Code for the Kingdom

Code might look like gobbledygook to some, but it’s the building blocks of an app or a website – it’s what makes everything tick. Code is the language that allows websites, systems, applications, programmes and many other things to run. It allows you to not just build things, but customise how they look and function too. Code is powerful.

When you think of code and coding you don’t necessarily think of the church, but in two weeks time, a collection of Christian coders, designers and thinkers will be coming together at a ‘hackathon’ – a 48 hour event where teams try to solve big issues through code. This isn’t the first time Christian coders have come together, pooling their knowledge and skills to provide solutions for issues that have others scratching their heads.

Last year, Kingdom Code launched their hackathon which saw people from all over the country handed challenges to solve through the creation of apps. The results included a Tearfund disaster relief app which gathered data on the ground to aid relief efforts, an app to help find homes for refugees and another to encourage prayer. Some became fully usable apps within the 48 hours and others were just an idea of how it would work with the potential to be much more. If you think about the time it can take to build a brand new website or app, then consider what can be achieved in two days; and you begin to realise the impact this kind of technology could have in day to day life.

It was also a chance for Christians that were passionate about technology to meet one another, worship together and forge new friendships. At the heart of this group is a desire to seek God’s Kingdom through their skills.  Below is just a snapshot of what they got up to:

This year Church of England is sponsoring one of the challenges put forward to the attendees which encourages them to think about how evangelism and discipleship can be encouraged in a smartphone society.

The challenge asks: “What does evangelism and discipleship look like in this highly connected world? What does it look like to be God’s ambassadors? Spending time with people, face to face is significant part of being an ambassador, but when so much communication happens digitally what do these digital tools have to offer?”

There’s definitely more than one answer to the question and something people have been talking about as technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our daily lives. It will be exciting to see just how the hackathon’s attendees will take up this challenge and just what will be produced out of it.

So why is the Church of England getting involved? Because we see the potential and opportunities of church in the digital space, of working with those at the forefront of innovation and using that innovative technology to help proclaim and live out the gospel through digital discipleship and evangelism. We’ve already helped pioneer technology-based projects such as @OurCofE and @ChurchLive; this is another way in which we’re hoping to reach out to communities and engage them with the things they are passionate about. This is the just the beginning of how the Church of England can be the church in the digital world we now live in.

Want to get involved? Maybe you work in for digital agency, freelance as a developer, or perhaps you code in your spare time. If you’ve got a passion for making a difference for the gospel through technology, why not join the Hackathon on the 21st – 23rd October. Find out more about the event at http://kingdomcode.uk

Want to learn to code? Try Codecademy for simple step by step lessons. You could be building your own parish website in no time at all.

Tallie Proud
Digital Media Officer, Archbishops’ Council

 

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