Mostly Virtual Global Hackathon for Missions Begins

Indigitous #HACK2020

Over the weekend, nearly thirty cities took part in #HACK2020, with more than thirty five additional cities to join for the second weekend of the hackathon October 16-18. This is the fifth year of Indigitous #HACK, but this year, due to the global pandemic, most of the locations are meeting virtually rather than in person.

That lack of an in-person element hasn’t deterred the participants, though, who gathered around the world to apply their talents to their faith. The theme this year is to #HACK for the Unreached, so many of the projects are designed to help bring the Gospel to where it’s not. The first weekend of #HACK2020 was an inspiring weekend of students, technologists, creatives, and missionaries rallying around important causes, collaborating over Slack and Discord, and putting together projects to solve real world problems. Here are a few highlights from #HACK2020’s opening weekend.

#HACK Indonesia

The organizers of #HACK Indonesia all met online and used the virtual aspect to their advantage, working in 23 cities around the country, a scope that would have been impossible if meeting face to face. They called the event #CodeforGod.

Over the weekend, 110 participants in Indonesia worked on fifteen projects, including a game of Bible Pictionary for kids and a matching study Bible. “The technology helps people study the Bible in a very cool way,” says Yulia, the City Lead. Hackers also looked ahead to the Christmas season, realizing that churches around the nation were unsure how to celebrate when no one would be able to attend church in person. “We made a one-month program for churches to do online Christmas,” Yulia says.

#HACK Australia

Josh is a #HACK veteran at this point, hosting the event in Melbourne and Sydney in the past. This year, people are hacking throughout the east coast, from four cities in three Australian states. Twenty-three participants worked on a number of exciting projects, including a chatbot for good content strategy for discipleship and evangelism, a project to connect donors with those who want to do ministry but are not involved with a missions organization, and an app to help balance digital life and “real life.”

A look at the #HACK2020 Global Call
A look at the #HACK2020 Global Connect call

#HACK South Africa

Fifteen people joined #HACK South Africa from Pretoria, Cape Town, and Johannesburg, working on two projects. Dealing with a problem that became even worse due to the pandemic, the hackers targeted areas that have particularly high crime and poverty rates. “We’re creating an app with a database to help people in the area find jobs,” says Nicholas, one of the organizers.  On the evangelistic side, participants created a social media outreach program that connects people to a discipleship platform.

#HACK Buenos Aires

#HACK returned to Beunos Aires, Argentina this year, this time led by Iñaki, a local student. This year, a small group worked on a website to help a missionary in Pakistan safely share what they’re doing with the world. “We’re trying to empower him to help the Christian minorities there who suffer a lot,” Iñaki says. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Iñaki and the participants in Buenos Aires were excited to do their part. “We’re grateful to be present, to be working for God side by side,” he says.  

#HACK Berlin

Berlin, Germany was the site of #HACK for the second year. This time, twenty participants focused on a website that provides discipleship resources for free in multiple languages. They worked online over the weekend to improve and enhance the platform and add to its resources. “It was really neat to hear from a missionary who called in and described how she is using the platform and what a difference it has made in her ministry,” says organizer Tobias.

Indigitous co-founder Simon Seow was pleased with the opening weekend, seeing people around the world join together to hack for the unreached, helping to take the Gospel to where it’s not. “There are people just like you, not just in your own cities and countries, but around the world whom God has uniquely crafted your story with digital, with technology, and now you’re stewarding it and using it for His glory,” he says.

#HACK2020 will continue this weekend, when more cities join the event. If you haven’t already registered for #HACK2020, it’s not too late. Find the city nearest you and join now. And if there’s isn’t a city near you, this year with most locations meeting online, you can still join from a distance.