EDMOND — A South Florida mom was pleased to see her children drawn into the timeless stories of the Bible through a new app developed and recently launched by Edmond-based LifeChurch.tv.
“BibleAppforKids being read this morning while getting ready for school!” April Floria tweeted recently.
Mark Brown, a Tomball, Texas, media company founder, also took to Twitter to share his child's fondness for the new “Bible App for Kids.”
“Daughter just playd Bible4Kids app 4 ages! Hard 2 get her 2 engage with the Bible SO WOW!” Brown tweeted as @RevMarkB.
Since its Thanksgiving Day debut, the new Bible app for children has been downloaded more than 1 million times — a great first week, said the Rev. Bobby Gruenewald, pastor-innovation leader of LifeChurch.tv.
Gruenewald said LifeChurch.tv created the new app for children ages 4 to 10, although even younger children are expressing interest in it. He said the church sought the aid of the international ministry One Hope to develop the app so that children would be easily immersed in the stories of the Bible.
The app is similar in many ways to some of the games that many children are enamored with, Gruenewald said. During the design phase, the church sought out children to get their feedback on things such as artwork and interactive elements.
The app includes touch-activated animation, kid-friendly navigation, content that introduces children to the “big story” of the Bible and interactive experiences designed to encourage children to return often, he said. It is designed for children who can't read yet or who are beginning or early readers.
“As children navigate through a particular story, they can listen, read and see it come to life by tapping on the different people that are in each story and the different scenes of it. It has a lot of gaming-type elements like hidden objects and achievements that children get for completing different parts of the app or different parts of the stories,” he said.
“There are things by design that are there to help pull children in and make it both fun but also something that's very educational, something they can learn a lot from.”
Kids plug in
Of course, the megachurch with 50,000 members attending multiple sites in five states is no stranger to helping to connect people to the Bible.
In July, LifeChurch.tv marked the fifth anniversary of its popular YouVersion Bible app, shortly after the free app hit the 100 million downloads marker. The app is available in formats for most mobile devices and is notable for its 604 different versions and 368 languages.
Gruenewald said church leaders decided to create the app for children at the request of numerous parents who liked the YouVersion Bible app and thought a similar app for a younger generation would be helpful.