The Intersection of Faith and Technology
The Faith Leads Tech conference convened in Nashville on November 9th, bringing together developers, designers, marketers, ministry leaders and others who seek to utilize technology and innovation to provide biblical solutions for life.
The one-day conference featured insights and perspectives from technology experts and ministry tech leaders on current innovations at global, church, university and individual levels. A total of 19 presenters and panelists talked about the many ways that technology and faith intersect, including informative talks like:
- Stewarding Kingdom Technology by Brandon Donaldson from Life.Church's Open Digerati
- Open My AI that I May See by Daniel Whitenack, Intel Software innovator in ML/AI
- Hear, O technologists: the LORD is One by Dan Hodges, LifeWayIT
- Bible Study Beyond Words: Using Data Visualization as a Teaching Tool by Robert Rouse, creator of Viz.Bible
- Better Together: Synergizing Towards Life-Transforming Technology by Shamichael Hallman
- Why Pastors and Theologians Need Designers and Coders by John Dyer
- Mission Driven Startup by Gabe Greenberg
- Connecting People to the Church by Nick Runyon
- Change the World With Software Engineering by Nate Taylor
- Our Technological Imperative by Stephen Olmstead
- The Anti-Social Network (or, A Modest Proposal for the Newest Killer App) by Chad Barlow
- Beauty Before Utility by Joshua Bailey
- Disrupting Entrenched Systems with New Technology by Justin Trapp and Wade Bearden
- The Need for Agile Leadership in the Christian Culture by Kelli Kelly
One of the provocative moment was prompted by this question: "In the future, could a machine lead a human to faith in Christ?" Data scientist Daniel Whitenack answered, "Actually, it’s already been done." Whitenack goes on to describe a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to tell people about Jesus. To date, more than 400 people have interacted with the bot and made professions of faith.
How Faith Leads Tech
Adam Murray, a senior software engineer at LifeWay and one of the conference organizers, said: “As Christians, it’s imperative we remember our faith drives the way we interact with and use technology. We really believe faith leads tech.”
Innovations that Disrupt
“Innovative ideas aren’t simply reincarnations of what’s worked in the past; they’re new opportunities and disruptors.” said bi-vocational pastors and entrepreneurs Justin Trapp and Wade Bearden. The described how innovation arises: “The printing press changed the way the Bible was read. Podcasting changed the way we listen to sermons,” they said. “It may very well be that a new innovation to further spread the gospel is just around the corner—if we can see it.”
This Facts & Trends article by Aaron Wilson, Conference Explores Connection Between Theology and Technology, summarized more great highlights from the FaithLeads.Tech conference.
Watch all the FaithLeads.Tech Talks and Interviews
LifeWay has made all of the plenary talks and backstage interviews available in the FaithLeads.Tech Digital Pass. But the conference recordings for unlimited on-demand viewing that will be good through April 2019. Buy it online for instant access at FaithLeads.Tech.