When I first became a Christian, I was living alone in the Bay Area, I had a lot of questions but I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t feel comfortable in a Church, I didn’t know any Christians and it took me over 2 months to get connected to a church and over a year to get connected to anything resembling a real discipleship relationship or bible study. After working in the tech industry for over a decade I know that we can do better. Why is it easier for someone to find a date, or order a pizza than it is for them to connect to a Christian ministry?
To this end my nerdy Christian friends and I have been working to create a way for a church to extend and open invitation their social networks and local community to meetup for coffee (or a video chat). From here, we then leverage the same technology behind Lyft and Uber to direct these invitations to a mobile application that will connect non-Christian “seekers” to the nearest Christian volunteer.
By leveraging all of these tools together we are able to do a number of things that a single tool alone could not accomplish. Through this ministry we are able to
- Lower the bar to entry for outreach and evangelism, empowering more Christians to share their faith by matching volunteers by location and gender with people who want to know more about God
- Conduct online outreach campaigns allow us to reach an online secular market and move the conversation offline to a personal relationship
- Collect data that empowers partner churches and outreach organizations track the effectiveness of their campaigns and then tailor the messages to better engage with the target demographic
- Form organic discipleship relationships by location and gender, and interests
- Provide a follow up mechanism for existing outreach efforts that is crowd sourced in it’s response
I firmly believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg for what this technology, led by the Holy Spirit, could be used to achieve in winning this next generation for Christ. Imagine a robust platform that could suggest volunteer opportunities based off user location, skill, and availability.
For now the app is only functional in our 3 target cities, Washington DC, Richmond, VA, and Houston, TX as we are still evaluating various functions of capabilities. Once we complete our integrated video chat feature we hope to scale the application nationally, but even still I consider this app as a minimum viable product. Longterm goals include translation, smoother automated matches that take schedule, language interests, etc. into account, robust training modules built into the app and encryption and security robust enough for us to safely deploy the app into closed countries.
In closing, I have a few questions for you
- Imagine what church outreach and volunteerism will look like in 20 years from now - what does this look like to you?
- What do you think we can do to get there today?
- CRM, Big Data, Social Media, Mobile Tech, if all things are created for the Glory of God - how can these tools be used for God’s glory?
Ministry website here
My long pitch is here -
If there is enough interest I was thinking about opening up the git.
Feedback - suggestions - comments - words of encouragement
I would love to hear from you!