In 2016, around 30 people met in the back of a coffee shop. Half of them were tech professionals. The other half, pastors and church leaders.
They came together to ask some big questions: How can the church use technology to address pain and suffering in the world? And how can tech professionals use their skills to proclaim the Gospel?
That meeting was the start of FaithTech—a global organization founded by James Kelly—which works to bridge the gap between faith and technology.
“Our mission is essentially to find every Christian in tech in the world, so that we can connect them with each other and then help them steward their skills to glorify God,” Kelly explained.
One aspect of their ministry: Hackathons. These innovative events bring tech professionals together to solve a practical problem with a digital solution. The results of previous events include an app that allows organizations to track where they hand out Bibles, and a suicide prevention website that has reached thousands.
A Collaborative Partnership
Another organization using technology for God’s glory? The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
“It’s something that Mr. Graham intrinsically believed in,” said Mark Appleton, director of Internet Evangelism. Billy Graham recognized the value of technology early in his ministry, adopting radio and television as evangelism tools.
“I believe it’s an extension of God’s mandate for mankind,” Appleton continued. “Any time people create something to do work, they actually are fulfilling God’s mandate for humanity. Even the simplest things are technically technology.”
FaithTech’s founder echoed this sentiment: “We have the opportunity to leverage new technology, which is from God. We can use it in ways we have never have used it before.”
With this shared mission, BGEA and FaithTech have partnered together on projects that will tell others about Jesus.
“The whole idea of our partnership is, ‘How do we help foster and create more innovative solutions for evangelism around the world?” said Kelly
Appleton explained, “It’s a collaborative back and forth.”
One such collaboration is providing Bible-based answers to commonly googled questions.
Every day, people type questions like “how to kill myself” or “where to buy drugs” in search engines. These searches reveal what people are seeking—and the answers they find online can lead to life or death.
Both FaithTech and BGEA are creating websites that address those questions and provide the option to chat with online coaches. Ultimately, these landing pages point people to what they’re truly searching for: a Savior.
“Google search has become our new front line for some of our deepest hurts and struggles, societally,” said Kelly. “We’re trying to enter into the heart of that.”
As leaders in this online mission field, Kelly and Appleton share expertise, training and volunteers. Their teams encourage each other while bringing the Gospel to the fingertips of people who desperately need hope.
“It’s another place we can go with the Gospel, just like we can go to other countries,” Appleton explained. “Because people inhabit the digital space more and more, they are being formed by it. They see it as part of their identity.”
“We need to leverage any possible technological advantage to communicate clearly to people—and digital tools allow us to do that, to reach people we otherwise couldn’t.”