Gloo Awards $250,000
to AI & the Church
to AI & the Church
The first-of-its-kind event hosted over 200 participants in Boulder, Colorado, to create AI-powered solutions for the faith community
BOULDER, Colo., October 10, 2023 – Gloo, the leading technology platform dedicated to connecting the faith ecosystem and releasing its collective might, announced the outcomes of the AI & the Church Hackathon, held October 6-8 in Boulder, Colorado. The event was aimed at advancing artificial intelligence-based technology to serve the faith community. The Hackathon brought together a wide variety of leaders in theology, technology, legal and privacy, and artificial intelligence to dialogue and develop solutions that explore ways AI can be used for good.
The Hackathon drew 41 teams with more than 200 participants from around the world. Teams spent the weekend building AI-based technologies aimed at solving four challenges that addressed streamlining church administration, equipping church leaders in more effective ways, deepening intimacy with God, and unique, outside-of-the-box ways AI could serve the Church. Submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges that included Gloo CEO Scott Beck, YouVersion CTO James Chung, and VP of Software and Experience at RightNow Media Scott Mosley.
“At Gloo, we believe it is a moral imperative to use technology for good,” said Beck. “The Hackathon was an incredible testament to the power of connection, collaboration and the rapid advancement of AI technologies that can be used to make a difference in people’s lives. The collective might of the Church was evident as hundreds of passionate technologists gathered to equip churches with the tools to accomplish their missions and better serve their people and communities.”
Prizes were awarded from a $1 million funding pool, with $250,000 in cash prizes and another $750,000 to be deployed across a number of the solutions to help take them to market. The grand prize of $100,000, determined by the overall value the technology could provide to faith communities, was awarded to a team from Basil Tech, led by co-founder and CEO Kevin Kim and including team members Matt Chan, Polly Lal, Daniel Huang, Ike Sunu and Sang Tian. Basil Tech developed an app called Kidechisms, aimed at reimagining catechism for young children in a more personalized way using AI. The app provides guidance to parents who want to disciple their children and helps parents build the foundation of biblical doctrine and Christian practice.
Prizes ranging from $5,000-$100,000 were awarded to projects including:
• Basil Tech, Best overall value to the ecosystem
• Innov8 Reach, Best function or capability
• Pastors.ai, Best generative AI tool
• Biblemate, Best product design
• Marriage Score, Best marketing or pitch
• Alpha International, Best of “Equipping the Church” challenge category
• Servant.io, Best of “Intimacy with God” challenge category
• Deep Space Robots, Best of “Church Admin” challenge category
• biblechat.ai, Best of “Beyond Boundaries” challenge category
“The Gloo platform was designed to connect leaders across the faith ecosystem, ultimately to advance human flourishing — this Hackathon was an extension of that vision in an extraordinary way,” said Steele Billings, director of the Gloo AI Initiative and the Gloo Growth investment fund.
Gloo also convened a working group of leaders at the Hackathon, including James Chung of YouVersion, Scott Mosley of RightNow Media, Ed Stetzer of Biola University, Nicole Martin of Christianity Today, Matthew Robinson of Intentional Churches, Andrew Feng of Indigitous, and more. The roundtable tackled topics that included responsible approaches to AI in ministry, concerns about trust and data privacy, and principles hackers might use to guide responsible use of AI in their solutions.
“Gloo has not only convened technologists to advance AI for good purposes but has also created space for leaders to engage in critical discussions concerning the responsible and appropriate uses of AI within the Church,” said Ed Stetzer, dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. “Ultimately, we need to have the tools that multiply the Church’s mission, making us more effective at what God has already called us to do — and that includes AI.”
Partnering organizations joined forces with Gloo to bring the AI & the Church Hackathon to life, including Intentional Churches, YouVersion, RightNow Media, Shift Worship, ACS Technologies and others. For more information on the outcomes of the AI & the Church Hackathon, visit www.gloo.us/hackathon.
Originally published on Religion News October 10, 2023
Gloo is the technology platform that releases the collective might of the faith ecosystem. As a leading technology innovator, Gloo connects people, partners, world-class content, funding opportunities and more to help ministries achieve their goals and change more lives. Gloo has more than 40,000 churches using its platform and connects more than 1,000 new people to churches and ministries each day. Gloo is based in Boulder, Colorado.