How Rock Went International, The Story of Arran France
"There was a moment for me when I realized. I always knew I wanted to be involved in making churches better. Maybe the traditional route isn't the right fit
for me." Arran France, a 21-year-old from Corby, England, experienced a light bulb moment shortly after discovering Rock as an intern at Hope Church. "Maybe
I can combine my geeky passion of developing and my desire to work in the church!"
It all started when Arran entered his second year as an intern and was given responsibility for communications and media. He realized his church needed a
solid database in order to reach their members, and began looking for a low-cost church management system.
He stumbled across Rock RMS, which was still in beta, and wasn’t UK ready. After looking around, Arran realized that Rock was going to be the best solution
and decided to get involved in the community. In fact, Arran took the initiative to write his own location system for Rock to make it more internationally
compatible. He emailed it to the core development team, which provided a list of things to change. Working with the core team, and a volunteer developer,
Arran applied his techy intuition, learned how to debug, and was able to successfully complete his first project, hugely contributing to the internationalization
of Rock. His pioneering feedback encouraged core changes to accommodate location, phone numbers and school grades that were not US-centric.
"I was up until 1:00 am and I was like, 'It works!' It was a huge moment."
Arran saw this moment as a validation that he could not only tackle the full Rock implementation project at Hope Church and contribute to the Rock community,
but that he could use his specific skill set for the Kingdom. Just this year, Arran enrolled at the university to pursue a degree that he plans to put to use
for the Big-C Church. "My decision to go into computer science was about investing in that."
Currently, Arran has finished the implementation of Rock at Hope Church, created a blog for the Rock community called
Shoulder the Boulder, and trained up a local tech volunteer in his church. His contributions to the Rock community
When asked where he sees himself in five years, after he completes his degree, Arran answers, "Someplace where I could combine the skills I have from Rock and
the degree and the church. Church management is new to the UK. I'm trying to encourage churches to look at Rock as an option for them."
As someone who has taught himself everything he knows about Rock, Arran has great advice for those who are exploring it now, "Start with what you actually
need and make a list. Delve into the manuals and look across your requirements. Don't be afraid to ask questions in the Q&A. It's a very friendly place and
people are very keen to help."
"Saying my involvement with Rock has been an inspiration is an understatement. A huge thank you to the core team, for creating an environment where a guy
like me (with zero experience) could get stuck in and get inspired to learn more."
That pretty well sums up the Rock project. It's more community than application. It's possible to start with just a little and become a contributing member.
There are partners to help you if you lack skills and "people are very keen to help."
We're thankful Arran has begun to find his calling and are sure the Rock community will continue to benefit from his insights for years to come.