Open Church is made possible by a global team of staff, volunteers, and advisors. Behind the scenes they have invested thousands of hours to bring Open Church from concept to reality.
Core Team & Board Members
Kent Shaffer – Founder & Board President
Kent oversees the big picture of Open Church and leads its relationship building and strategic partnerships. Previously, he spent a decade writing about theology and effective ministry at ChurchRelevance.com. And Kent also cofounded a design and marketing firm, launched and sold a few tech startups, and gave strategic counsel to groups such as YouVersion, Saddleback Church, charity: water, Lausanne Movement, JESUS Film, Zondervan, and OneHope. His ministry roots began as a missionary’s kid in Peru and evolved into over 10 years of youth and children’s ministry at Church on the Move and Life.Church.
Eric Dye – Programs Director
Eric leads the research and digital platform initiatives at Open Church. He’s a jack-of-all-trades who’s also a master at some. And this versatility makes him vital to the core operations of Open Church. Currently, he and his family reside in Italy as bivocational missionaries. As a writer and technologist, Eric also runs ChurchMag, one of the most prominent blogs and podcasts on church technology.
Harley Wideman – Researcher
Harley researches causes and resources and also plays a key role in Open Church’s curation process. He’s a former youth pastor and Bible Quiz tournament player, who uses his love of learning and ministry experience to help make sense of a world with 45,000 Christian denominations and then organize it in a way that’s easy to search and use.
Blessing Mpofu – Sub-Sahara Partnerships
Based in Cape Town, Blessing helps Open Church build relationships with causes and resource creators in the Sub-Sahara. In addition, he assists Alpha in Africa with their media and communications. Formerly, Blessing served as the National Team Director at Youth for Christ South Africa, and he was selected by the Lausanne Movement as a 2016 Younger Leader.
Evie Shaffer – Visual Artist
Evie is a visual storyteller who helps guide Open Church’s branding and create free resources. She also owns a design agency where she intersects graphic design, fine arts, code, photography, and nature. Her work and ideas have been featured in West Elm, Anthropologie, Martha Stewart online, and Circles Conference.
Mark Burleson – Board Member
Mark serves as the Director of Application Support at Life.Church where he leads their user and software support teams. He’s also been a key member of the Church IT Network over the past decade.
Craig Van Korlaar – Board Member
Craig helped lay the foundation of Open Church in its first few years. Currently, he’s a Process Engineering Manager at Verizon as well as the founder of TopNonprofits.com, a resource for NGO best practices. His proactive leadership skills were honed as a decorated sergeant for the U.S. Marine Corps and nurtured through his work at the YMCA, Food for the Hungry, and Phoenix’s New City Church. Craig also co-founded a church communications software company, and he spent much of his formative years as a missionary’s kid in Kenya and civil war-torn Zaire.
Special thanks to our pre-launch research team:
Chad Ferris (McDonough, GA)
Michael McReynolds (Morristown, TN)
Blessing Mpofu (Cape Town, South Africa)
Chris is the founder of Code for the Kingdom, a movement that creates weekend hackathons which have gathered over 3,500 Christian technologists from 4 continents to create Kingdom-minded projects. He is a technology executive who currently serves as Leadership Network’s CIO and previously served as CIO for Lucent Technologies and Brinks. His technology career began at IBM where he was the first member of their problem-solving SWAT team.
Alain is a software engineering manager for Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) team, which focuses on creating internet access and next-generation technologies for emerging markets like India, Indonesia, and Phillipines. Previously, Alain co-founded Google OnHub, helped develop Google+, worked on OpenID, and served as an engineer at Symantec and Seagate Technology.
Kurian is the Director of Innovation at OneHope, a ministry that has reached over a billion young people in 125 countries with the gospel. Previously, he served as Director of Marketing for Generis, consulted AT&T, and cofounded a telecom venture in India.
J.R. is President of the Deaf Bible Society and the architect of the Deaf Bible app. Although he can hear, J.R. was born a child of deaf adults, and he learned American Sign Language as his first language. At least 95% of sign languages have no Bible translation, so the Deaf Bible Society is working to create a video Bible translation in every sign language. Previously, J.R. started a Deaf church in Ethiopia, and he has worked with Faith Comes by Hearing, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Deaf Missions, and DOOR International to make Scripture more accessible to Deaf people.
Eric is the founder of TopChrétien and Jesus.net. With nearly two decades of experience, many consider Eric a pioneer of internet evangelism. Jesus.net is a global network of over 60 partners in 27 languages collaborating in digital evangelism. Thus far, they’ve reached 58.7 million unique visitors. Previously, Eric served as part of Billy Graham’s French evangelism team and as the Director of Innovation for Agapé France (part of Campus Crusade for Christ International). He has also been an Assemblies of God pastor since 1996.
Yu-kai is the creator of the gamification framework Octalysis. Beginning his work in 2003, Yu-kai is one of the earliest pioneers in gamification. Since then, he has consulted groups such as LEGO, Accenture, eBay, Huawei, Fidelity, AIG Japan, Verizon, HP, Ericsson, Cisco, and Wells Fargo. His work and ideas have been showcased by Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, PBS, TEDx, and SxSW. Yu-kai helps startups, Fortune 500 companies and even governments use neurobiology and UX to better engage people, and he’s published his insights in his book Actionable Gamification.
DJ oversees the American Bible Society’s .BIBLE top-level domain registry. As a blogger, podcaster, and early adopter, DJ is known for digital strategy, but he is equally gifted in sparking movements offline in his own low-key, behind-the-scenes style. He’s a natural networker who has helped build community for Leadership Network, Worship Leader Magazine, and the L2 Foundation. DJ is the author of MultiAsian.Church and has been a voice for multiethnic relations in the U.S. Church.
Ryan serves as Geneva Global’s Director of Customer Experience, where he helps donors and nonprofits collaborate around performance philanthropy. On behalf of its clients, Geneva Global’s work has directly benefited more than 95 million people through 1,800 projects in over 100 countries, and influenced over $1 billion in giving. Previously, Ryan served Silicon Valley’s Cityteam as their Director of Experience by connecting high-capacity donors to experience homeless ministry in a hands-on way.
John is the Executive Director of Communications and Educational Technology for Dallas Theological Seminary, where he develops their online education tools in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic. He has also created technology for Apple, Microsoft, Harley-Davidson, Anheuser Busch, and the Department of Defense. He’s a former youth pastor who still teaches at Irving Bible Church. And John is the author of From the Garden to the City, a look at the redeeming and corrupting power of technology.
Matthew is the Executive Director of the International Network of Children’s Ministry. He is a well-known children’s ministry writer and consultant, who spent over 9 years leading digital initiatives for the Cory Center for Children’s Ministry. Children’s Ministry Magazine calls him one of 20 leaders to watch for the next 20 years of children’s ministry. Matt began his ministry career with a decade of serving local churches as a children’s pastor, small groups director, and campus pastor.
Jim Haney is the Director of Global Research for IMB. In addition, he oversees the Harvest Information System, a collaborative portal of taxonomy registries used by Scripture translation agencies and ministries to least reached people groups. He also writes and speaks on missions and missiology. Previously, Jim and his wife spent 18 years in Nigeria and Ghana as missionaries.
Brad is the COO of Ministry Brands, a family of Christian software companies including FellowshipOne, Shelby Systems, Clover Sites, Ekklesia 360, faithHighway, E-zekiel, and more. Combined they serve over 55,000 U.S. churches, which is equal to 1 in every 6. Previously, Brad founded SiteOrganic, a ministry content management system which is also part of the Ministry Brands family.
Pete is the founder of the ICTA, a non-profit designed to mobilize high tech professionals for pro bono service to faith-based ministries and missions worldwide. Previously, Pete helped found Global Mapping International. He worked with Luis Bush to identify and define the 10/40 Window. He was an engineering consultant for the UmTech VideoBrain, the first retail computer. And he helped create the world’s first desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) for Strategic Mapping (SMI). As a consultant, Pete has advised quite a few businesses including IBM, Sun, ROLM, SAIC, Versatec (Xerox), and Johnson & Johnson.
Jimmy is CEO of Goodcity Chicago, which supports community-based entrepreneurs in development of neighborhood and faith-based programs. He is also the co-founder of Create Possible and re:source Global. Jimmy got his start advising the White House and Illinois Governor. After helping fundraise a significant sum for Lausanne Congress 2010, he transitioned to helping nonprofits rethink their operational, donor, and creative strategies.
Chris is founder of TheoTech, a movement encouraging technology entrepreneurship for the Gospel. A few of TheoTech’s products include the Ceaseless prayer app and SPF.IO, a tool for multilingual events and church services that offers real time subtitling and dubbing. Previously, Chris served as a software development engineer at Amazon and Microsoft.
Justin is the Director of Global Research for Beyond, which helps people groups start church planting movements within their own cultures. With 25 years as a missionary researcher, Justin’s projects have included research projects include the Global Church Growth Outlook, the District Survey, the Movement Index, Movement Case Studies, Cluster Forecasts, Global Diagrams. He also previously served as an Associate Editor for the World Christian Database.
Lindsey is COO of the IF : GATHERING, a conference for the next generation of women that reaches over 40,000 simulcast locations each year. Lindsey also consults Feed the Children on their live events. Previously, she served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Food for the Hungry, Director of Community at Project 7, Director of Communications at Thomas Nelson, and Director of Advertising & Special Events at Books A Million.
Michael is CEO of the Lausanne Movement, a global initiative started by Billy Graham in 1974 to connect influencers and ideas for global mission. Michael is also the founder of CBI Japan, which includes Christ Bible Seminary, the Heart & Soul Cafe, and All Nations Fellowship church-planting ministry.
Bob is CEO and cofounder of Faithlife, the creators of Logos Bible Software, Verbum, Vyrso, Biblia.com, Proclaim, Noet, Lexham press, Kirkdale Press, and more. In 1992, Bob created Logos after transitioning from serving as a manager at Microsoft. Today Faithlife goes beyond creating and also aggregates content from over 400 publishers. They’re also exploring the future of seminary-level distance education courseware.
Shawn is the CIO at Seed Company, which explores how to accelerate Bible translation. Previously, he served as an executive pastor at Gateway Church (Southlake, TX), where he oversaw technology experiments around discipleship such as Table.org. Shawn also founded an internet filtering company, served as President for two different IP telephony companies, and served as Executive Director for a ministry to underdeveloped communities.
Rijo is cofounder of Prayer United, an initiative providing technical support for missionary organizations and Christian ministries. He also serves as a Member of Technical Staff at VMware. In addition, Rijo formerly served as a localization tools developer for Google, a security administrator for Siemens, and a research assistant for the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center.
Nick is cofounder of Quite Uncommon, a technology and innovation agency that helps convene communities to build, test, and launch ideas into the world. He has helped lead some of the largest mass collaborations in history, including Urbana’s Hack4Missions, Code for the Kingdom, Random Hacks of Kindness, International Space Apps Challenge, and the National Day of Civic Hacking. Nick is passionate about the adoption open data and open source technology is a frequent speaker at the United Nations, the White House, Disney Imagineering, SxSW, and TEDx. Nick empowers code creators and change makers to use technology to serve social and community issues while advancing the Gospel.
Laura is a founding partner at Venture Gained Legal, a boutique law practice in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in startup law and intellectual property law. Previously, she provided marketing legal counsel to Clorox and served as Managing Director of Girls in Tech, San Francisco. As a frequent speaker, Laura has presented ideas to groups such as Stanford University and TEDx.
Eric is an international nonprofit consultant with executive experience. Previously, he served as CEO at Opportunity International, President at HOPE International, CEO at Geneva Global, and President of Global Mission at David C. Cook Publishing. Eric is a former church planter, who also co-founded Exodus World Service, which has mobilized over 50,000 volunteers to assist over 9,000 refugees.
William is founder of the Vanderbloemen Search Group, a leading staffing search firm for churches and faith-based organizations. He’s pastored several churches. He’s authored several books. Now he helps build the teams of some of the world’s largest churches, including Life.Church and Willow Creek Community Church.
Tom is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at TWR, where he has served for over 20 years. TWR is the most far-reaching Christian radio network in the world. They broadcast in over 200 dialects via satellite, internet, and 2,700+ local stations in over 160 countries.
Lance is a co-founder of Examor, a global initiative that brings design thinking methodologies into practice for human rights NGOs, software development firms, and faith-based organizations. Based in Bangkok, Examor currently serves clients in Vietnam, Thailand, Kenya, Ukraine, and the USA. Lance has served as a UI/UX designer for Silicon Valley startups as well as larger clients like Cisco.
Chad is the CEO of 5Q Communications, a creative marketing and web development agency for ministries, including Cru, Answers in Genesis, Voice of the Martyrs, and Bible League International. Previously, Chad served as the Digital Committee Chairman of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) and the CTO of Back to the Bible.
Antoine RJ Wright
As founder of Mobile Ministry Magazine, Antoine has been exploring ministry via mobile devices since 2003. Currently, he serves as a UX designer for Allegis Group, an $11 billion global staffing group. He has worked with the YMCA, Bible initiatives, global mission agencies, and grass roots efforts to reach least-reached people groups. Antoine also helped start the Mobile Ministry Forum.