Mission IT Users

MissionITUsers

From MissionTechWiki

Contents

Mission IT Users

The reason for using IT in missions, is not for the sake of IT, but rather for the sake of helping the users. There are many categories of IT users. This is not an all encompassing list.

Home office users

The mission home offices have a lot of business type work to do using technology. Things like tracking funds, organizing outreaches, processing statistics, creating publications, and constituent management.

Technology is used as a backbone for most of the home office work. Every mission needs computer support at the home office, as well as a great variety of compting tools.

Field Personnel

The term Field Personnel refers to people sent from one country to another, but to contrast them with "National Workers", we will state that they are sent from a home office (usually from a developed nation). The people on the field do a lot of different things, and they use a lot of technologies.

There are a few ways to service missionaries on the field.

  • Home office support: Every home office usually has computer people who help troubleshoot laptops over email or through bomgar.
  • Peer to Peer: There are always a few missionaries who are the resident gurus in their town. Most towns/regions have multiple missionaries working there and the most techie one there usually gets stuck fixing the computers of the rest of the missionary populace.
  • Conference trips: [1] and sideros put together "conference trips." Missionaries from regions or the same organization, usually gather together once a year. When a team of IT guys show up at one of these conferences, they can fix a high percentage of the computer problems of that region.

National Workers

National Workers are either workers from developing nations (usually who are not under a mission organization), or workers that simply go out without the umbrella of a mission organization. Part of the Great Commission is to "teach them to obey all I have commanded." One of the commandments we have been given is to "Go ye into all the world..." It is very natural for people of every tongue, tribe, and nation to realize that they too have been told to "Go." But there are a lot of infrastructure problems with trying to support these eager workers for the Lord.

Many national workers use cyber cafes for sending email. Most do not have the luxury of owning their own computer. There are many Bible libraries on CD for national workers.

Types of missions efforts

There are many types of mission efforts, each with a different set of tools and problems.

Hospitals

Medical missions have been around for many years. Sadly, most information technology in missionary hospitals cannot rival that in the huge hospitals in more developed countries. But some of them can have some very complicated systems.

Bible Training Centers

Bible training centers is one of the great places to equip National Workers with computer skills. A Bible Training Center may have a humdred graduates per year, and these graduates do much of the missionary work that happens around the world. If the Bible Training Center has good technology that is available to the students, the students can decide if computer technology will be able to facilitate their work.

Orphanages

Many orphanages would benefit from better computer technology. Many of them track everything by paper. With so much adoption occuring internationally, and with all the ways to network with adoption agencies, computer technology is almost imperative. But many missionary orphanages do not have a good technological infrastructure.

Church Planting

Much of the missions work is done through church planting. There are some good software packages for a fledgling church to use to handle finances, web-pages, congregation tracking, and much more. But most of these packages need to be translated into other languages.

Pastors use a lot of digital texts while preparing sermons. Having a digital library along with you can be a great asset, especially since books often do not do well in many environments (Not that computers do much better. But you at least plan on replacing your computer every X years. You usually do not plan on re-purchasing your library.)

Humanitarian

Humanitarian outreaches are a very effective way to show the Love of God to the nations. When there is a catastrophe, often Christians are the first one in and the last ones out.

Technology is used to coordinate humanitarian efforts (Not all of these links are to Christian organizations). And these are but a small subset of the types of resources out there.

Evangelism

Evangelism is but part of the overall task of missions, but it is a vital part. Evangelism is incorporated within many of the previous tasks. There is "Friendship Evangelism" where one is simply a good example in the workforce, and a friend. The other side of the spectrum is street evangelism, where one spreads the Gospel to strangers on the street.

Technology helps evangelism in many ways. There are audio tracts one can hand out (which are created using technology), evangelism events are coordinated using computer technology, and collections of statistics help determine where evangelism outreaches should occur.

Tool Production

The Vernacular Media Systems branch of JAARS tracks most of the types of audio and visual tools created for the spread of the Gospel.

These are tools like tracts, the Jesus Film and Global Recordings that are created in the various languages of the world.

Schools

There are many schools around the world involved in missions and technology. Some are schools run by missionaries for national children. Some are schools for the children of missionaries. Some are a combination of both of these models. Technology has become an important part of the educational process. There is a need for IT people to support the IT users in mission schools around the world.

Original page: http://www.missiontech.info/wiki/MissionITUsers
from the MissionTech Wiki created by the International Conference on Computers and Missions

Faith (for Content):