The word ‘hacker’ evokes an image of the online netherworld, of nerds in hoodies surreptitiously shutting down power grids. But there are also Christian hackers.

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Since 2014, Code for the Kingdom has held 44 weekend ‘hackathons’ worldwide for programmers to help non-profits. Around 100 technologists compete for sponsored prizes while tackling the ills of the world. They’ve launched an app to fight human exploitation and streamlined access to social services for the homeless. “We write code and create technology to help release the oppressed, teach God’s Word, heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and support the body of Christ,” their website declares.

Hackathons are nothing new; they gather topnotch coders to brainstorm solutions in marathon sessions that harness the collective nerd power of diverse professionals. What is different about Code for the Kingdom is the participants’ undergirding faith. Some 4,000 techies worldwide have participated so far. Their weekday jobs are for Amazon, Google, Microsoft and a slew of startups. Then on select weekends throughout the year, they gather in Seattle, Nashville, Cali, La Paz, Bangalore, London, Jakarta or Manila – in all 32 cities in 12 countries.

“I wanted to be in a place where there’s a stronger connection between my work and my faith,” Kristen Stark, an engineer at Midfin Systems in Redmond, California, relates. A developer named Chris says there’s a great energy and camaraderie in the community. “It’s about activating people to unleash their gifts for the Kingdom.” And game art designer Alexander remarks: “I just love the idea of bringing technology in a way that glorifies God.”

By hosting internationally, Code for the Kingdom allows computer geniuses from all over the world to contribute to the cause. People interested in hosting a hackathon in their city, can apply on the website. The worker bees pay a small fee for the lunch and coffee, but sponsors provide the prizes, which are used to continue to develop projects launched at the hackathon.

Source: Anthony Gutierrez, Code for the Kingdom

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