November Email

Welcome to Hack4Missions! We’re so excited that you are joining us for the first ever Urbana hackathon.

Urbana exists to invite each of us to give our whole lives for God’s global mission - and Hack4Missions explores what is possible when we come together and focus on specific missional challenges. Hack4Missions is not a job fair (although there will be great engagement opportunities), an incubator (although projects will be carried forward to deployment), or a code academy (although you will definitely learn a lot!) - but it will challenge you, engage you, and envision you.

Our prayer is that Hack4Missions will catalyze the development of a community of people applying their particular skills in technology, design, and digital strategies to God’s purposes on the Earth.

A few things you need to know:

  • The general overview: Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Hackathons are intense and exhausting - and conferences like Urbana even more so. You’ll be traveling (some of you a long way), in sessions all morning, hacking all afternoon, and spending your nights responding to God, hanging out with friends, and coding some more. Come prepared to jump in, work hard, and work smart.
  • Who will be there? We have accepted 190 participants ages 18-29, and will be joined by nearly 20 mentors.
  • What will we be working on? 12 awesome challenges are currently being finalized for the hackathon and will be shared online in early December. These challenges will cross a variety of subjects including advanced data mining, technology strategy, digital marketing, platform development, cybersecurity, mobile apps, and UX/UI design.
  • Join the Hack4Missions Slack group to start connecting with each other! You should have an invitation in your inbox this week. Sign up and introduce yourself. We’ll be using Slack as our primary communication tool leading up to and during Hack4Missions.  
  • Join the Facebook group for regular announcements and updates. We will approve people on the accepted participant list; if your name appears different on Facebook, be sure you let us know.
  • Use the #hashtag! We’d love to see you go ahead and start posting on social media about why you are excited about #hack4missions at #urbana15!
  • Book your hotel. If you haven’t already, check out more details here and make sure your room is reserved!

We’ll send another email update in mid-December before the event with more details, but our primary communication going forward will be through Slack, so please join and get involved.

If you have questions, Slack us or reach out to - we’re so looking forward to being in St. Louis with you!

The Hack4Missions Team

December Email

We are so excited for you to participate in Hack4Missions. The hackathon is a place at Urbana where ideas are hatched, trends are discovered, and students, mentors, challenge leads, and missionaries all collide in one location. It’s hard to imagine right now how God will use our time together but we know one thing—he has big plans!

As we prepare for Hack4Missions, we want you to be ready to press in during our time together. To be well-prepared and equipped for a successful conference and hackathon, please review these particular items carefully:

  • What to bring to Urbana: Your laptop and any required peripherals. If you require extra monitors or additional machines, bring them along. Aim for the sweet spot between “everything I need” but not “too weighed down with stuff.”
  • What to bring daily to the hackathon: A water bottle to refill. Any additional snacks you want (we will have some snacks and drinks, but supplements are welcome). An open and humble heart.
  • Gear Drop Off Time: If you want to drop off your materials, gear, and supplies in the Hack4Missions room before the conference begins, you must do so on Sunday, December 27 from 4-6 p.m. The Magnolia Hotel is not accessible outside the hackathon session times. We’ve arranged for the room (Magnolia Hotel, 2nd floor, Julia King Room) to be open during this time for drop off. Whatever you do not drop off on the 27th, you will have to leave in your hotel room and grab after the morning session on December 28. Do not bring luggage or large equipment to the America’s Center.
  • We will start everyday (Dec. 28-31) at 1:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Hotel. It will be a tight turnaround to grab lunch and make it in time, but it’s doable! We only have 12 hours together total, and it is vital for us to make as much as we can of the time as possible. Please grab lunch quickly so you’re at the hotel and ready to go by 1:30 p.m.
  • Since we’re the tech people anyway: Download the Urbana app and the Slack app. The Urbana app is one of the best ways to stay well-informed on general conference info. The Slack app is you best source for Hack4Missions updates.

For general Urbana logistics and arrival information, go to

Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! Email

Blessings this Advent season,

Ali and Nick for the Hack4Missions team

P.S. Check out previous Hack4Missions emails here.