In the spirit of generosity, Life.Church, Compassion International, and a number of Christian organizations are working together on a new open source initiative called Open Digerati. This initiative will unify people who are kingdom-minded and skilled in technology, giving them a place to serve the Church with their God-given talent.

This initiative empowers designers, developers, and engineers to collaborate, develop, and improve technologies that will revolutionize the Church and change the world, says Terry Storch, Life.Church Director of Digerati.”

What does ‘Open Digerati’ mean exactly? Well, digerati are digital information technology experts and ‘open’ refers to open source technology, which is any program or application whose source code is licensed to be freely used, shared, and modified. Open source programming has a defined set of criteria that make it truly open. Well-known open source software examples are OpenOffice, Linux, Android, Firefox, and Google Chrome. Microsoft Windows is the most well-known closed-source software.

Open Source Church Community

Open Digerati is a community of open source tech experts and the first initiative of its kind emerging from within the Church. The goal is to see many faith-based organizations around the world contributing to new and existing projects in the months and years ahead. This is the next step in creating “digital missions” that will be innovating with the help of passionate digerati around the world.

But we don’t just want to see extraordinary technologies developed,” explains Storch. “As people come together under this mission, we also hope to build a community of people that will encourage and sharpen one another. God is directing this initiative, and it’s humbling to think about how He is working through the Church with the use of technology to make it easier for people to come to know Him.”

Compassion International is currently building an open-source data analysis tool with Open Digerati. Once complete, the tool will make it easier for churches and businesses to create visual representations of data analytics to help with decision making.

We believe tools and technologies like the Data Analysis Tool will help Compassion plan where best to allocate resources,” shares Mike Aleckson, Director of Technology Innovation at Compassion International. “Without tools like this, decisions about resource allocation and expansion of the ministry are more difficult to make with precision.”

Open Network has also given away free resources from Life.Church and a number of churches for the past ten years. Open Digerati builds on that foundation by empowering designers, developers, and engineers to collaborate, develop, and improve technologies that will revolutionize the Church and change the world.

Current Open Digerati projects include:

Rock RMS (by Spark Development Network) An enterprise-level relationship management system very similar to church management software (ChMS) and open source community designed to power churches and promote collaboration.

Validstate (from Life.Church Open Network) Designed to simplify the logic of a React application by removing the need for conditional code and putting all state conditions in one place.

DNAQuery (from YouVersion) A command line utility, written in Go, to take LogDNA archives and load them into BigQuery.

Project Lighthouse (from Project Lighthouse) Help build a mobile app platform for pastors and non-profits to make it “easy to serve and be served.”

k8s-deploy-helper (from YouVersion) A set of tools to enable a standardized methodology of building Docker containers and deploying them to Kubernetes using GitLab CI.

Terraform Static Sites (from YouVersion) Static websites in AWS S3.

Melos (from YouVersion) A collection of React UI components from YouVersion and the Open Digerati Team used to build consistent, clean, and delightful user-interfaces.

Compassion Data Analysis Tool (from Compassion) A tool to import various data (via .csv, json, api, xml, etc) and cleanse the data to a common structure and field formatting that could be used with Tableau or other BI tools.

Follow Open Digerati’s blog and Twitter feed to stay connected, learn more, read articles, and see how this work is growing all over the world. Interested developers can also join the Open Digerati #Slack workspace to get started collaborating.