“I have four young kids myself between 7 months old and 8 years old, and I personally, as a parent, am kind of witnessing my kids' excitement and engagement with their tablets and phones and anything they can get their hands on to play games with,” Gruenewald.
He said the church's mission with the YouVersion Bible app is to see the “most Bible-engaged generation in history,” and the app for children is another way to fulfill that goal.
Gruenewald said the “Bible App for Kids” was launched with six Bible stories: “In the Beginning,” which tells the creation story chronicled in Genesis; “The First Christmas Gift,” about the Nativity; “First Sin,” about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; “It Is Finished,” about Christ's crucifixion; “Empty Tomb-Happy Sunday,” which tells the Easter story; and “Through the Roof,” which shares the story of Jesus' healing of a paralytic man (Mark 2:1-12).
More to come
Gruenewald said more stories will be added over the next year or so. He said a seventh story likely will be added in the next several weeks, and the plan is to offer 40 stories that can give children “the grand narrative” of the Bible.
“These are stories that tell the big picture of the Bible,” he said.
Translations in other languages eventually will be made available. Plus, Gruenewald said they plan to add a feature that will allow parents to interact with their children by connecting their YouVersion accounts.
Gruenewald likened the new app to a gift to the global community-at-large because it can be downloaded free, just like the YouVersion Bible app.
Thus far, he said parents seem to be receiving the app as the present it was intended to be. He said more than 450,000 people installed the app the day it was launched, and it was the No. 1 children's app and No. 1 educational app in the Apple iTunes store that day. Also, on its launch day, the app was No. 2 overall of the apps available for the iPad, Gruenewald said.
“But more than the numbers, the big thing for us was that the feedback we were getting from parents was overwhelmingly positive. Many of them were taking pictures of the kids using the Bible App for Kids and posting them on Twitter. They were just watching their kids engage. Some were saying ‘My kids won't give my phone back to me!'” Gruenewald said.
“It indicated that the app was resonating. It was working and accomplishing what we set out to do.”