Edmond-based LifeChurch.tv reaches around globe with Bible app

The popular YouVersion Bible application created by Edmond-based LifeChurch.tv has surpassed 34 million downloads on mobile devices and continues to grow worldwide. Pastors of the central Oklahoma church call it a global revolution.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: November 26, 2011

A woman in Southeast Asia reads Philippians 4:6 in Indonesian using the YouVersion Bible application on her iPhone.

A man in Europe participates in a Bible study using a YouVersion Bible app reading plan in Portuguese on his BlackBerry.

A teen at an Oklahoma City charter school looks up a Scripture on the YouVersion Bible app on his iPad.

At any moment of the day, someone is downloading the popular Bible app created by a group of technologically savvy people at Edmond-based LifeChurch.tv, led by senior pastor Craig Groeschel.

The free app reached a milestone of 30 million downloads on mobile devices in October — and surpassed 34 million downloads this week.

Bobby Gruenewald, pastor and innovation-leader at LifeChurch.tv who helped create the YouVersion Bible app, calls its popularity a global revolution of sorts.

He said he is excited about the recent high point. But like most people known for their creative spark, Gruenewald, who was named to Fast Company's 2011 “100 Most Creative People in Business” list, is not satisfied.

He said it has been a “very intense” three-plus years since the Bible app was introduced in 2008. Gruenewald said he and LifeChurch.tv's tech-savvy group called the Digerati team have been challenged to offer the app in as many languages and as many versions as they can. They have succeeded in offering the app in multiple Bible versions and at least 45 languages thus far.

One of the app's more popular aspects is the audio feature that lets them not only read but listen to the Bible.

“Obviously, from our perspective, what has happened is pretty incredible, but on the other hand, we now know what is possible,” Gruenewald said in a recent interview.

“If we have the faith to believe we can see 500 million to 1 billion downloads, then 30 million seems pathetic. We just think it's possible we can accelerate and connect with tens of millions more.”

Bible for digital age

He said he created the app as he began exploring ways the church could use technology to connect people with Christ. In keeping with the premise that reading the Bible helps people establish a relationship with the Lord, he decided to pursue the idea of a Bible app that people could access on mobile devices such as their smartphone.


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