2015 Ministry Review
2015 has been a busy year for OneSheep and we’ve worked with incredible organisations and ministries this year. Thank you for standing with us in prayer, and for your financial giving. With your help we’ve been able to contribute to a number of wonderful ministry projects this year. So, here is our 2015 Ministry Review.
We’re all about building technology solutions that enable more effective, efficient and far reaching ministry to happen. A lot of work goes into design and coding great tools, helping ministries fix problems and enabling them to set up the right strategy for maximum impact. Here are highlights from this past year.
Since we started in 2013, Reach Beyond has been a good friend to OneSheep, and we are proud to partner with them on several projects. They are currently transitioning to becoming the major partner in Spotlight English. Spotlight is a ministry that uses Christian worldview content to serve people anywhere as they learn English. Their content helps develop English speaking skills and introduces subjects that can improve the lives of listeners and their communities. We continue to help them improve their two websites. We’ll also be helping them in the future as they develop new strategies for improving the reach of the ministry. You can download the Spotlight English app for Android or iOS.
In addition we’ve been working with Reach Beyond partners in Romania to develop a Radio Streaming App to engage listeners and provide great opportunities for interaction with the station. Once completed we hope to roll out the app to many more ministry radio stations throughout 2016. Look out for that on the OneSheep Twitter account in the coming months.
Forum of Christian Leaders
During 2015 we have completed a variety of work for, the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL). This ministry provides reliable answers to key issues and topics, a place to trust for informed and helpful content from science and faith to challenging areas of theology. We have taken on the role of technical partner, helping to improve a number of areas of their site, in particular in delivery of their popular webinars and short courses. In addition we built a new site to support a new initiative they are currently launching.
Sam Peckham was in Ethiopia recently, where he was inspired observing missionaries dedicated to seeing the Bible translated into languages that do not yet have it in their own tongue. Wycliffe Associates have a vision to complete all 7200+ languages that do not yet have the Bible translated into their own language, by 2025. Simplistically, this means that translation work has to speed up to faster than ever before. We’ve been working with them on a number of apps focusing on User Experience (UX) to enable the apps to be easy, faster and more intuitive to use. The results of that trip have produced a better, more useable app, helping Wycliffe missionaries and bible translators to speed the work faster than ever before. Our work with them is ongoing and we have really enjoyed developing a relationship with them. You can find out about all the apps we’re working on at the Unfolding Word project site.
We designed the branding and website for One Friday, a project managed by St John’s College, Durham, a university college and ministerial training institution with a long Christian tradition. The idea is simple: encourage communities all over the UK to use art, drama, and music to tell the story of Easter, during the Easter period. Check it out and consider asking your church to become involved. We loved the story about a church that is using creative tattoos to explain and proclaim the Gospel!
We have spent a significant of time this year on development for the GRMS partners (a followup platform and process in use in the MENA region) to successfully integrate Facebook messages into the main followup database and to facilitate an additional ministry workflow they have introduced.
Other smaller projects
We built jingjing.asia — a simple website for Thai Buddhist seekers wanting to study the Bible online, and we helped with research and building prototypes to prove the concept of using a Google Chromecast device to cast presentations of the Gospel from a mobile phone onto a TV screen. We also prototyped the secure distribution of Biblical content via secure digital cards to sensitive countries.
We’re a small team with a huge vision. We have some genuinely Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs!), there is also a huge amount of potential and opportunity for ministries to use and harness technology to have significant Kingdom impact, yet we’re only really scratching at the surface. A large part of what OneSheep aims to do is influence ministries and help them see and realise the potential they have to use technology and to stir others to get involved. Here’s some of how we did that this year.
We were encouraged to be invited to share the Prayer App project at this year’s EMDC in Holland. A large gathering of media and bible translation ministries gathering to inform, equip and encourage one another. We presented the prayer app alongside You Version, as they gave updates on their Bible plans. This was a huge encouragement and we appreciated the opportunity to validate the idea with many missionaries and organisations that are now excited by this project.
We loved being part of the Mobile Ministry Forum this year and being able to share advice and insight on turning great content into a great app. If you missed it you can watch it on the MMF website.
Indigitous have been spreading their conferences and meetups around the world this year and we were privileged to be invited to speak at the London event on the subject of ‘The Agile Ministry’ — a challenging look at how we run both church and ministry projects and lessons we can learn from app development.
Code for the Kingdom Global Hackathon
OneSheep’s heart beat and passion is seeing technology used well within missions to advance the Kingdom of God. It takes a surprising amount of vision casting and advocacy to get people realising this technology that has changed all our lives in social and cultural ways, can also bring the most important change of all, hearts turning to God.
That is why we threw ourselves into the core of running the London hackathon, the first faith based hackathon in the UK. It was a huge success with some 120 people coming together for 48 hours to live, eat, work, sleep and worship as one community that loves God. 18 projects were developed over that weekend, with many having a real potential to grow into amazing ministry tools. We spent our time working on a Tearfund project to aid in disaster relief and developing an app using iBeacons to enable micro-giving to the homeless. Both these apps won prizes at the weekend which topped off an amazing event for OneSheep.
Lausanne Movement Technology Group
Sam was honoured to be invited onto the Lausanne Technology Issue Group, which seeks to identify opportunities and threats that new technologies present to global mission, as well as to serve the movement and global church by providing leading papers on a variety of issues around technology and our faith. Find out more about Lausanne
The Year Ahead
In 2015 our capacity has grown. In addition to Jannie, our lead developer, we have enjoyed freelance services from Chiko and Ian. They have greatly helped us get more done for others. We’ve also had much practical and helpful work done by our first volunteer, Arun. For each of them we’re thankful to God for his provision.
As we close out the year, we are about to commence work on an exciting project for Agapé UK. They have successfully run weekend and day-long seminars for married couples for many years, we’ve been working with them recently to design and shape an app that will bring a new but familiar experience to mobile devices and web browsers. We start soon on the first module of the seminar, Communication in Marriage, which will provide an opportunity to test and refine the model of delivering this type of content via mobile devices. Christian marriage is often difficult and this ministry is making a great contribution: why not look for a seminar in your area?
We know we will also face challenges in the year ahead and God has been showing us that change is coming as we enter the New Year. But we are thankful to him for all we’ve been able to accomplish in His strength and ask you would continue to pray with us and for us in the year ahead.