “enthusiastic and laid-back atmosphere filled with people from all over Australia passionate about making Jesus known with the skills they’ve been gifted from God,” Joshua says. Johan says he expects “awesome projects that will address some of the social challenges in our country as well as some solutions to other missional challenges.”
If you’ve been to #HACK before, we can confidently say that you’ve never been to one like this. If you’ve never participated, maybe the year of COVID is the time to start.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Join us at #HACK2020. If your location doesn’t have registration open, join the Interest List to get updates.
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