Tapping Into Hidden Networks

There is an underground network of people living in your community and every other community in Australia that the church has never tapped into and probably doesn’t know exists. They are a network of people from all works of life who are connected through a common interest.  They often behave suspiciously and you may even have seen some and wondered, but they are essentially safe and you need not fear them.  You may be interested to know who they are and how you can tap into their network. Here’s a creative an imaginative way:

Firstly, this hidden network of people are engaging in what can best be described as a giant, worldwide game of hide and seek.  they are Geocachers, and one of the newest amongst them is Andrew Grant.  He wrote recently about his ‘conversion’ to Geocaching after reading this article on our website.  Here’s a Wiki explanation:

Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook.

Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. After 10 years of activity there are over 1.2 million active geocaches published on various websites devoted to the activity.

For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container containing a log book (with pen or pencil) and trade items then record the cache’s coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a listing site (see list of some sites below). Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from that listing site and seek out the cache using their GPS handheld receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook, pencil, or stamp) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value.

No doubt all around where you live and where you travel to on a daily basis there are Geocaches that are hidden and if you are observant enough there are people either placing them or trying to find them.  You can usually notice a Geocacher because they will be staring at cracks in the wall, looking through a garden bed or looking underneath signs, banisters or anywhere where a crafty concealment is possible.

Here’s Andrew’s creative idea:

Let’s imagine a world where a large number of churches jumped on the geo-cache bandwagon, and conspired to plant a geo-cache or two on or around their properties. And what if these geo-caches started out with a large and relatively valuable FTF (first to find) prize and every now and again had inserted into them a gift of such staggering generosity that it becomes the very object lesson of the generosity of God in extending mercy and redemption to us.

Let them be known as the ARK (Act of Random Kindness) caches, and imagine a city like Brisbane where ARK caches become the most sought after because they’re known for the most important of the Christlike attributes? And imagine the fun churches could have with random giving where the only control on the recipient is prayer that whoever finds the ARK is the person God wanted to find it?

Collectively this could reverse invisibility, and in one cohesive fell-swoop put the broad scope of churches on the map for the entire geo-cache underworld. Geo-cachers will start to know where the churches are and they will know them for their generosity – which can only reflect well on the attributes we would want the body of Christ to be known for?

Which brings me to the pushing the envelope part. If this strategy is anything more than an organic embrace from individual churches it runs the risk of falling foul of geo-caching sensitivities about commercialization of the geo-cache concept.

Read more at Andrew’s blog here.  Visit the Australian Geocaching site here.

Do you have any experience of Geocaching?  Do you think this could be an idea your church could run with?