I love my job. It’s as simple as that.
Last week, the devs and designers on two of my teams were all pretty quiet. Or not in the office at all. But they were working, oh they were working.
It was Ship-It Week for our Life.Church Digerati Interactive and Open Network teams. They had seven days to dream, design, and deploy a new feature or gadget or process that would help us as a church be even better at leading people to Christ.
Ship-It Week was started in the Digerati group by our YouVersion team many years back. Some really amazing things have come from these weeks — for example, the current interface and design you use on your Bible App was developed and designed in a Ship-It Week!
I wanted to give you a glimpse of the project presentations and “closing ceremonies” for Ship-It Week, and share what these talented team members (and God) are doing to leverage technology to reach the world for Christ.
Project 1: The Blue Button — The winner of Ship-It Week!
A group from our Interactive Team painted the picture of a person coming to our Life.Church website for the first time: it would be like entering one of our campuses that was completely empty — no staff, no greeters, no lights, no nothing. To create an atmosphere that welcomes people, that meets people right where they are, you have to inject a little human-ness into a website, and they did that through a ‘blue button.’ It’s a chat-like integration that allows team members or volunteers to talk with people, answer questions, and pray with people in real time. They even created a set of custom premade interactions that can intelligently help people find the pages or answers they need.
Project 2: Open Network SSO
Our Open Network team has built and supports four distinct apps, and over the last 11 years, they’ve served more than 430,000 pastors and church leaders with these free church tools. That’s a lot of user accounts, and that’s a lot of back-end data to manage. Many of those users have multiple logins for the different apps we offer, too. So, working in Rails 5.1 and React, two team members tackled “OpenAuth,” a kind of single sign-on that would not only help users create accounts and jump easily between them, but would also help the Open Network team learn how to better serve them.
Project 3: Captioning
Project 4: Augmented Reality
You’ve seen it in Iron Man when Tony Stark can see his ‘instrument panel’ in his helmet. Our team asked, “How could augmented reality help people learn more about our church and God?” Built with Apple’s new ARKit for iOS 11, the team demoed some cool examples: a QR code on a mailer that opens to a video promo for a new series, Shine the Star from the Bible App for Kids helping kids learn a verse, and live signups for the small groups available on our LifeGroups wall at campuses.
Project 5: Search with ‘Actions Index’
In keeping with the theme of making otherwise-cold, digital sites more warm and welcoming, the next team worked on an advanced search system paired with something they call the ‘Actions Index.’ Working together, the upgraded search and the Actions Index combs every Life.Church web property and pulls all the returns into one easy-to-navigate page — and it even searches actionable items like signups, online giving, and forms.
Project 6: Church Online Platform Reactions
According to our Life.Church Online team, 90% of people who watch an online service don’t engage with the chat. And since we know how important it is for people to have community online, our team worked on a solution that lowers the barrier-to-entry for an online experience. They created a heart reaction that you can pop at any point in the service that you like. It’s a fun, colorful interaction that doesn’t require a signup or any vulnerability, but it helps bring people one step closer to engaging in an online community. Learn more about doing online ministry with the free Church Online Platform, and fiddle around with the demo for reactions here.
These are just a few of the projects our teams work on every day, and I love how each one helps to bring humanity, warmth, and authenticity to technology. They push the limits and change the norms to help lead people to Christ.
And that’s exactly what Digerati Ship-It Week at Life.Church is about.
If you want to be part of this amazing team — and maybe be onboard for our next Ship-It Week — check out all the positions we have open.
Learn about Life.Church Innovation and the ins and outs of planning your own Ship-It Week in this related post.
You can hear even more about innovation in the capital “C” Church from Terry on his site.
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