A higher calling

Bob Adams, president of Christian Growth Solutions of Toronto, had a vision last November.

He woke at 4 a.m. after a two-hour-long revelation to connect those of faith with the services offered by places of worship.

The idea scared him because he believes it came from the Almighty himself.

Adams, who is a Christian, saw the need to update the IP communications of churches, synagogues and mosques across Canada as means of outreach.

Many houses of worship report declines in membership, but this system integrator thinks that by improving the communications process and making it more interactive these places may be able to rekindle the spirit of the past.

Adams’ way of reaching out to those of faith is by using video streaming, editing on PCs and mobile devices.

His company, formed in 2005, has signed a deal with Formidable Technologies of London, to bring interactive technology to the church market and other religious communities.

Declining membership
Reginald Bibby, author and researcher at the Lethbridge University, has pegged the drop in religious attendance at between 15 and 20 per cent across Canada during the last decade.

As an example, the Toronto United Church Council predicted that over the next 10 years it will lose 75 per cent of its membership, leading to a shutdown of 15 per cent of its churches.

The other problem the churches have is that their core base is aging, Adams said. “Between 34 to 38 per cent of young folk look for faith on the Internet,” he said.

So Adams implores his customers to use the Web as an outreach tool.

Christian Growth Solutions has partnered with Formid-able and VAR-turned-wireless provider Millennium Data Systems of Vaughan, Ont. to develop a Linux-based video conferencing system for religious broadcasting that can be seen across the country.

“With a local church Web cast service it creates a community across the Internet,” said Adams. “Seniors can’t attend anymore with their age, but now you can set up a point-to-point interactivity to attend church services.”

Profit and the past
A veteran of the IT industry in Canada, Adams sold his first IBM 360 mainframe to AllState back in 1961. He also sold Univacs, PCs and Apple IIs. He says “that’s when Unix men were men and Unix was Unix.”

His work today is more of a calling, but that doesn’t mean he is taking a loss.

“Jesus says the workman is worthy of his or her hire, and if you have a business and it does not have a solid profit base it will not function,” Adams said.

Most of the margins on these solutions will be on applications, training, implementation and services. Very little margin will be made from the equipment resale.

“It has to be a profitable concept,” Adams said. For churches, an implementation of this scale is a big deal and with the technology knowledge being low at best they will rely on the IT partner to stay in business, he added.

For places of worship, the return on investment will be seen in many areas besides attendance, said Adams.

These organizations will get a reliable wireless connection throughout their buildings and high speed Internet for Webcasts for the same price as DSL.

According to Adams, this will enable them to cut their bills with voice over IP and video. It also increases security because the equipment can be used for video surveillance, which also reduces insurance premiums.

For the ministers, priests, rabbis and imams who do not have a huge budget for travel this same system can do video conferencing.

“This gives them the tools to address many things in a much better way while delivering their message in the 21st century,” Adams said.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.