COVID-19 Global Church Hackathon Results!

“My grandma passed away two weeks ago. Though she didn’t die of the coronavirus, restrictions meant that my grandpa couldn’t be by her side for her final moments. One COVID nurse was asked what her biggest worry was and she responded:

“People dying alone.”

One team found a way to help! More on that in a second…

What is #CovidHack?

#CovidHack was an online global hackathon held March 28th — April 4th, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of the local church.

Over eight days, 684 people from around the world made innovative technological solutions to address 10 challenges that pastors and ministry leaders we’re aching to solve.

Teams submitted 55 solutions for consideration, ranging from social media chatbots to peer-to-peer discipleship apps. The solutions were judged based on how much impact (quality and quantity) they could have, how the products addressed the global churches’ needs during COVID-19 and how scalable and implementable the solutions are.

The four teams are:

Sound of Your Love (1st Place)

Sound of Your Love is a simple service that makes it easy for separated families and friends to connect with one another in the final moments of life.

The project addresses the challenge to build a solution that honors individuals who pass away during this crisis. Whether it be from COVID-19 or other causes, many who are fighting for their lives or nearing the end of theirs do so alone. This is especially true in a time of crisis when in-person celebrations of life and grieving are restricted. Many of them are too weak to speak or hold up a phone. To add to the difficulty, nurses, doctors, and other health care workers have limited time and resources to facilitate connection between loved ones.

While solutions like voicemail, Facetime, and others can facilitate limited communication between loved ones, these solutions are impractical when health care workers have limited bandwidth to do much more than a quick phone call to connect all parties.

Sound of Your Love provides a unique call-in phone number that can be shared with others. When people call the number, they’re instructed on how to record a message. The message is populated in the system and can be easily played back to the patient. The staff can continue their work while the patient listens to the soundtrack of love. Sound of Your Love is an ingenious solution that meets a need that thousands of people around the world have right now — and more are having every day.

To learn more, visit www.soundofyourlove.com

Juniper Tree (2nd Place)

Juniper Tree is a resource aggregator that turns Google Sheets into scalable websites.

The project addresses the challenge to help curate existing resources for the local church and aggregate the many lists already available. It can be difficult for local pastors to have access to the technology needed to make lists of available resources accessible, understandable, and shareable at scale. Many churches are currently doing this through the use of Google Docs, but Google Docs does not scale well.

The Juniper Tree team built an end-to-end solution that allows resources to be collected (via Google Forms), curated (via Google Sheets) and then published to a website site. The elegant and easy to use solution is completely reusable and can be deployed by local churches now.

The team provided an example based on resources compiled by UK based churches: https://covid.churcheshandbook.co.uk/

To start using today, contact https://onesheep.org/

Flourish (3rd Place)

Flourish is a volunteer-matching platform that connects individuals with opportunities based on their passions, skills, and schedule — empowering them to contribute impactfully to their community.

The project addresses the challenge to build a solution to uniquely and proactively share the good news of Jesus during a time of global increased anxiety, fear, stress, and disappointment.

The inspiration for Flourish came from observing the impact a volunteer has when they are serving in a way that aligns their deeply-rooted passions with the skills and talents they’ve been blessed with.

Flourish provides a streamlined response to empower people to better serve their community in-response to COVID-19. Their solution enables the local church to better-serve their community, and to be good news through loving and serving others amid these challenging times, as Jesus called us all to.

The team will complete both the web-based and mobile applications and launch the product shortly.

Hello Neighbour (Community Award)

Hello Neighbour is an app that enables church members to make new connections with people they normally wouldn’t usually connect with.

The project addresses the challenge to build a solution that identifies and supports at-risk geographical neighbours, including an easy method for checking in and helping their tangible needs.

Hello Neighbor does this by employing a creative invitation system that ministry leaders can use to send email invites to community members. After signing up, church members are organized into a pool for matchmaking based on categories defined by the leader like age group, gender and group size.

The platform takes it from there and optimizes on matching members that haven’t matched up before and don’t interact usually. Once members connect, the app provides ice-breakers for them to get conversations going.

The team wanted to create something that would allow people to join a community that already existed around them (their local church) but without barriers such as existing cliques, cultural differences and pressure of initiating conversation. This existing problem was exacerbated during this COVID crisis and the team created a virtual way to establish new connections.

The Community Award is given to the team that reflected the spirit of #covidhack, that is, overcame global challenges (Hello Neighbour had people in 5 time zones to coordinate), engaged online, encouraged other members, and built an excellent product!

For Such a Time as This

The Global Church has the greatest community of entrepreneurs in the world. And during this devastating crisis, we are beginning to innovate, take risks, and play our part with our unique talents to put on display the great love of Jesus Christ.

From all around the world, let’s keep up the innovation!

**All honorable mentions can be found on www.covidhack.com/projects.

A special thank you to my friends Ali Llewellyn and Nicholas Skytland in all they did to help put this hack together (helping put this article together, helping plan the hack, judging with excellence, engaging on slack, and being incredible humans!). You two blow my mind and I’ve deeply loved working with you on this!

And to Son Teerakulchon and Kevin Burgess. It is a TRUE HONOR to work with you two guys day in and day out with FaithTech. A gift. Truly.

Learn more about FaithTech at faithtech.com.

Want to join the movement? Start here.

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Exploring the world of faith and the world of technology. Can these two worlds co-exist? Or are they the same world? Do they cooperate or conflict? It’s uncharted territory. Chart it with us.

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James Kelly, Founder of FaithTech.com

James Kelly, Founder of FaithTech.com

James is married with two kids. Lives in Waterloo, Canada. And likes all things faith and tech.

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