Christian Tech Entrepreneurs Find Funds

Recently a small group of tech entrepreneurs met sharing ideas how to grow their startups.  The Huffington Post has a write up here.  The video above highlights interviews from those involved with the Faith and Tech meetup.

Share Your Faith Digitally Because Seeing Is Believing!

Over the past two years, The JESUS Film Project has been working to create a digital presence that is designed to help you in whatever ministry God has for you.

The app contains the entire library of The JESUS Film Project movies—that’s three feature films, two discipleship series, and many of our short films with media in more than 1,100 languages!  They’ve got thousands of video clips at your fingertips to help you share the message of Christ with anyone you meet. On the app you can stream, download or share the films. You can get the app in the App Store by searching “Jesus Film Media” or by going to http://app.jesusfilmmedia.org on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

The app will be available soon for Android devices! They’re working hard to finalize beta testing on all kinds of devices all over the world, so when it gets into the Google Play store, it’ll do just what it should! When it is available, you can search in Google Play for “Jesus Film Media” or go to http://app.jesusfilmmedia.org on any Android device!

The full website http://jesusfilmmedia.org is coming soon! What you see now is only a taste; all of the functionality of the app will be available on the web.  So, those of you without smartphones are not left out. Also, the website is where you will be able to find and share stories of how people are using Jesus Film Media in their ministries.  They will share real-life examples of how to use these tools. And The JESUS Film Project wants to hear how you are using them.

Biola Digital Ministry Conference- Watch Online

On June 5-7, Biola University hosted the 2012 Biola Digital Ministry Conference on their campus in La Mirada, CA.  Biola always does top-notch events. 

They have made available the sessions from the conference on YouTube.  You can view a listing of the speakers here and view the videos of the sessions here.  We have included the session on “The State of Digital Ministry” below.

Church annual reports that will make any designer drool

The church as a whole has come a long way technologically in recent years, and is quickly recognizing the importance of creating a unique and visually captivating web experience.


As our churches continue to grow beyond the traditional model and physical structures, our strategies needed to communicate effectively with an evolving congregation need to change as well.  Recently, Digital Doulos came across two impressive examples of spectacular design and functionality, in the form of the classic annual report.


These two examples belong to a pair of the fastest growing churches in America, LifeChurch.tv (based out of Edmond, OK) and Elevation Church (based out of Charlotte, NC). These aren’t your average annual reports though. They were created with accessibility, design, and simplification as the driving forces. These two churches devoted entire websites, built using the latest web technologies, as a means to clearly identify and communicate every measurable moment of church life from the past year.


These two annual reports serve as excellent sources of inspiration for any design project. They involve excellent use of color, images, and graphics that draw attention right away. In addition, they have a large amount of content that is exceptionally displayed and easily navigated. The layouts and methods used easily stack up against some of the most impressive web designs currently on the internet.


We’ve included a small sampling of screenshots below, but they really don’t do them justice. If you are at all into great design and function, you have to visit the sites themselves. Click the links below to check them out.

LifeChurch.tv’s Annual Report

Elevation Church’s Annual Report

Let us know your thoughts, and share with us any other sources of inspiring web design within the church.


http://digitaldoulos.com/img/annualreport.jpg

The Story- Share the gospel from your website

We came across this great web based booklet and mobile APP that enables you to share the gospel from your website and cell phone.  It is “The Story" from SpreadTruth Ministries.

The Story

"The Story" online version "…was setup for churches, ministries, and individuals to embed on their website!"  They "created the online version specifically for churches, but anyone can use it as a tool to share the Good News."

What is great about “The Story” is that you can sign-up for an account and create your own custom branded version for your website from their dashboard.  Individuals who view “The Story” booklet from your website are able to ask questions, indicate if they want to follow Christ and share it with a friend.  You will personally receive the questions and decisions to your email account.  Also, from the dashboard you can view stats of how many individuals have viewed the booklet from your website.

The mobile APP enables you to share the booklet with others from your phone, view your stats and share the booklet with your custom link across Facebook, Twitter and email.

Check out “The Story" and share the gospel from your website and mobile phone and let others know about it.

We got beat

A couple of months ago, we introduced you to Prayerfully - the first application to come out of a Digital Doulos hackathon. Our vision was to build a web and mobile application that would bring the Google Circles model to prayer, connecting Christians in a more powerful way using digital tools.

Since the first Digital Doulos hackathon in February, a team of talented and committed believers has been working diligently to bring Prayerfully to life. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I was introduced to PrayBuzz and I instantly knew that “we got beat.” While our visions were precisely the same (see the video below), PrayBuzz was able to “beat us” to market.

In business, we are conditioned to dig our heels in, get defensive and persevere when we get beat. But Digital Doulos is not a business. Digital Doulos is a ministry.

When I saw PrayBuzz, my reaction was not one of disappointment; I was thrilled! I was thrilled to see someone execute a vision the Digital Doulos community had so well and bring a tool that The Church needs to life.

Digital Doulos is not about bringing me or any other member of this community fame and fortune through our work at the intersection of technology and The Church. It is about building and sharing tools to strengthen The Church and reach the world for Christ. And the minute it is clear that someone else is providing a better tool to reach those goals, we will gladly and gracefully move on to the next Digital Doulos project.

Can I ask you to do three things to help keep us focused on these goals and our mission?

  1. Check out PrayBuzz.com. The site is in private BETA, so if you would like an invitation, please leave a comment here with your email address and I will get an invite out to you shortly.
  2. Be in prayer for the big things God is actively doing through Digital Doulos. We are a few weeks away from announcing a major event for Fall 2012 and we can use your prayers as we put the finishing touches on our plans.
  3. Connect with the talented team who has been committed to the Prayerfully project since February: Joe Nammour, Emerson Auguste, Imre Mehesz, Sandra Jacques and Jonny Torres

Introducing prayerfully

This past weekend, Christian developers, designers and digital strategists came together in Tampa, Florida for the first-ever Digital Doulos Hackathon. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the event as it unfolded on social media.

The Hackathon was broken down into 4 teams, each working on a different idea that was chosen by the larger Digital Doulos community. One of those ideas was deemed an “Instagram for Prayer.” 

The concept behind the “Instagram for Prayer” was to build an app (mobile or web) that was truly pure in its purpose - to strengthen The Church through prayer. When we said “Instagram for Prayer” we got a lot of questions like, “Does this mean you will be posting a photo of your prayers?” or “So is this only available on iPhone?” Let us take this moment to clarify the “Instagram for Prayer” tag. Instagram has become one of the hottest apps in the world, largely because its purpose is so pure and well defined. Instagram is about one thing and one thing only - sharing beautiful photos with friends. There are no hyperlinks in comments, no video, no status updates. Just photos and a few other carefully chosen pieces of functionality.

The idea of an “Instagram for Prayer” was based on the assumption that Christians can benefit from a place that is that intensely focused on prayer and nothing else. Sure anyone can post a prayer request to Facebook or Twitter, but those platforms are so cluttered with other things. Additionally, there are some things that you want prayer for that you only want certain people to know about. There should be a place for that.

What we came up with is an app we are calling prayerfully which should be released in the next few months. Below is a wealth of information about our thought process and progress on the app to date.

Working logo of prayerfully

As our team began to define the scope of this application at the Digital Doulos Hackathon, we quickly realized that the biggest question that needed to be answered was the “permission structure” of the app. Would this app be like Twitter or Instagram where you can freely follow people? Would it be more of a friend request/accept model like Facebook? Or would it be more like a Google Circles/Facebook lists model where you have separate buckets of people?

After much debate (and eating up a significant chuck of our first two-hour hack sprint) we landed on a Google Circles model called “Prayer Teams.” Fleshing this out made us realize that this model would require some serious programming time which we would not be able to complete in one day or the near future, so we made the decision to scale our idea back for version 1 of the app, while still keeping plans for a Prayer Team model on the table for a later version. Version 1 of the app will be a completely open stream of prayer requests from the entire prayerfully community. Users will have the ability to choose to make any prayer request “anonymous.” Note that we also made the decision early on to build a web app first with plans for a mobile app in a future iteration.

Once we had the permission structure and the general functionality of the app nailed down, we began to wireframe the app:

The following are some clearer wireframes to show you the three main screens of the app.

This first screen is the homescreen of the app. Once the user logs in, they will see a stream of prayer requests with the option to click three buttons on each request:

  1. "Prayed for" - Clicking the "prayed for" button on a particular request will notify the person who posted the request that you have prayed for that request. Clicking "Prayed For" in the navigation will show you all of the requests you have prayed for.
  2. "Comment" - Clicking on the comment button beneath a request will launch you to the permalink for that request (see wireframe #2 below) where you can add a word of encouragement.
  3. "Rebuke" - With an open app like prayerfully, it is essential to allow the user to flag things as inappropriate. We thought it would be fun to name this feature "rebuke."

Below is a wireframe of a permalinked page for a prayer request:

Below is a wireframe for the notifications page within prayerfully. This will show you a list of everyone who has prayed for your requests as well as a list of comments on those requests. This notification stream is almost identical to the one found in Instagram.

After our wireframes were complete and the scope of the app was defined, we began building  - from scratch - the database for the app. In just a few hours, the database structure was complete, giving us one of the biggest wins of the day!

While the database was being built, we worked in parallel to decide on a color scheme for the app and mock-up some initials design of the logo and the app, all of which you can see below:

While we made some incredible progress on prayerfully at the Hackathon, we still have a bit of work left ahead of us prior to launch, which is exactly what we expected heading into the day on Saturday. The “Instagram for Prayer” team has been communicating on a regular basis since Saturday to move the ball forward on this idea and bring it to launch and we have even scheduled another time to meet-up for a mini hackathon in March. If you are interested in joining us to help program the app, please contact Jordan Raynor at jordan [at] digitaldoulos.org.

We would also love your feedback on the app. What do you like? What do you hate? We welcome any and all feedback in the comment section below.

Recapping the first-ever Digital Doulos Hackathon

This past Saturday, we hosted the first-ever Digital Doulos Hackathon in Tampa, Florida and what an incredible event it was! 25 Christian developers, designers and digital strategists came together in one room to begin to build open and free technology for The Church. We could not have done it without God’s grace and your prayers, so thank you!

We were amazed at what we were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. We will be rolling out updates on the progress of each of the four ideas over the course of this week, but first, we thought we would share this brief recap of the day as it unfolded on social media.

What we’re building

Over the last few months, we have asked you - the Digital Doulos community - to submit and vote on your ideas for technology we can build to strengthen The Church and reach the world for Christ. 4 of those ideas have clearly risen to the top and will be built at tomorrow’s first-ever Digital Doulos Hackathon in Tampa! Here they are:

Instagram for prayer
”App that allows Christians to “follow” prayer requests of their friends. Users notify their friends that they are praying for specific requests. When that friend has an update, the praying friend is pinged.”

Pandora app for sermons
“A Pandora type app that would roll up the best of sermons of the country’s best pastors.”

Educational webinars
"A free series of webinars for people in ministry that shares best practices of how other ministries are engaging with their congregations and non-believers via social media.”

Community app
"An online community/app that allows local churches across all denominations to share ideas, pray for one another, join in missions, provide feedback, etc…"

If you want to help us build one of these great ideas, there is still time left for you to RSVP! Of course, we will be posting the results of the hackathon openly here on digitaldoulos.org, so stay tuned!