Today, we will hear from C. Scott Andreas:
Like Adam, I work in web design and development, looking for ways to wield (subvert?) the black arts of marketing and IT for the Kingdom. I’m one of those guys pounding away on a Mac, sipping hair bender, and mouthing curses at Internet Explorer while listening to Moby at the coffee shop.
But most of the work’s not sexy, and I rarely see the fruits of my labor. Between design reviews, coding, creative impasses, and bugs, I often wonder where the Kingdom is in all of it.
I don’t have a concrete answer, but I do have some questions.
What if our web sites were as imbued with a missional ethos as our blogs and podcasts? What if “church management software” did more than keep people in line? What if a thousand conversations spawned a thousand clicks, and then somehow a well got built in a community without access to clean water?
Questions like this depend on us having the freedom to trash tired paradigms of what web sites and applications “are” and “should be.” Only then are we liberated to imagine what they could actually accomplish. Finding the Kingdom of God in software is about sewing core values deep into its fabric – and tithe tracking is not one of them.
So what does it mean to embed the “values” of the Kingdom of God in an application? How do you translate justice and mercy into “features?” How do you debug compassion?
I’m imagining churches with mobilization tools that empower their members to tackle 30 urban renewal projects in 30 days. I’m dreaming of web apps that connect congregations with people and organizations in need – both within the church and in the broader community. We’ve got the tools to inspire generative conversations. We need something that takes them one step further.
I don’t mean to spout fantasies of a digital utopia or to suggest that a machine will somehow immanentize the eschaton (at least not like this one). But I do think that the Kingdom of God could use some great software.
Design and development for the Kingdom has very little to do with sexing up a church’s dot-org. It’s about creating sites and applications soaked in the missio dei. Only once our paradigms have shifted from those of aimless self-presentation toward meaningful action can we be on the right track.
Scott Andreasis a globe-trotting web developer straddling eight time zones at Phoreo.com. Currently finishing an Indiana University B.A. in Communication and Culture and Religious Studies in England, he is preparing to return to a life of coding, biking, and dodging rain drops in Portland, Oregon. Scott has recently served with [AC] Advent Conspiracy, Imago Dei Community, and the Belmont Foundation, and is always in search of people interested in using the web to make great things happen.
At the moment, Scott is developing an open source missional community networking app called Sunago and is looking for other PHP rock stars to jam with. He can be contacted via e-mail at scott [at] phoreo [dawt] com, through Facebook or through his blog.