Evangelism and community outreach in the 1st century

Short Form


How a local meetup with 13 participants spread across their known World in a few years, with little budget and gigantic enemies. Beyond miracles and beliefs: let’s look at the tactics and procedures that made the first Christians successful. A historical view of Acts of the Apostles for free software promoters and community managers.


If you want to discuss about religion, spirituality, Jesus of Nazareth or his gospels then this session is not for you. Our story starts precisely after he departs, leaving a radically new project in the hands of a few followers. By the time those activists die, the project has reached the corners of their civilization with a defiant inertia that no repression can stop. They won over mundane problems any project has, a powerful Jewish local hierarchy and a global Roman empire. They must have done something right.

How did these humble, outlawed and persecuted entrepreneurs bootstrap a global movement? What can we learn from them in order to consolidate and expand our own communities? The apostles believed that divine providence was on their side, but they didn’t rely solely on it. They worked hard and in certain ways. They reacted with effective solutions to trouble coming from outside and inside their communities. They did what today is called community management.

The answers can be found in the Bible, looking at the right places and connecting them with our historical understanding of life and society in those times. There are at least 10 practical and reproducible factors of success interesting for open content and free software projects. Just like they did, I want to share this with you.

This presentation is not own research and your presenter is definitely not a specialist in theology, biblical studies or classical history. All the credit goes to Pablo Richard, Liberation theologist and author of many books in Spanish including The Movement of Jesus before the Church. This book and some conversations in Costa Rica provide the theoretical background. The rest comes from years of participation in free software projects and other social communities.

Speaking experience

I have spoken in dozens of events, big and small, including SCALE, aKademy, GUADEC and LinuxTag. The last one was a lightning session at FOSDEM some weeks ago. The most relevant probably was a keynote at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit in 2009 in front of about 800 people. Some links:
There was a video somewhere about my Desktop Summit keynote but I could only find the audio: http://www.slideshare.net/qgil/maemo-harmattan-qt-and-more