ICCM: True Gold

“All that glitters is not gold,” wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, and I find that applies to a lot of things in this world.  Take Las Vegas, for example:  it’s a very glittery place, with lights and action and excitement everywhere, along with an undercurrent of the taboo:  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  In my 34 years in the computer industry, I’ve attended quite a few large technology exhibitions in Las Vegas, with tens of thousands of attendees and with millions of dollars per day going towards convincing us of the importance and value of some silicone or software.  I have been on both sides of the table, acting as the one doing the convincing and as the one being convinced.  Or, both roles at once.   And, very little of the glitter is real gold.

In contrast, for the first time this month, I attended ICCM, a small conference of people who understand what true gold is, that which only comes through dedicated, sacrificial service to other people.  ICCM is a group of people who are first ministers of the Kingdom of God, and second (or third) are they technologists.   We started each session with 30 minutes of praise and worship and prayer time, which was definitely not my experience at the large computer shows that I used to attend.   There were 65 of us, rather than 65,000, and each was focused on how to best use some kind of technology—software, or a mobile app, or a web-site—to introduce people to Jesus rather than to increase the bottom line revenue of a large company.

My experience was a wonderful way to leverage that cross-over in my own life of Christian ministry and advanced technology; too many times I always felt like my “secular” job in software was disconnected to my “real” job of being a disciple of Jesus making disciples.   I spent 34 years in the technology business for one of the largest tech companies around, and I spent 25 years coaching teen-agers how to follow Him more closely.  But, the two parts of my life intersected much too infrequently.  At ICCM, I was so encouraged to get to be both a disciple of Jesus and computer nerd at the same time, surrounded by others doing the SAME THING.

I was thrilled to see the wonderful, creative ways that different people are using their talents and experience to create cool things to advance the gospel, from a “wireless web-site in a box” to a mobile library with the Scriptures in multiple languages and discipleship tools to a mobile app that enables more 1-to-1 discipleship in a large church community.  And, all the projects are for the good of the Kingdom – not the good of the shareholder.  What a refreshing experience.   It was so wonderful to sing with, and pray, and swap technology stories and ideas with a group of people who are motivated primarily to Jesus and His Kingdom over everything else.