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Meet the Department: Jason Maas

Meet the Department: Jason Maas

Posted by Jason Maas at Feb 10, 2009 04:45 PM |

My family's first computer was a Kaypro and from the moment we got it I was hooked!  In high school my friend Phil introduced me to the PC demoscene and computer programming.  I even got to go to NAID '96 in Montreal, the biggest demo party ever held in North America!  The Lord blessed me with the ability and desire to understand computers and in college at Penn State I studied Computer Science so that I could learn more.  Little did I know what God had in mind for my computer skills...

In high school God brought to fruition the work of a number of people investing in me, especially my youth pastor at the time, Mike Laurence.  I realized that when the Bible said "sinner" it didn't mean "public school kids" and that I was as much a sinner as anyone else.  That realization drove me to the foot of the cross and I accepted Jesus as my lord and savior!  I then got a taste of discipleship with Pastor Mike and I got a taste of missions by going on week-long missions trips in the summer.  Little did I know what God was preparing me for...

At Penn State I became involved with The Navigators and then DiscipleMakers.  I met my brother-in-law Ben who started discipling me and I met his little sister Deeanne who later married me!  My college years were an exciting time of spiritual growth and ministry opportunities.  God used campus ministries to change me in big ways and helped me to become more bold for him.  Little did I know that God would lead me into full-time college ministry...

After college I went to work for IBM as a computer programmer in the realm of TCP/IP support for a "mini-computer" then called the AS/400.  Deeanne and I were married and we got involved with a church and volunteered with InterVarsity at nearby Binghamton University.  During this time Bill Dripps persistently recruited me to join DiscipleMakers and serve on the Systems Department at the headquarters where help was desperately needed.  I was thrilled about the idea of using my computer skills to have an impact on students in the same way God impacted me during my college years.  But I was scared to death about the idea of raising our own financial support!  Little did I know how God would increase my faith...

At the end of 2001 we decided to take a step of faith and join DiscipleMakers, knowing that if God truly wanted us there he could meet our financial needs.  He has blessed us abundantly and met all of our needs and then some!  He has also blessed us with three children so far whom we love very much.  DiscipleMakers leaders care a lot about my family and they help me to make them a priority so they don't get left behind in the wake of ministry.  Ministering full-time with DiscipleMakers has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done!  God has blown us away again and again with what he does when we have the smallest bit of faith.  I love the work I get to do with computers and with people.  Our staff is like a big family and I love helping them with technology so they can spend more time with students.  Praise God for choosing to include me in His work of making disciples on college campuses!

P.S. My latest interest has been in making ministry software tools available as web applications so that missionaries can more readily access them from anywhere on any type of computer (or netbook, smartphone, digital photo frame, wrist watch, etc).  If you know anything about how to do that or want to learn more I'd love to talk with you!

  • Phone: (814) 234-7975 x528
  • Email:
  • Skype: jason_maas

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The Perfect Job

The Perfect Job

Posted by Brian Roberg at Jan 28, 2009 12:55 PM |

In DiscipleMakers we often talk about what we'd like to see happen in our ministry in the future.  Sometimes, we purposefully think big: what could God do?  In the Systems Department, we've often pointed to one particular thing as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal: that Systems would grow in its impact on God's Kingdom such that people would turn down job offers from Google so that they could join us.

Why say it this way?  Simple: Google has a sort of corporate aura about it.  A job with Google combines high pay, prestige, and a sense of changing the world for the better.  If there's a perfect job out there, surely it's with Google, right?

A counterpoint to this way of thinking is presented in a recent post on TechCrunch called Why Google Employees Quit.  It presents excepts from an email discussion among former Google employees.  Don't worry, it's not a collection of flames.  The messages collected there simply describe some of the highs and lows of working for Google, from the perspectives of people who decided to leave the company.

One post stood out as being particularly thoughtful.  A guy named Phil said, "Those of us who failed to thrive at Google are faced with some pretty serious questions about ourselves....  Google is supposed to be some kind of Nirvana, so if you can’t be happy there how will you ever be happy? It’s supposed to be the ultimate font of technical resources, so if you can’t be productive there how will you ever be productive?  The truth is that Google can be a really horrible place to work if you happen to run up against its shortcomings."

No job, whether with Google, DiscipleMakers, or anywhere else, is perfect.  If you look to your job to give purpose to your life, you'll be disappointed.

Instead, look for a job that connects you to a purpose valuable enough to be worth giving your life to.

Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:38, ESV)  In God's eternal economy, there is a high demand for people who devote themselves to serving in the Lord's harvest field.  The world may not value this service, but God does.

Yet it is not the job itself that is glorious, but its purpose.  That purpose is the proclamation of the gospel to lost souls.  And that's why we believe serving in DiscipleMakers' Systems Department is a opportunity that stacks up favorably against what anyone else might offer.  If you believe in our mission, would you pray with us that the Lord would send more laborers into His harvest?


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Our New Year's Adventure

Our New Year's Adventure

Posted by Tom Hallman at Jan 05, 2009 03:35 PM |

On New Year's Eve, our computer network went down. And we had no idea how to fix it.

At 10:30a on December 31st, I tried making a very small change to our network's router. Once I did, suddenly everything started failing. Our headquarters users couldn't get to the net. We couldn't see our web server. Reports of "I can't check email" started flooding in. "Oops," I thought.

I quickly changed everything back, and waited. Still nothing. When I logged onto the console of our email server, I could see that it was up. But it couldn't get to the rest of the world, and the rest of the world couldn't get to it.

I called Brian over. We traced through what I did and concluded that something else must be broken, so we restarted the router. When it came back up, things only got worse.

Over the next 48 hours, God taught me a lot. He taught me all about the need for a redundant router. He taught me about what the good ol' days were like before Google, when you had to use things like books and the painfully slow scientific method in order to solve problems! He taught me crazy networking technologies (and all the syntax and semantics that go with it) that I'd never before laid eyes on. But most of all, He reminded me of one of the biggest reasons I love my job.

It's the people.

Over those 48 hours, God used the brothers and sisters around me – not just technology – in order to solve the problem. I was amazed and humbled at how quickly my coworkers were willing to help. Now, I don't know what your job is like around the turn of the year, but I know that in DiscipleMakers, there's lots to do to prepare for the next semester, upcoming conferences, upcoming talks or worship-leading, the huge amount of work in the HQ involved in complying with tax regulations, the whole slew of projects and appointments that hadn't gotten done in December, and plenty more. But in the midst of all that, people were willing – even eager – to stop what they were doing and pray for us in the Systems Department. Many would stop by or call and offer us words of encouragement. (One even offered to take a pipe wrench to the router if it would help... we considered it.)

In the end, we managed to get everything back up and running. God used this experience to give us a better, more streamlined and much-more-well-understood setup than we'd ever previously had. He used it to grow Brian and I in unity, since we felt somewhat like we were in a foxhole together. He also used it to remind us Who is in control, and to Whom we must turn for our hope (hint: it's not Google.) "When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" (Amos 3:6b)

So thank you, Father, for giving me a work environment in which I can serve, be encouraged, and learn to love my coworkers and trust You more every day.

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The Growing Seed

The Growing Seed

Posted by Brian Roberg at Dec 16, 2008 11:55 AM |

Jesus' parable of the growing seed instructs us regarding what makes ministry successful:

And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.  He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.  The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29, ESV)

This tells us that while a person can participate in the growth of God's kingdom through sowing and reaping, the real growth happens independently of his efforts.  In other words, we have the opportunity to minister to others but it's the Spirit of God that changes a person's heart.

This idea also informs our approach to technology.  Much of our work in DiscipleMakers' Systems Department can be described as "scattering seed."  We apply technology to the needs of our ministry in hopes that it will bear fruit.  How exactly it bears fruit is often not in our hands.  In fact, this is when the job is most exciting: we are most effectively equipping our co-laborers when we put tools in their hands which they can use to accomplish things in ministry we hadn't even envisioned.

This happens in all kinds of ways.  Some are small, such as helping a co-worker discover a feature of her email client that helps her be just a little bit more effective in corresponding with people.  Sometimes, though, an application of technology can be truly world-changing.  I often think of the development of TCP/IP, an innovation that may be the most important invention of the twentieth century.

Of course, it's improbable that the Systems Department will dramatically change the world's technological landscape.  That's not the point, after all.  Rather, we contribute our efforts toward the mission to make disciples for Christ among college students.  Through the work of the Spirit, that's an effort that will yield a great harvest.

Photo by Gerardo Villalobos, used under a Creative Commons license.


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Welcome to the DiscipleMakers Systems Blog!

Welcome to the DiscipleMakers Systems Blog!

Posted by Tom Hallman at Nov 20, 2008 05:15 PM |

Do you love equipping people with the right tools to do their jobs excellently?  Do you get excited about creatively joining together ideas and technologies to help advance God's Kingdom? 

You're in the right place. 

Welcome to the DiscipleMakers Systems Department blog!  We're excited to be starting this new venture, and we're glad you're here to find out more.

DiscipleMakers is a growing, Pennsylvania-based college campus ministry, and the Systems Department (or "Systems" for short) is responsible for utilizing technology that enables DM to more effectively make disciples. 

So why are we starting a blog?

First, God is worthy of all praise (Psalm 150:6), and we see this blog as a great way to give Him glory for what He's doing through the DiscipleMakers Systems Department.

Second, we're a forgetful people that need to be reminded often what God has done, is doing, and will do in us and through us, all in accordance with His promises and faithfulness.  So, this blog will help us, as God's people, to remember what an amazing God we have!

Third, you might not be too clear as to how the seemingly-unrelated spiritual and technological endevours of a college campus ministry come together.  You wouldn't be alone!  We've talked to a number of people who are really passionate for the work we're doing, but previously they didn't even know that we existed!  So, we members of the DM Systems Department want to use this blog to paint a picture for you of how God is using us and our work to equip disciples to make disciples. 

So, whether you're already familiar with DiscipleMakers and the Systems Department or are just curious and want to hear more, we hope you'll find this blog interesting and encouraging.  Thanks for reading!

To get instant updates as we add new entries, we recommend using our RSS feed.  And please feel free to leave comments - we'd love to hear from you!

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