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Giving Back

Excellence in the Arts, missional lifestyle - by - October 15, 2009 - 12:01 Etc/GMT+5 - 1 Comment

“Free” software is heavily relied upon in church ministry, but by using this software the church is often seen as being “cheap-skates” and “free-loaders” – not a very Christ honoring image.  This image is portrayed because the ministry is often only thinking of themselves, selfishly using the software but not giving back to the computing community, not abiding by the software use terms and even stealing the software by not paying for appropriate use.  Not all “free” software is free and we as Christians need to be careful that we are honoring Christ in all we do, including our use of technology in ministry.

Report bugs. To help improve the software for you and others, report problems you find with the software.  If the software has built-in reporting functions and a crash reporter screen pops up, allow it to send the crash data to the developers.  If the software consistently has an error, email the developer or report it on their forums with details on what is happening.

Provide feedback. Do you like the software?  Is it helpful?  Would it be better with just one or two great new features?  Providing feedback to the developers (via forums or email typically) provides the ideas for further development.  Good feedback and reviews also help spread news about the software and allow others to find it and get the benefits of using it.

Donate to developers. If your ministry relies heavily on a piece of software or a piece of software is very useful, consider donating to the developers of the software.  Most developers have made it simple to donate money through online services and the income generated by these donations helps encourage continuous development, improving the software.

Give Credit. When using free software and services, giving proper credit is not only “just the right thing to do” but often required by the terms in those software agreements we quickly click through when downloading in the first place.


  1. Howard says:

    I totally agree. I have seen many times that people not only use “Free” Software for their churches, but I have also seen people use other types of software for churches. We all need to Honor God in all that we do. When you go to a restaurant, as Christians we need to be leaving the waitstaff feeling good that they served us. The same goes for the software that we use. We need to let them know that we appreciate the developer and the time that he or she spent writing and supporting it.

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