Question about Professional Skills for missionaries:
"My son is pursuing a degree in computer science. Is there a need for this in the mission field?"
Our ministry has IT/IS and computer science missionaries in North Carolina and in strategic places throughout the world who are developing apps, creating media databases, building FTP playout systems, and much more. This not only allows us to reach people with the gospel but also to minister to refugees, women or children in crisis, potential leaders, and many more.
We are looking for more people with these gifts and talents to serve with us.
What a great opportunity we have now to use God-given technology to bring a message of hope to the ends of the earth.
That said, computer science skills and schooling have many applications in missions. Some computer science majors end up supporting the infrastructure of the mission agency and provide technical support for the staff. Others contribute to evangelism, education, community or business development, or more.
The agency I serve with has a dozen people in the IT department just serving at the headquarters, including web and database designers and programmers, strategists, help desk staff, tech purchasers, a security specialist, a VP, and an admin assistant. Regional offices overseas have some of the same needs.
Some specialists develop tools used for Bible translation or theological education. Some people teach computer science in Christian schools or public ones. These days, many are interested in harnessing technology for evangelism, disciple-making, and church planting (see Missions Media U).
You can find jobs through services like Mission Next or Christian Jobs, attending conferences (see Urbana or CROSS Conference), or sometimes by talking to church and ministry leaders you know.
Technology is the wave that is now carrying the Gospel to places where missionaries are at high risk and need to be undercover. It allows them to bring specialized equipment into places that are opposed to the Gospel and send the message out in ways that can’t be stopped.
When I was in college I had no idea how I could use a CS degree in missions. I knew I wanted to serve overseas and I knew I loved computers, networking, and software design.
I’ve been working with my organization for almost four years now in stateside and overseas roles. Bible translation, in particular, is very computer heavy because almost every team uses at least one specially configured laptop running specific translation software in remote locations where computers were never designed to run.
If you want to make an eternal difference and you have a passion for computer science, there is a place for you in cross-cultural mission work.
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