Back when I was a student (and even to some point now), one of the things I really wrestled with was the usefulness of my skills going into IT. Seeing the Kingdom Value in coding or in Systems Administration was one thing that I really had a hard time doing. Of course, that was *ahem* 12 years ago and the world has changed since then. The World Wide Web really came into it’s own, social networking is the latest of a long lineage of connectivity/relational software out there that has enabled people to stay in touch and the role of the geek in any organization has heigtened a bit especially if communication is a part of the goal of that organization.
Well, I helped out Chapter Focus Week this year (InterVarsity runs week long camps at the end of each Spring semester for training and planning for groups for the next school year) and got into some discussions with some friends from NIU and we had some really in depth talks about how we fit into the body and how might IT people be better used or even visualize what they can do for the Kingdom and the idea was floated about having a tech exchange, if you will, where needs can be met with skills. People who otherwise wouldn’t be connect to InterVarsity, the particular ministry I help out in, could reconnect with their alma mater or even the movement in general. Students who are already moving towards a degree can cut their teeth on projects they might otherwise have not known about and InterVarsity chapters can benefit as a whole, and hopefully people can have a fun time doing it.
One of the things I had always appreciated about my time in InterVarsity has been the opportunities I have had to participate, to include my particular skillset (whether it be web design, sound, or geek-fu in general) and to help; it’s been fun, challenging and I’ve always came away learning something. I’ve literally prayed over computers (you laugh, but have you tried it?) and watched God do some amazing things in the field of technology. In short, it’s been a growing experience.
On the same end, I know there is an unending need for skill and there are knowledge gaps that occur when information isn’t passed on. Like a doctor, there seems to be no shortage of ‘sick’ computers. Where does that meet? I think Romans 12 offers a suggestion. IT people are a part of the greater Body and have a vital role to play in advancing God’s kingdom. We can help. So, in the spirit of Open Source Communities, I’d like to propose Body Sourcing; allowing IT people who are a part of a community a chance to help out.
I’ve created a facebook group ‘IV Students/Alumni with IT Skills’ as hopefully a start to this. If you’re not on facebook (and why aren’t you?), get on, and if you’d like to contribute, or even benefit from it, join the group and we can get a dialogue going. Either way, please tell your friends because it’ll be as good as the community that comes to it and by all means have a good time .