Students will prototype new ideas and create real-time solutions to challenges confronting missions organizations.
Led by Hack4Missions directors Ali Llewellyn and Nick Skytland, cofounders of the International Space Apps Challenge and the National Day of Civic Hacking as members of NASA’s Open Innovation team, over 200 students will explore technology’s place in God’s global mission.
The participants will use their skills to advance God’s Kingdom and receive mentoring from technology and missions leaders.
“We live in an unprecedented time where technology enables us to connect instantaneously with someone on the complete opposite side of the world,” said Skytland. “What it means to be on mission, to serve others, and to be a global church is literally being redefined right in front of us–and it’s technology that’s making this a reality.
“There’s a huge opportunity to rethink missions, to use technology to change the world, and to collaborate with others who share this mission.”
Skytland attended Urbana 03 as a college senior and over the past 12 years has helped organize over 700 hackathons in more than 100 countries. He has also designed next-generation space suits and trained space-bound astronauts.
Llewellyn is a veteran of broad-scale public-private mass collaborations which aim at improving governance and engaging citizens. She has also traveled globally to work with church planting movements.
“Our goal for Hack4Missions is that the participants come away deeply connected with each other and with a vision to apply technology in innovative ways for God’s purposes,” Llewellyn said.
“We want this generation of students to be equipped and sent out into digital spaces to share Jesus using digital strategies.”
While Urbana’s hackathon is ambitious in its scope and scale, it’s not without precedent, as Llewellyn and Skytland’s hackathon experiences indicate. The Washington Post also recently reported on a group of Christians in Nairobi, Kenya, who conducted a hackathon focused on fighting corruption and increasing transparency in government.
At Urbana 15, more than 16,000 participants will spend five days engaging with God through Bible study, seminars and tracks, and general sessions. They’ll explore where their gifts fit into God’s global mission.
Participants will also have the opportunity to meet with missionaries and leaders from over 250 missions organizations and seminaries exhibiting at Urbana.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an interdenominational ministry with over 40,000 students involved on 649 campuses nationwide. Urbana 15 is also sponsored by InterVarsity Canada and Groupes Bibliques Universitaires et Collégiaux du Canada.