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OpenTech Ministries » Kingdom ImpacT

Kingdom ImpacT

This is what you will see:­

  • Overview: Kingdom Impact targets churches and associations through a regular newsletter / e-magazine that features open source software, how it can be implemented, and the potential impact it can have because of better stewardship.
  • Priority: 4/5
  • ImpacT Overview: Here are a few quick numerical examples:
    • Office Software: A typical church with only two computers spends about $1,000 over the course of 5 years on basic office productivity software (word processing, spreadsheet, p­resentation & desktop publishing).  While that doesn’t seem like a lot, that means 1,000 churches waste an aggregate of one million dollars!  And that doesn’t ensure compatibility with other staff members or churches. We provide a better way, freeing up resources for better use.
    • ­
    • Website Hosting: Hosting packages are cheap.  At only $5.95 per month, it doesn’t seem like a waste, but that means 1,000 churches are spending $72,000 a year on basic website hosting.  For a fraction of that cost (say 10%), you could host those same churches and more, freeing up over $60,000 for other uses… what could you do with that money for your community?
    • ­Sophisticated church management software like ACS, Shelby or Raiser’s Edge (CRM) easily run over $10,000 per year per church, which can equate to more than $10,000,000 lost on recurring licensing fees, for a single application, with no permanent benefit (again, 1,000 churches).  What if, however, a church or association had leadership in place paired with real Kingdom vision? Imagine what would happen if they decided that part of their contribution to Kingdom growth was to invest in open source programs for the benefit of not just themselves… but any church, anywhere.  Imagine if their vision was “We help fund the development of useful and needed software to any church in the world in order to free their vital resources for other things.”  Again, a fraction of the aggregate would make it possible.
  • Current ImpacT: Where we are
  • Future ImpacT: The key to all of this is the ability to duplicate.
  • More Info & Links: Self explanatory
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To integrate:

  • Providing “enabling technology” through combined stewardship
  • General Overview of KIT & Specific projects

A sample letter that we sent recently to a “Big Church Association”.  It is fairly succinct and puts it into perspective.

We work with a lot of proprietary & commercial applications but focus on Open Source Software, which you may be familiar with in the form of WordPress, Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice.org.  We focus on and advocate programs like these because it is the best stewardship possible; there are no licensing fees to pay and it grants the ability to legally distribute these programs to the church office, staff and members alike, ensuring 100% compatibility.

We find there are basically two types of churches and non-profits from a technological standpoint.  Big budget organizations, because of abundant resources, rarely question the comparatively small amount of money they spend on enabling technologies.  Smaller budget organizations, however, who need much of the same technology, usually can’t afford systems like ACS or Shelby (management software), Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge, MediaShout, and even regular updates of MS Office & Publisher.  These smaller churches often find viable alternatives in the form of Open Source Software.  With proper leadership and vision, those same alternative programs would unleash by an order of magnitude the technological resources freely available to, and in use by, churches and non-profit organizations worldwide regardless of size.

How does this all apply to the world at large?  Stop and consider the amount of money non-profit organizations, churches, church associations and educational institutions spend on software licensing fees that could be freed up for more meaningful Kingdom work (from a church perspective, I call it Kingdom ImpacT, but it applies to non-church organizations – ImpacT).  The follow is an example based on the Big Church Association (BCA) which has over 13,000 churches.

A small church with only two computers typically spends over $1,000 in a five year period on basic office productivity and desktop publishing applications (MS Office & Publisher).  Multiply that by only 10% of BCA churches, and we’re talking over a million dollars lost in five years.  Likewise, ACS, Shelby or Raiser’s Edge easily run over $10,000 per year per church, which can equate to more than $13,000,000 lost on recurring licensing fees, for a single application, with no permanent benefit.

What if, however, a church or association had leadership in place paired with real Kingdom vision? Imagine what would happen if they decided that part of their contribution to Kingdom growth was to invest in open source programs for the benefit of not just themselves… but any church, anywhere.  Imagine if their vision was “We help fund the development of useful and needed software to any church in the world in order to free their vital resources for other things.”

CiviCRM, for example, is an Open Source Constituent Relationship Management program that currently maintains membership, contributions, mailing lists, & event registration.  It is already in use by thousands of churches and associations worldwide.  There has been talk in the online community about creating a “CiviChurch” module that would extend its functionality to specifically help churches with features much like ACS or Shelby Systems.  While this would initially require a capital investment to ramp up, it would also provide a permanent solution for any interested church, both big and small, without the recurring licensing fees.

Imagine if the aggregate money that churches spent on technology was combined and reduced to a fraction of the cost for comparable features, thereby freeing up the remainder of resources for other Kingdom Impacting projects.  It would allow a far greater amount of churches to have access to a wider range of resources at no cost; any improvement contributed by one would be available to all.  Pay once, multiply anywhere.

My vision is beyond my current resources, but it is God given, and therefore, unquestionably doable.  I also believe that it aligns directly with the society’s desire to equip under-resourced non-profits and churches.  Imagine the ability to provide them with a CD or thumb-drive (or download link) that has office productivity, desktop publishing, membership management software, a worship presentation package, and tutorials without them having to worry about costly restrictive licensing and copyright issues.

OpenTech Ministries’ priority is to bring this God-given vision to fruition and to forge relationships with others who share a similar vision of equipping organizations and local churches through Kingdom  vision. I am asking you to make a bold move and support us by looking at what “can be” the future.