Each Monday night, tucked in a small room at the far end of a hallway at The Rock Church, a group of volunteers are hunched over an assortment of computers in various stages of disrepair.
They are clearly in their element, tossing back and forth technical terms that are a foreign language to many.
They are the Jesus Geeks, a group of volunteers that serve as a blessing to the community’s computer-challenged. Not only will they fix your computer, but they’ll help boost the spirit too, whether it’s through prayer or just a listening ear.
For those who can’t afford it, it’s free. And for those who can pay, the suggested donation is far below the going rate at Best Buy or other fix-it shops.
The ministry was born one night three years ago, when Jack Costner was asked to fix a coworker’s home computer as a favor.
“I was driving over to his house when I felt the Holy Spirit telling me I was supposed to share the Gospel with him at his house,” Costner, 32, recalled.
As a newly-saved Christian, he wasn’t sure what to make of it.
When Costner arrived, he started a virus scan on the computer, and it notified him it would take an hour to complete. He realized God had given him the perfect window to open up about his faith.
“I shared with him best I could,” Costner said.
The coworker thanked him the next week at work -- not for fixing the computer, but for sharing Jesus with him.
“He said he’d been thinking about going back to church. God kind of blew my mind then. I never thought something geekily related like IT would be able to share God’s love, but it happened.”
The experience got Costner thinking. How many others could be served through computers?
The ministry got off to a bit of a rocky start, with volunteers initially driving to people’s homes to fix the computers. The distances could be long and gas expensive, and it was clearly wearing on the volunteers.
As discouragement set in, Costner’s wife continued to remind him that if God was truly calling him to serve in this way, then he couldn’t give up.
“I kept asking God, and I always got a ‘yes,’” he said.
His next step was to seek wise counsel, which came in the form of the Rock’s business ministry. They suggested he pick a central location, and he started the Monday night repair lab at the church.
The ministry got an added boost when someone donated Apple computers to The Rock Academy. The volunteers helped install the Macs in the lab and can use the machines as part of their ministry as well.
About 30 volunteers are signed up for the ministry, with about 10 solid regulars each week, Costner said. They start each meeting with a prayer.
“Most of them are guys who are just interested in getting to know how to fix computers. There are a few non-believers who have wanted experience.”
On a recent Monday night, a handful of people met one-on-one with volunteers to fix their computers.
Andrea Perez, who attends the Rock, said she’d heard about the ministry through a couple people.
As volunteer Matt wiped her laptop clean of viruses, he explained what had gone wrong and what to do if it got infected again.
“It was awesome,” she said. “Where else would I go? I wouldn’t know what to do.”
At the other end of the table, Mari da Silva was getting the sound fixed on her laptop.
“I use it a lot to watch movies, YouTube, talk to my family in Brazil,” she said. Getting it fixed anywhere else would be expensive, she said. “It’s a blessing.”
About 75 percent of the people they serve attend the Rock, Costner estimated.
The ministry has branched into other areas, from helping the Rock’s IT staff with projects to serving the refugee community in City Heights.
They began working with the nonprofit Bridge of Hope about a year ago, building a small computer lab of four machines in the group’s community center and teaching refugees how to use them.
They also deliver donated, refurbished computers to families, building strong relationships at the same time. Their next project is to help build a larger computer lab for the nonprofit at its new center.
The ministry has taken on more of a full-time role for Costner since he left his IT job at UCSD. He gets freelance web developing and Internet marketing jobs when he can.
Costner hopes to see the ministry continue to expand, possibly by sending volunteers with missionaries to the far reaches of the globe.
“A lot of spiritual battles that happen tend to be technical, when things stop working,” he explained.
Leaders also want to station volunteers around San Diego County as the Rock expands with more campuses. Volunteers have already helped wire the church’s new North County campus and have now turned their focus to the upcoming East County location.
The ministry has grown more organized under the co-leadership of Dan Deleon, who comes from a marketing background. He helped put policies and procedures in place to help things run more smoothly.
As a result, the ministry was recently set up as its own nonprofit organization.
“Everybody has a computer, and people who don’t, need one,” Costner said. “It’d be great if Christians are at the forefront of that.”
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)
Visit; thejesusgeeks.org for more information or “Like” them on Facebook at facebook.com/TheJesusGeeks. Monday night repair, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., The Rock, room: 216
For more information about the Computer Services Ministry, click here »