#Hack4Missions Challenges

Technology has the potential to propel missions and change the way the gospel is shared around the world. At #Hack4Missions, we’ll apply our skills to help eight missions organizations integrate missional technologies into their work through a number of real-world projects, ranging from data visualization to drone development.

1. Data Visualization for Mobilization│Frontier Ventures

Data visualization is a general term describing any effort to help viewers understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context. Data visualization helps decision-makers identify patterns, trends, and correlations through graphic representations that might go undetected in text-based data.

This project will help identify places where human suffering is connected to pollution by combining data sets about unreached people groups with data sets connected to pollution and environmental issues. Teams will analyze and visualize specific data sets to help viewers deepen their understanding of God’s global mission and their place in it.

2. Talent-Matching for Missions│Frontier Ventures

Online talent-matching platforms are increasing in popularity and proving to be efficient mechanisms that connect people to relevant work opportunities. These platforms can also help people be effectively mobilized into missions by aligning their skills and interests with existing missions opportunities.

This project will develop an online talent-matching platform to match students with missions and training opportunities. This platform will help generate new momentum and awareness for missions opportunities, inspire new participants, and serve in reaching the world with the gospel.

3. Radio Ministry Monitoring│Trans World Radio (TWR)

Despite the rise of social media and the digital age, radio remains one of the most powerful communication tools of the 21st century. TWR broadcasts the gospel around the world using many mediumwave and shortwave transmitters but needs a way to evaluate how well the signal is being received in listener areas. This includes measuring signal strength at certain times of the day and evaluating if any interference is present that prevents good reception.

This project will develop a method to automatically request, extract, and store data from a receiver in order to inform program producers how well the listeners are receiving the message.

4. Find My Discipler│Pioneers

To effectively disciple new believers and build the global Church, it’s critical to turn digital evangelism into face-to-face communication, with the end goal of seeing church-planting movements initiated from Pioneers media contacts. To do that, Pioneers works with several other ministries in places where they don’t have field workers. Miscommunication or drop-offs often take place in this transition between ministries. Sometimes follow-up meetings never happen, or Pioneers never receives feedback from the meeting.

This project will address that challenge by building a native mobile app to better facilitate the process of meeting with new believers who want to start discussing faith and studying the Bible. The app is based on the idea of Uber, where a centralized system sends out requests to all phones within a geographic area. This area is defined by the given contact’s location and the range where follow-up members can travel.

5. Drone Airstrip Survey Challenge│Mission Aviation Fellowship

Airstrips, especially those in remote locations, require regular inspection to ensure that pilots are aware of changing conditions. Rain can cause significant erosion and may create large ditches near the runway. Over time, trees or new buildings can also create hazards for landing on the runway. Looking over and assessing the airstrips can be time-consuming, and pictures and records of the airstrips aren’t kept up-to-date.

This project will develop a drone navigation system to survey airstrips, including custom programing to allow the vehicle to autonomously take off, fly an appropriate grid pattern while taking photos, and land at the starting location.  

6. Missional.Life Mobile App│Service Reef

The Missional.Life website allows users to share stories, pictures, prayers, and updates with supporters and encouragers as they begin pursuing their God-given, missional callings and reach their goals. The current website has a responsive design, but a native application would help streamline the experience, making it easier for users to share stories, pictures, and prayers from their mobile devices.

This project will help develop app functionalities to log in as well as viewing and posting to the activity feed. The stretch goal will be to allow users to create a profile on Missional.Life through create wizard.

7. Propensity Model for Successful Evangelization│Cru

Advances in data science and computer science make it possible to use ministry data to help discover insights and draw new conclusions about how to more effectively reach the world with the gospel. Cru is working on a propensity model, such as an algorithm or equation, to help increase the conversion or growth rate for its evangelistic website.

Given an anonymized set of behavioral data (50 million events or more), the project will predict the likelihood that someone will engage with a gospel presentation and accept Christ. This will bring together multiple analytic disciplines, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, behavioral science, and marketing strategies to address the challenge. Teams will use the model to address questions like:

  • How do we design better digital content based on our understanding of the people who visit these websites?
  • How do we ensure that we’re not hindering people from access to the gospel as they come to an evangelistic site but instead provide them with the right content at the right time?
  • What are the factors that indicate people’s readiness to receive a gospel presentation or discipleship content?  

8. Transliteration Dashboard│Wycliffe

The Bible is one of the oldest and most popular books of all time. It’s something that everyone should be able to read in their own language, but approximately 1,600 languages around the world are still waiting for a translation project to begin.

This project will build a web app that helps individuals visualize the diversity of language and the value of Bible translation. The app will allow users to type their names and see them instantly translated or transliterated into several languages. It will utilize an interactive React dashboard used by missionaries and churches around the world and also at Wycliffe’s Discovery Center at its corporate headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

9. Automation of Bible Story Video Creation│SIL International

There are approximately 150 stories in the Bible, telling about everything from creation to heaven. And for centuries, visual storytelling has helped people understand these stories. One of the more recent methods of visual storytelling, the Ken Burns effect, focuses on different types of panning and zooming.    

This project will automate the process of generating videos of Bible stories, using the Ken Burns effect, so people have easy access to Bible stories in their own language. Given inputs, the automation will extract text and audio for a piece of Scripture and insert it into the Bible story template. This will allow another process to generate a video from the Bible story. The video will then be uploaded to the Internet.