Why should a pastor consider using the online YouVersion LIVE event software to provide his or her sermon notes on mobile devices? After all, as the pastor you already have more on your plate than you can handle. Especially if you are like me and pastor a new or small congregation, you wear a lot of hats. Why add one more?
After four months of experimentation with the YouVersion Bible app, I have found it takes me on average another 30 to 40 minutes per week to provide a detailed version of our sermon notes to our congregation on their mobile devices. Why do I do it? Is it worth it?
The WHY behind the LIVE Event. The mobile market of smart phones and tablet devices has been growing by leaps and bounds over this past year. Apple just reported their best quarter ever, selling 37 million iPhones and over 15 million iPads. While they don’t report the specific numbers, most analysts estimate that Amazon sold over 5 million Kindle Fires in their first quarter. I have a good friend and parishioner who owns 13 Verizon stores and he tells me that the sales of all mobile devices have never been better. In the tablet market alone, it’s estimated that in this past Christmas alone, the percentage of people who own a tablet device DOUBLED to 19 percent.
The mobile device market is exploding, my pastor friend. And if you’re not tapping into this incredible phenomenon, you’re missing out on this fast-growing opportunity to multiply your weekly results from the weekly work you are already doing. And thanks to the YouVersion Bible app, this opportunity is FREE – both to you and to your congregation!
Never before in our lifetime – and maybe not since the invention of the printing press – have we seen such an explosion in the number of people who are regularly accessing their Bibles!
YouVersion does a pretty good job of sharing their own success story. But just in case you haven’t heard, here are a few incredible statistics. The Bible App has been installed on more than 30 million devices. One device in seven carries the Bible app on it. To put this in numbers that might make sense to a pastor with a congregation of 100 parishioners. I would guess that 66 of your parishioners already have either a tablet or a smart phone. Of that number – if your congregation simply represents the averages – 10 of your attendees already have the Bible app. That number could easily be higher since your people are more likely than the average to be interested in the Bible. In other words, this is a trend already taking place within your church. It’s not often that pastors are presented with trends moving in their direction! Why not take advantage of it?
The Beauty of the YouVersion Bible App. It’s FREE. Have I mentioned that yet? I know. I know. The moment I hear “FREE,” my head is spinning wondering where’s the catch? My heads been spinning since last September and I haven’t found a catch yet. The Bible app from YouVersion is the #1 Bible app available in both the App Store for IOS devices as well as the Market for Android devices. The folks who created The Bible App estimate that more than 1 billion minutes of Bible interaction is happening every month! So this is not just an app that people download – just to possess, but never to use. YouVersion offers hundreds of daily reading plans that make it easy for your church member to read his or her Bible every day.
A New Way To Think About The Phone. I tell the folks at Church Requel that they are not just carrying around a phone on their hips that happens to also be a Bible. That’s the wrong way to think about it. RATHER, THEY NOW HAVE A BIBLE THAT HAPPENS TO MAKE PHONE CALLS! In case you think this is just pastor banter that sounds good, I will bet you that most of the folks in my congregation SPEND MORE TIME reading the Bible on their phone every day than they spend making phone calls! This is a technological revolution that God has brought to His church. As pastors we simply have to take advantage of the opportunity!
So Why Make The Notes Available as a LIVE Event? You may be asking why we should bother doing anything? Why not just settle for what God has already provided. The answer is that you, my pastor friend, have so much incredible influence on your congregation. Remember what I wrote earlier that a typical 100-person congregation might already have 10 folks with the Bible app on it? With your blessing and your example, you could easily raise this four-fold. More than half of your parishioners could be using the Bible app, with just a little extra effort on your part.
That’s what we’ve seen at Church Requel. We’re still a very small church. On a good night we’ll have 60 folks there. We are a church plant and are still relatively young. We’re just now beginning to see younger families with children starting to attend. For the last 4 months we have prepared our sermon notes BOTH in the printed out program AND in the LIVE Event on YouVersion. We’ve made it fun. The good folks at YouVersion provided us with Bible stickers that people can put on the back of their phones and tablets. I tell them that way, when they pull out their mobile devices, they won’t have to worry about what other people might think. Their device is now officially labled “The Bible!”
There’s a Bible Buzz. When’s the last time you saw your congregation actively talking about and sharing the Bible with their friends and family? This happens all the time at Church Requel. I’d estimate that for every person within our own church who has added the Bible App to their device in the past 4 months, there are at least another three to four beyond our church’s 4 walls who’ve added the Bible to their phone because of the buzz factor. It’s the most natural thing in the world for people to talk about. One of the top conversations for all people has been about the most recent app downloaded to their device. And we make it easy to spread the word. Within the Bible notes, we have a “SHARE” piece where each week our congregation can Tweet or Facebook the most recent notes from the Church Requel LIVE Event.