So I was checking out some of Mozilla’s recent projects and they are all very cool things like Mozilla’s Webmaker that allows you to do things like easily create phone apps. Anyhow, one of the cooler things I came across is called Open Badges. Open Badges are like credentials that people earn by doing things; for example, websites host classes that then give a badge upon completion or a message board can give a badge when 100 posts are reached. The thing about Open Badges is they are something the user carries with them across the entire internet, so when a webpage issues a badge, it can be displayed on a user’s social networking page!
I see loads of uses for these in business as part of a gamification process, but even more so churches can and should use badges. You’re probably asking “why,” because gamification doesn’t sound particularly spiritual. Well, since a badge would be able to be displayed proudly by church members to everyone they interact with on the internet, you are essentially letting your parishioners proudly display their faith and commitment to their friends and colleagues. Ergo, somebody baptized = baptism badge, volunteer 10 times in kids church = bronze kids church badge, 100 times = silver badge, 500 = gold badge, teach a Sunday school series = teacher badge, etc.
So how can a church get started into using open badges? I think the best way to start would be to integrate it with your church website. Assuming you are using WordPress for your church website, the easiest way would be to use the free BadgeOS plugin. Now you can define actions that would issue an open badge relatively easily and continue integrating with other plugins to provide Christian education classes or reward production of things like a public devotion. I love the idea of encouraging people to become producers rather than consumers and take opportunities to exercise spiritual gifting or just be part of Christian engagement.
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