The beloved words of the Christmas story are shared through song, drama and sermons throughout the holiday season:
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord,'” the story reads in the Gospel of Luke.
These days, technology is being used to share the familiar story of Christ's birth as chronicled in Scripture — and Edmond-based LifeChurch.tv can prove it.
Bobby Gruenewald, the church's pastor-innovation leader, said millions of people are reading the story via the free YouVersion Bible app developed by LifeChurch.tv.
In fact, Gruenewald said the Christmas story has gone viral.
Gruenewald, 36, said the church has created a “Global Operations Center” at its headquarters at Second Street and Interstate 35 to track how many people are reading the Christmas story through the Bible app.
Since the live Christmas story tracker's Dec. 1 launch, more than 3.6 million people have downloaded the memorable story through the Bible app, he said.
With the tracker, every time a reader clicks on the story, a star lights up on the tracker's world map, “and the ticker grows by one more soul,” LifeChurch.tv leaders said.
Church leaders said the Christmas story tracker is a twist on the entertaining “Santa Tracker” developed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command known as NORAD. The Santa Tracker helps children follow the progress of Santa Claus as he delivers gifts around the world in the hours and minutes leading up to Christmas Day.
Gruenewald said technological advances have allowed the church's digerati team to pinpoint the Christmas story downloads.
“In the past, the Christmas story was read in a book format, and it still is today in parts of the world. But many people — millions of people — are beginning to use their smartphone or their tablet to read about the birth of Christ,” he said.
“This season of the year, with the emphasis on all the other aspects of Christmas and how people celebrate it, we thought it was important to draw attention to what we believe is the real reason for the Christmas season, which is the birth of Christ.”
Gruenewald created the YouVersion Bible app as a way to use technology to make the Bible more accessible. Church leaders said the app has been installed on more than 71 million smartphones and mobile devices to date.
Visit the YouVersion Bible app Christmas story tracker or find out how to download the app by visiting http://christmas.youversion.com.