I’m often asked to describe what the technical buzz words: Identity Management really mean. It is a subject that means something entirely different in the world of corporate information systems than it does to me in the mission field. Corporate systems are all about protecting the vault of valuable assets. My job is more about protecting and connecting people.
We are living in a historic period of God’s activity on the planet earth. Not since the early days of the church, as recorded in the book of Acts, have followers of Jesus been connecting with each other and coming together for a singular purpose and with such a compelling sense of unity. The one thing that unites them is their identity in Jesus Christ. Their purpose is to build spiritual movements such that everyone will know someone who truly follows Jesus.
Unfortunately, our technology is not exactly filled with the Holy Spirit and able to recognize a follower of Jesus based on their name and password. Therefore, we build web systems that help these followers of Jesus to identify and connect with each other online.
Identifying Movement Builders
Jesus’ followers have long been the best source of credentials for identifying other followers. In fact, Jesus carefully instructed his first followers on how to recognize people who truly loved God from those who were merely religious. Likewise, our identity systems rely on people who know people to establish their credentials. This sets our Identity Management software apart from the systems employed by financial institutions or eCommerce web sites. Fortunately, it also makes the costs of developing and deploying this technology much more affordable.
Enabling Movement Builders
Our identity system authenticates a person before they view a web page. In other words it establishes that, they are who they say that they are before they are allowed to visit the web site.
The system embraces the fact that a person’s “official” relationship to the organization might change over time, but their need to stay connected remains. The fluid, multi-faceted roles that people have in building spiritual movements is not dependent on the employment process. It allows participants to have multiple roles as volunteers, students, donors, employees, associate staff and fund developers.
Likewise, we need to create safe sanctuaries for people seeking to know more about Jesus. They come wanting to connect with true followers of Jesus in online conversations. The identity system allows us to treat them as the unique and special people God created them to be and also protects their privacy and the confidentiality of their conversations.