How hacking could help the church get more creative

This is a copy of my April post for Big Bible – please do check out all the other Digi Disciples!

‘Hacking’ is bad. it’s done by rebels and revolutionaries trying to bring down institutions or make a political stand. Or that’s how it was. Over the last couple of months I’ve attended a number of events for web developers and designers, one of which was called a ‘hack event’.

Hacks are now organised to encourage creativity and innovation over a particular period of time. The ‘Culture Code‘ hack I attended was 24 hours set up to get cultural sector organisations and developers, designers and artists together. 120 lots of data were shared and small groups began to form to create websites, apps, and other media fuelled by pizza, red bull and sweets.

This was a great event for a number of reasons;

1. designers and developers did really cool things with data that is otherwise pretty boring

2. they had a 3D printer they were showing off

3. all sorts of people who would not normally talk to each other began to have a dialogue

4. there was more pizza than you can possibly imagine

5. it was held in an awesome cinema complex and I watched The Goonies at 6am

6. the project that won the overall competition was for a children’s poverty charity – it reminded me that people do care

7. they had lots of excellent freebies including an Arduino (which I’m yet to play with)

8. it’s amazing what you can get done in 24 hours when you set your mind to it

9. you get to know lots of new people

10. lots of other projects were discussed and future collaborations were born

So – with all that in mind,

WHY DON’T CHURCHES HAVE SIMILAR EVENTS?

It doesn’t even need to be developers and designers, it could be worship leaders and digital media artists, liturgy writers and children’s workers, intercessors and painters…

I’ve babbled on about collaboration before but these events have highlighted for me the lack of creative collaborations within churches. We need to be putting unlikely matches of people in a room together for 24 hours with plentyful amounts of pizza (or quiche), lots of sweets and a range of Bibles and see what happens. For those of you that were paying attention over Advent, you will have been aware of ‘The Littlest Star’, a story written by Richard Littledale which was illustrated, formatted, sponsored, printed and in people’s hands within a couple of weeks – IMAGINE what we could all do given 24 hours in a room together!

I also volunteered at a conference called DIBI (Design it, Build it) and noticed that they had a sleepover to open the event, a party on the first night at a local pub and then a closing party on the second day – all these events were sponsored which meant free stuff in abundance…

What’s happened to all the parties?? Jesus spent so much of his time eating with people, I wonder why we’ve lost this as part of our spiritual practice?

All in all, I’d like to hear from anyone who would be interested in organising more creative events of this kind to encourage collaboration and innovation. Perhaps we could tag a hack onto an exisiting event / conference? If you are interested in alternative ways to do events and learn together – do check out anewloom or the anewloom blog where I’ve been exploring this further.

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