May 6, 2015

Translating “data pastor” to other cultures

Posted in cross cultural mission tagged at 11:02 AM by alexlozada

In a recent email exchange with long-time friend who works in a church technology, I wrote

my interactions w/ MCC mission partners in ___ continually challenge my assumptions about the role of data … in non-Western contexts — for Christians among the majority of the world’s population, centralized electronic data … are at the mercy of anti-Christian governments or activists … sadly, this makes my role at MCC not-very-useful for helping MCC partners in those areas 😦

This article “Africa’s Mobile-Sun Revolution” by Steve Sinofsky reminded me about the topic of trying to apply what I do in my work week to other contexts. This quote shows that the kind of data I use in my ministry will not be used the same way in Africa or Central America, but technology (adapted to the context) will still enable church leaders to use data to more effectively guide their ministry decisions.

One of the contributors to the improved standard of living has been mobile phones. Over the past couple of years, mobile phone penetration in this village has reached essentially 100 percent per household, and most adults have a mobile.

The use of mobiles is not a luxury, but essential to daily life. Those that commute into the city to sell or buy supplies can check on potential or availability via mobile.

Families can stay connected even when one goes far away for a good job or better work. Safety can be maintained by a “neighborhood watch” system powered by mobile. Students can access additional resources or teacher help via mobile. Of course, people love to use their phones to access the latest World Cup soccer results or listen to religious broadcasts.

Spirit-equipped church-shepherds can use mobile devices (powered by solar!) to gather information about pastoral needs; distribute information and BIble teaching; and analyze data. “Equip you with everything good for doing his will”


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