On the two-hour bus ride from inner-city Atlanta, Georgia to Alpharetta, Aton and Anita thought about a project they wanted to pitch at their first Christian hackathon. They decided that what communities like theirs need is a way for churches to collaborate to share resources and needs.
“One church might know of an old lady who can’t get to a drugstore to collect her prescription, while another church has someone willing to provide a ride. Or a kid who needs math tutoring might find a free tutor in another church,” Aton says. “But for this to happen, neighboring churches need to be aware of each other’s resources.”
Aton is a developer and founder of a local software development company. He and Anita saw the needs of their community and pitched the project during an open pitch process at Indigitous #HACK. They were then joined by Webb, a graphic designer. Together they created a working prototype that they came to call Tabernacle.
Aton, Anita, and Webb enjoyed connecting in a like-minded community during the event as they tried to make an impact on their world. But just as much, they enjoyed rolling up their sleeves and doing missional work with the talents God has given them.
A Christian hackathon
Indigitous #HACK is a global hackathon to bring the Gospel to new people, places, and spaces. Over the last seven years, people around the world have gathered to use their talents — in programming, engineering, UX design, project management, and more — to make an impact on their communities and help share the name of Jesus. These participants choose a challenge that excites them and collaborate to develop a solution. This year’s #HACK event will take place in 77 cities and 36 countries around the world, beginning with the Kick-Off Event on September 30.
But not everyone lives close to one of those 77 cities. For that reason, and because Covid leaves some people unwilling or unable to attend in-person gatherings, there is also an online-only virtual #HACK experience this year.
That experience is being led by Yan, who attended #HACK for the first time last year and was amazed at what God did through the event. “My life has been changed forever. I had no idea that I could use my skills to benefit the church,” Yan says.
With Yan’s help, #HACK participants who join virtually will be able to connect with Christians around the world in virtual teams. Yan will help match the talents of those virtual participants with the teams that need them.
Finding their place in God’s story
Kaleb, a developer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, joined #HACK for the first time in 2019. One problem facing the people of Addis is of false biblical teachings. From prosperity theology to other heresies, there is a lot of content that markets itself as Christian but is unbiblical. Kaleb and four others formed a team to create a Christian content aggregator website that provides a repository for trusted, theologically sound Christian content while filtering out everything with false teachings.
“God gave us an amazing opportunity to use our talents for His kingdom. It’s been so good to be with Godly and professional brothers,” Kaleb says. “May God bless all those who participated in making this happen.”
Dhenn had a similar experience when he attended his first Indigitous #HACK event in Manila, Philippines. As a developer, his God-given talents had always been ignored by the Church. “I never thought there was a place for a ‘tech guy’ in a church except working behind the monitors. As a techie guy, I never thought that we can also bring Jesus to the lost and make disciples in the digital space,” Dhenn says.
Joining #HACK Manila opened his eyes to new possibilities for missions and new ways to use the talents God has given him. “Oh boy, I was wrong!” he says. “The enemy has been using the internet to kill, steal and destroy lives. Why not use the same tool to spread the Gospel and spread the love to those who need it?”
God made everyone as unique individuals with their own talents and passions. For people with digital skills such as development and design, those skills have often been ignored by the Church. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
We invite you to join #HACK2022, either in person or as a virtual participant. At the event, you can meet other Christians like you and discover ways to use those talents for God.
Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. (Habakkuk 2:2)
- Register to join #HACK2022.
- Share the #HACK website with anyone you know who would be interested.
Featured image from Indigitous #HACK Addis