“Open Source”

One more reflection today on the nature of how “open” reflects to the Christian church:  “Open Source.” In computer speak, “open source” refers to a form of program-writing where the underlying code is made widely available. This is counter to the more traditional and economically driven decision of most program writers to keep code proprietary, so only the company selling it has access to it.

By making code “open source,” program developers allow others to review and revise the code and resulting program. The hope in such is not only to offer free (or less expensive) alternatives to existing programs (e.g. Open Office instead of Microsoft Office), but to encourage innovation. It also allows those familiar with code to readily identify – and even repair – underlying problems or security threats in such programs. (This is also the wisdom behind the “wiki” resources popping up on the web: “we” is smarter than “me.”)

I believe the local church needs to move toward being open source. We need to be transparent in what we are doing and how we are doing it, and we need to open to innovation and ideas rising from a multitude rather than a select few. We should let go of protecting our way of doing things, and learn the best practices from wherever we can, integrating and implementing them in ways consistent with our overall mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

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