Developing software and connecting people to Jesus

3 Mar 2021

What do you do?

My passion finds itself at the intersection between software development and church planting efforts. Specifically, I build mobile apps to further church planting among unreached peoples. The field-driven element means that teams on the ground communicate their vision for how apps can benefit their work.

Our new network of software developers and related skills, called Upstream, has three goals. Upstream creates demand for mobile apps by making field teams aware of how apps can further their work. Second, the network connects software developers already on the field. Third, Upstream works with mobilisation bases to recruit software developers to work with unreached peoples. Yet all of these goals serve a fourth larger purpose; to develop apps that advance church planting efforts for field teams.

What are some challenges of being a leader in your ministry?

It has been difficult feeling alone in my software development efforts. I am incredibly thankful for everyone who has rallied around me as I create spaces for software developers to get involved in work among unreached peoples. I am a programmer at heart and am not always the best at all of the administrative and networking skills required to get a movement off the ground. The reality of starting creative initiatives can simultaneously be thrilling and lonely work.

When we lived in a closed country in Asia serving nomadic Buddhist peoples, we often met Monks in isolated areas with iPhones and great 4G connection. I saw first-hand how gospel content distributed through mobile apps can be a tool for church planting teams. It can be a challenge to take my experiences and data from the field and communicate a clear vision about how mobile apps can intersect with the unreached.

What are the joys of being a leader in your ministry?

It is incredible to already see so much support for the network and how it can be used. I am very excited to see where God will take this creative initiative.

Is there an anecdote that you would like to share?

During my time in uni, God gave me a growing desire to integrate technology and missions. I was surrounded by international students and learning about God’s heart for the nations. To my dismay, there were only two options after graduation. I could basically put my heart for the nations aside and enter the software development industry or leave the software development industry and go to the nations. No options existed to integrate these things other than sitting in a back office at a mission agency.

Where were the innovative missionaries on the ground pushing the boundaries with technology? If they existed, how would I find them, especially in an era of missions where organisations are hesitant to share information about where their missionaries are and what they are doing? I do not have all of the answers, but my step of obedience at this point in time is to create a landing pad for software developers and those with related skills interested in mobile apps.

What do you value the most about your role? 

I am blessed to serve under fantastic leaders who both encourage innovation and provide solid direction. Their mentorship has been invaluable to help me wrestle through many questions and challenges related to getting Upstream off the ground. Our team has worked hard to build a high level of trust, which allows freedom to have conflict together and know we still care deeply about one another. My relationship with the team and my leaders in particular is something I greatly value.

What would you say to somebody who is thinking about joining the mission field?

I would simply encourage you to not set aside who God created you to be, including how He has shaped you through your training and profession. At a larger scale across the mission world, God is inviting His people to creatively engage the unreached. There may not be a “box” to fit you in yet, but that does not necessarily mean you are called to drop your vocation to be an evangelist. He calls some to do this, but I am speaking to those called to integrate their profession with work among least reached peoples.

-Joswin, a Pioneers worker serving in Asia.

Is God calling you to join the mission field? Get in touch.

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