It probably doesn’t need to be stated because its often felt. But, I do think that in the race to use this technology for casues that forward faith, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there are very few specalisists, fewer folks implementing, and even fewer folks that can communicate their story as they walk through this. In fact, its a common refrain in many calls/meetings about mobile ministry that you just won’t find best practices and case studies. There just aren’t enough people doing it that are able to compose best practices and cases studies. And that’s a shame. The current state of affairs invalidates the approach of mobile in ministry (or mobile as a ministry tool) in the minds of some because of the lack of this information; even though context dictates a different perspective should be adopted until those experiences and materials are grounded.
Having said such, when you are able to hear the successes and challenges present, its best to hightlight them. As community of technologists and believers see these stories, then we can start talking about solutions and making things more eficient for all. For example, in this snippet, we hear very clearly the challenges presented to one of the veterans in this space, Craig Raridian of Laridian Bible Software:
…Mobile software development is a challenge for small shops like ours. There are no good solutions. Consider the fact that when we started Laridian there were two dominant platforms: Windows CE and Palm OS. Both were programmed using the C++ programming language that we already knew from our prior experience programming for Windows PCs. Today the two dominant platforms are iPhone and Android. iPhone uses Objective-C and supports non-user-interface objects created in C++. Its operating system is based on the familiar Mac OS X. Android uses the Java programming language and has a proprietary operating system that is still evolving. And if we throw Windows Phone into the mix, it uses C# as its programming language. The result is that we can’t be like diplomats who have to learn the language of their host country, but rather we have to be like a representative to the United Nations whose headset is broken so he has to understand every language being spoken by all the other delegates…
Read the rest of this article (which talks about the progress of Android development of PocketBible).
These challenges aren’t unfamiliar, nor isolated. In the history of craft and creative fields. Having a capacity across several simlar or disparate fields is normal. It is very common for people engaged within these fields to be going at it alone, or in resource constrained fields. I’ve certainly felt this in full since branching out to do MMM full-time. There’s essentially this challenge of not just producing what you are gifted to do, but making sure that you can relate that creation/creative event to the social, financial, and spiritual needs that are also present.
This is one of the reasons why in our recommendations for building a mobile website or application, we specifically state that there should be a small team of people dedicated to prayer (and emotional/mental) support for the effort. You just can’t take on an effort that has technological and spiritual components and expect it to go on passion alone (speaking from experience here, have been totally burnt out from doing MMM, often).
You have that resources challenge. Are there enough people, finances, skills, or even just materials, around you to create/sustain what you are working towards? Many times, you might start with sufficient resources, but unforeseen circumstances push those reserves to an empty point. That’s a tough place to be – especially when you’ve not made a shipping product yet. I won’t even go into the resource challenges when you are marketing/selling skills and experience. So let’s be a bit more realistic, and discerning of the pressures we are putting on technologists and ministers when ascribing our energies and attention towards this very new field called mobile ministry. There are challenges that just can’t be swept away, or waited for others to do. The folks out here doing this are cutting the ground. Their challenges are as real as the opportunities.