Have you heard of Arduino? It represents a new trend in technology called open-sourced hardware where anyone can download the designs, free of charge, and re-create the machine without worry from nasty copyright lawyers.
This is the stuff engineers are made of.
Arduino is a special electronics board based on this open-sourced trend that allows you to do a wide variety of tasks, including controlling lights, motors, and other things.
To find out more about what Arduino can do when it’s implemented using simple, freely available designs on the Internet, check out this TED video:
How Might Your Church Benefit from Arduino Technology?
Obviously, creating Arduino-based projects requires people who like building things and enjoy electronics. It is not for everybody – but it is for a certain niche that often gets overlooked in churches.
Ministry tends to structured for extroverts who are good with people skills, and at times for people good at construction. But what about the techies and engineers in your church? Often these people (whether youth or adult) feel left out, or worse guilty for not finding their place in the church’s ministries.
However, Arduino has the ability to reach this subset of a congregation, while at the same time transforming the world for good. With some research and a bit of creative thinking, a small team could develop any number of ministry-related projects (much like i-tech). A quick look on Instructables.com reveals any number of ideas.
For instance, check out this remote-controlled lawnmower.
Something like this could be used to help mow elderly people’s lawns in your community or in a community you visit on a mission trip.
Or check out this project designed to detect pollutants in the air, including ethanol, methane, formaldehyde, and a bunch of other volatile organic compounds.
It could be used as a poisonous gas detector in the church, or provided to low-income families who might otherwise not have one in their homes.
In the TED Talk video above, Arduino boards were used to make helicopters for transporting things from village to village in Africa, to make 3D-printers capable of a variety of ministry projects (see “Using a 3D Printer at Your Church“), and monitoring the health of a plant in a Twitter-based botanical garden.
Technology is wonderful for ministry, but can often be expensive. Arduino reduces the cost while at the same time providing creative outlets for people who often find no place in the church to use their gifts and talents.
Have you used, or would you be willing to use, Arduino-based projects for ministry in your church?
What ideas have you come up with that should be added to the list?
[Image via Arduino]