The Story So Far

Occasionally people ask how ZionWorx started and what brought it all into being. This is Christian's story...

Some Background

ZionWorx began in embryonic form back in 1999 when I was doing my final year project in Computer Science at university.  I had recently become a Christian and wanted to develop something useful for the church I went to.  The church was pretty advanced in technology for the time and already had a projection system using 2 networked PC's with software written in MS-DOS, developed by an enthusiastic guy who had since moved on.  My dream was to develop some software that could run on Windows 98 and make use of the new (at the time) dual monitor capability - a program that would be really user-friendly and could even be operated by children.  God's hand in the plan was evident from the very start.  When the time came to write a project proposal I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough 'academic scope' in the project to make it acceptable to my tutor.  But at the same time as I was considering this, the church had a visit from an Australian prophetess (who's name I can't remember).  At the end of the service there was a challenge and a call for people to come forward.  The woman went quickly along the line of people who responded and spoke a few sentences of prophecy over each person.  When it was my turn she simply said, "You will write software for God" and then she moved to the next person.  I knew this was a supernaturally-inspired statement since the woman didn't know me at all, and while I still didn't know what it meant, I had enough confidence to make the project proposal - and my tutor accepted it.

The main operator each week was a 9-year-old girl who enjoyed using the software "

By the time I graduated in 2000 the software was up and running and had replaced the old system.  It was well received by everyone and people appreciated the use of background images to enhance the song words.  The main operator each week was a 9-year-old girl who enjoyed using the software and was able to pick up the familiar 'point-and-click' interface easily (compared to the old MS-DOS program).  And so the project was a success and I was awarded 89% for the double module which was the top mark in the year!  I then graduated with plenty of debt, got married, bought a house, and started full-time employment in software engineering.  It was then I started dreaming about further developing the software to turn it into a product that I could sell to churches.  I made some good progress in this direction and renamed the program 'Jubilate!'.  During 2001 I had interest from 2 other UK churches and sold the software for a one-off £100 fee to each of them.  This was a very exciting time and I had big plans to turn this into a business and pay off my student debts quickly.  In September 2001 we moved to Coventry because my wife, Mhairi, was offered a full-time job as Youth Worker in a city church.  This church was also just introducing a song projection system and were looking for software, so naturally they ended up using mine for free!.  A few months later in March 2002 we went with the church group to a Christian conference called 'Spring Harvest'.  It was here that God intervened.  During a powerful time of worship in the big tent, I felt God speak to me firmly in my thoughts, "I challenge you to surrender this software to Me, and to give it away for free."  I was shocked at the thought and immediately questioned where the thought had come from.  Why would I even think this way?  I wanted to make a business out of it, there was nothing wrong in that.  So I wrestled with the challenge in my mind and soon after shared it with Mhairi, who was surprised but encouraged me to be obedient.  I knew that God had spoken and I couldn't run away from the challenge He made me - I just had to decide whether to give it to Him or convince myself that it wasn't really God and ignore it.

Next: The Launch