Last night, I sent out the following e-mail to several people with the North American Mission Board:
My name is Matthew Maxson, and I have a vision I would like to share with you. However, before I delve deeply into the main point of this email, I would like to take a few minutes of your time and tell you more about myself. I was born in 1977 and was saved as a young boy in 1984 in Beeville, Texas. My dad was in the military: we have lived many places. In 1986, my dad got out of the service and we moved to Missouri. In 1993, we moved to Williamstown, West Virginia. I attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where I met my wife. We were married in January 1999, and I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science in May 2000. I went to work for Columbia Gas Transmission in June. Later that year, NiSource purchased the Columbia Energy Group. In October 2002, NiSource restructured the IT department and transferred us to Columbus. In my nearly five years at Columbia/NiSource, I have been involved in several different arenas and projects. My activities at NiSource have made me more aware of the technology available in the market, the different applications of these technologies, the use of computer consultants, and the cost and quality of these services. Currently, NiSource is evaluating outsourcing IT along with other corporate functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Accounting, Supply Chain, etc.. This has caused my wife and me to evaluate God's "next steps" for our life.
The Church should use any and all tools available to them in order to reach the lost and fulfill the Great Commission. I see The Church missing out on a great opportunity to use technology as a method of spreading the Gospel. Why? I do not think it is because they don't care about reaching those people.I think it is because of ignorance, fear of technology, and cost. Most people are either ignorant of the technology available or are too intimidated to try anything beyond their comfort zone of e-mail and web browsing. In a traditional company, when the employees do not have the knowledge or time to implement a solution, consultants are brought in. I have seen NiSource pay $200 per hour for consultants and think nothing of it. NiSource is among the Fortune 500 and can afford that kind of payout; however, in the average congregation, it is utterly impossible to pay $200 per day or even per week to a consultant for help with a piece of technology.
In 2001, I started Christian Computer Solutions to help churches with this problem. My goal was to provide technical consulting to congregations at a price much lower than secular consultants. At that time, my vision was to provide a way for a congregation to get help with technology at a reasonable price. However, as time went on, God matured my vision. I kept wishing that there was something more I could do to help The Church use technology to reach the lost. After we moved to Columbus, this feeling only intensified. I met with my pastor, Dr. Kent Spann, to discuss my feelings and to get more information about God's call on people's lives. At the meeting, I shared my vision with Dr. Spann and he offered several suggestions. One of which was writing a letter to the Executive Director of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. I wrote and mailed a letter, but having received no response to date, I have decided to share my vision with others-thus, this letter. Since then, I have shared this vision with Dr. Rich Halcombe (the MetroColumbus Baptist Association Director of Missions). He is excited about my vision, but the local association does not currently have the funds to implement it. This lack of funding has lead me to discover the Mission Service Corps. I found your contact information searching on the NAMB website.
My vision is this: Imagine a congregation (or missionary or other Southern Baptist group) that needs help with some piece of technology. It does not really matter what, it could be anything from how to bold text in Microsoft Word, to setting up an office network, to needing an application to track membership and giving to setting up a web page where sermons and other helps could be made available to anyone, anywhere. This is a service provided to them by the giving of others-either through the financial support of other Christians and the fees paid by those organizations who are able to pay. This opportunity will help them use technology as one "fishing lure" in a tackle-box of lures used to fish for men and fulfill the Great Commission. I hope this excites you as much as it does me!
I believe that God gives everyone in The Church different abilities and gifts. My knowledge of and ability to understand technology combined with my desire to help allow me to meet a need within The Church. God is calling me to utilize my technical abilities and desire to help to provide services to our churches. I would be most willing to meet with you, or your representative, to discuss these possibilities and how Mission Service Corps can help me fulfill my vision. Thank you for your time, this opportunity, and consideration of my proposal. You can reach me via telephone at 614.789.9333 (h) or 614.439.4620 (c), or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, guess what?! One of the gentlemen I sent it to called me last night about ten minutes after I sent the e-mail! We had a good conversation. He gave me some additional contacts at the NAMB. I still don't know much more than I did a few days ago; however, I am making progress. Please be in prayer with Cyndi and I that we are seeking God's will and doing what He wants. It doesn't really matter what we are doing…the biggest joy and satisfaction will come from being in the center of His will.