As a team going through high school, we've noticed that technology has served as a distraction for many, drawing them away from their religious community. We felt compelled to instead use technology to do the opposite - reconnect today's youth with their local churches and communities.
What it does
MyKingdom serves as a central hub between churches and their members. Users can make donations, view hours/schedules, access and sign up for church-sponsored events, listen to past sermons, access the Bible and connect with clergy members directly over the Internet. Users sign into the app using their local church's "join code".
How we built it
Our app is built from two major components - the front-end Android application and the back-end Node.js server. Our server provides the data about the church - hours, schedules, events, etc. are all stored here. The Android app loads the data for the specific church the user selects.
Our team is pretty diverse in its skill set, so the work was split up among the crew. Aditya worked on the server back-end and the digital sermons and events page. Jonathan integrated the bible into the app and developed a novel communication method to contact a church's local clergy. Jerry designed the user interface for the application along with the "what's new" announcement page. Ivan was in charge of developing a donation page.
Challenges we ran into
Graphics posed a challenge for us - most of us come from pure programming backgrounds, so Android's UI design interface threw us a few curve balls in the development of our app. However, we learned a lot in the process and have become better UI designers in just the span of a couple days. Another problem we faced was implementing the donation feature - in general we found that payment platforms were very complex (and rightly so, so money stays secure!). However, in the end after much perseverance we were able to incorporate Paypal's Braintree payment platform.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
With many of us having little to no Android experience, we feel blessed that we have been able to learn and develop new skills as Android developers, putting us in a position to further advance the Kingdom. We think that the magnitude of MyKingdom's practicality and usefulness is very high and we are glad we were compelled to follow this path and develop this application to serve the community.
What we learned
As individuals, we definitely developed skills in a variety of tech sectors - design, Android development, server back-ends, MongoDB, and more. But more importantly, as a team we grew even closer, making us one step closer to functioning as a single unit rather than a collection of different parts. And above all, we've learned that the Kingdom's goals can be aligned and accomplished using technology in ways we never thought of.
What's next for MyKingdom
MyKingdom's usefulness lends itself to becoming a viable tool among the religious community. In the future, we hope to take this app to local communities near us, offering them a solution to unify their religious groups and churches. We plan to continue improving and adding functionality and aesthetics.