Activating Christians in Tech: Seattle’s Code for the Kingdom Hackathon

by Chris Lim | March 2, 2018

Seattle Christians in tech! We are gathering March 9th-10th at Northwest University for Code for the Kingdom 2018 and it’s going to be awesome:

Developers, designers, entrepreneurs, creative individuals from all disciplines, investors, non-profits, and churches, will design and create new ways to tackle challenges confronting our society, our communities, and our lives from a Christian perspective.

Come join! You can register here (it’s free).

By the way, if you’re afraid of not being “good enough”, don’t worry. Code for the Kingdom brings people together across the different sectors in the tech/business/church/non-profit world. There’s people of all skill levels and giftings. The beauty of it all is that we can work side by side for the Gospel.

 

Why we support Code for the Kingdom

Our mission at TheoTech is to “activate a movement of technology entrepreneurship for the Gospel.” We support the Code for the Kingdom hackathon movement because it fits the sweet spot where all three intersect.

My first hackathon was AngelHack Seattle where I discovered serving other people’s ideas as a way to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Soon after I traveled to the Bay Area Code for the Kingdom with friends to build and pitch Ceaseless (it won a prize!).

That’s when I started organizing hackathons.

I was scared. It was my first time learning to raise money. It was my first time inviting others to a big event I helped organized. As an introvert, I assumed people would say, “No”. Yet, as the date approached for the first Code for the Kingdom Seattle, the registrations kept coming. It changed me.

Soon after we hosted a Code for the Kingdom at Microsoft and the next year, we had a global event with more than 10 cities (GeekWire reported on Seattle’s) where I gave a talk titled “Why Code for the Kingdom?

It sounds all well and good, but here’s the thing.

Seattle’s tech industry has skyrocketed. Amazon alone has grown from 5,000 Seattle tech employees in 2010 to more than 40,000. Overall Seattle has more than 143,000 tech workers, 56,000 of which are foreign born, out of which 40% are from India and 13% are from China. There should be at least 18,000 Christians in tech in Washington state alone.

As of this writing, our Seattle meetup group has a little more than 300 members. The most we’ve had at a Seattle event is about 150, or less than 1% of the existing “market”. I am immensely grateful for this community, but I do wonder, what does it take to serve and activate the other 99%?

Activating Christians in Tech

After doing so many events, I believe the key to activating Christians in tech is consistent storytelling.

We can’t all be in the same place at the same time, but we can all inhabit a shared story. We need to keep sharing and hearing the stories of what God is doing in and through our entire community to keep the movement moving. That’s why we started this blog and the TheoTech Podcast. We want to encourage our fellow Christians in the work God has called them to do (in the tech space and beyond). Want to support this storytelling? You can help by backing us on Patreon and sending us stories to share.

Furthermore, Jesus said to pray for God to send more workers so I agree with him :-).

And lastly, we need more leaders to try out “new models of engagement“. I believe tech workers want meaningful connections, meaningful work and a meaningful life. We believe God’s Kingdom provides for all of these needs through relationships, vocations and rest integrated into a life of worship.

Hackathons are a way to give people a taste of all of that in one weekend. You pull an all-nighter with strangers and friends (relationships). You get to use your gifts and talents for a cause you care about (vocations). And you celebrate together (rest).

It’s not a silver bullet, but it’s a great start.

 

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