In this video, Terry Storch, Digerati Pastor at LifeChurch.tv, and Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader at LifeChurch.tv, update us on YouVersion’s “1 Billion in January” challenge.
When we announced our goal for a billion minutes, the most we’d seen read in the Bible App™ during a single month was 250 million. Last month, you read 681 million minutes. That’s an increase of 172%! Incredible! While we didn’t hit 1 billion in 31 days, we’re still on track to do it in the first 50 days of 2011. Please keep making God’s Word a part of your life every day, and the moment we reach 1 billion, we’ll celebrate it here on our blog and on Facebook and Twitter.
We’d be honored to have your help spreading the Word. You can participate in lots of ways:
You might remember that Broadman & Holman first began generously offering users of the Bible App™ by YouVersion their Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) for offline use back in November. They have now graciously decided to extend this availability to you…indefinitely. We’re thrilled to share in this opportunity to partner with Broadman & Holman and LifeWay in making God’s Word freely available to you.
What “offline use” means: For several of the versions available through the Bible App, you can only read them when you have access to the Internet or to your data provider. This means that if you’re outside of coverage, you won’t be able to read them. But when you download a version to your device, you can read it anytime, anywhere—whether you’re online or not.
To learn more about the Holman Christian Standard Bible, check out their website. They even offer a useful online tool to help you study your HCSB.
How you can get your HCSB:
iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. All versions display in alphabetical order by language. (You’ll find “Holman Christian Stand…” under EN for English.) Tap the download icon (a green box with a white arrow pointing downward) on the right and follow the instructions.
Android: From the Bible reader, tap the box at the top right that displays the version short code. All available Bible versions display. (You’ll find “Holman Christian Standard…” under English.) Tap the download icon (with an arrow pointing down) on the right.
If you’ve had trouble getting timely assistance for your problems with the Bible App™, you’re not alone. And for that, we would like to sincerely apologize. At YouVersion, we’ve always focused most of our resources on making the Bible as widely available as possible. And because we move so fast, most of our support has traditionally come from our awesome volunteers.
But we want to do more.
We recently realized that we’ve been receiving up to a few hundred support requests every day. Today, we’re addressing that need specifically. We’d like to introduce you to our newest team member, Ben Armstrong, User Support Coordinator for YouVersion. (That’s Ben at the right, hard at work, surfing a tube slide.) Ben will be answering your questions, developing tutorials, writing how-to’s and building out a more comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions list for you.
We’ve always wanted to make the Bible App the best app on your mobile device, whether paid or free. But we’d also like to give you better support than you could get even if you were paying for it. And, we even want to make that happen in all the languages we support.
For those of you who have may have already met Ben during the last week, you know he’s awesome. But Ben won’t be able to do it alone. He’ll need your help. What can you do to help us make YouVersion support fantastic? Here are just a few areas where we already know we could use your assistance:
We’re excited to announce that the Sharif Arabic Bible (SAB) is now available for the Bible App™ and at YouVersion.com! The Sharif Bible is a complete translation of the Bible in Arabic, with special attention given to making the truths of the Gospel accessible to Arab readers.
While we’re thrilled to share this wonderful version with you, we’re even happier that we also get to offer it to you in offline form. This means that if you download it to your mobile device, you can have access to the Sharif Arabic Bible even when you’re not connected to the Internet or to your data provider. (See the instructions below.)
We’re so grateful to the International Sharif Bible Society for making this possible. With more than 1.2 million copies distributed so far, the Sharif Arabic Bible was first published in 1990, then updated in 2000. You can learn more about the Sharif Arabic Bible at www.sharifbible.com. (Note: This site is in Arabic.)
How to Download the SAB
iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. All versions display in alphabetical order by language. (You’ll find the Sharif Arabic Bible under AR for Arabic, near the top.) Tap the download icon (a green box with a white arrow pointing downward) on the right and follow the instructions.
Android: From the Bible reader, tap the top bar, where the current translation is presently displayed. Tap the box at the top right that displays the version short code. All available Bible versions display. (You’ll find the Sharif Arabic Bible under AR for Arabic.) Tap the download icon (with an arrow pointing down) on the right. That’s it!
We honestly cannot tell you how excited we are to share this news with you:
As of this morning, the Bible App™ by YouVersion is listed by Apple as one of the all-time top apps for both iPad and iPhone.
In fact, according to this article at Tech Crunch, on iPad, the Bible App is in the top 10 free apps! And that’s overall, not just in the Reference category where the Bible App is listed.
And the great story just continues on iPhone. Out of more than 300,000 apps, the Bible App is in the top 50 all-time apps on iPhone:
We’d like to say a huge thanks to all of our users who have made this possible. One of the contributing factors to this milestone is that you guys don’t just use our application yourselves, but you freely share it with others. It’s proof positive: When you tell your friends and your loved ones about what you’re learning from the Bible, whether it’s sharing on Facebook or Twitter, or even in face-to-face conversations, you are making a difference.
Of course, what’s most exciting about this news is the visibility that it gives—not to the Bible App or to YouVersion—but to God’s Word. Everything we do at YouVersion is focused on making the inspired Word of God, His Bible, freely accessible to as many people as we possibly can. Achieving this distinction brings us closer to that ultimate goal.
You may remember us asking you back in December to help us out by voting for us in the 2010 Mashable Awards. We just wanted to give you a quick update on the results. Last week, Mashable announced the winners at a special ceremony at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We’d like to congratulate eBuddy, a messaging service who took home the prize for Best Mobile User Experience, the category in which YouVersion was nominated. While we did not win, we were proud to at least be named as a finalist. You can see the full list of winners at Mashable’s website.
We especially wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all of you who participated, for nominating us and especially to those who voted for us!
If you’re reading through the Bible this year—whether on your own or joining us in our challenge to read 1 billion minutes in the Bible App™ during January—have you considered sharing what you’re up to? Jesus said we’re salt and light. When you openly tell others what God is doing in your life, you never know what He’ll do in the lives of those who hear it.
We’re blessed to live in a time where our opportunities to communicate are unprecedented in human history. Just 20 short years ago, if someone told you you’d be reading this blog right now, you wouldn’t even have had a context to understand what they meant.
Here are just a few ways you can share with the Bible App:
Write Notes about what you’re reading. When you mark your Notes as public, you can share what God’s showing you in His Word with everyone using YouVersion.com and the Bible App. (They’re on YouVersion.com, iPad/iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.)
Help your friends install the Bible App on their mobile devices. It’s free! It’s on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, webOS, Java and Symbian.
And here are some other ways you can share:
Encourage your friends to read the Bible (whether in the Bible App or not).
Write about your Reading Plan on your blog. Consider not only covering what you’re reading, but challenging your readers and followers to join you.
Serve as a YouVersion volunteer in one of the many roles we could use help with: proofreading, user support, app testing, design, development, and more. Click here to sign up.
The ways you can share are limited only by your own imagination. Who are you praying for? Who do you know who needs to hear the message of God’s love? You don’t have to give them a hard sell. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar with a theology degree. All you need to know is what God has done in your life…and tell somebody.
Yesterday we talked about the value of telling the people in your life about your goals. Today we’ll talk about taking that even further.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 says, “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him.”
(Good News Translation) Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
(New Living Translation)
We need our friends. YouVersion makes it easy to recruit your friends and family to help you. When you sign up for a Reading Plan, consider taking just a minute to set up progress update emails that can be sent to a friend. (You can send them to yourself, too!):
Check your box if you also want to receive updates.
That’s it! Of course, things happen. If you happen to miss a day, it’s easy to get back on track. Just pick back up where you left off. You can even go to your plan at YouVersion.com and click the “Catch Me Up!” link at the bottom of the page, or go to your plan on your mobile device, view the Plan Info page, and tap the [Catch Me Up] button.
We hope you have a great year diving in to God’s Word!
Today begins many firsts: It’s the first day of 2011. The first day of January. And the first day of the God-sized goal we first shared with you back in November: To see users of the Bible App™ spend at least 1 billion minutes reading the Bible during just the month of January. Will you join us? Studies have shown a huge gap between how many people want to know more about the Bible…and those who actually read it. What about you? Why not make this the year that the Bible becomes a part of your daily life?
We’re ready for you! The Bible App is available on nearly every mobile platform, so you can read, take notes and share what you’re learning with your social networks. We have more Reading Plans than ever (more than 50, with even more on the way)! They’re a great way to walk through the Scriptures.
Here’s specifically what you can do to participate:
Read as much Scripture in the Bible App as you can during January.
(Signing up for a Reading Plan makes it easy.)
Tell your friends about what the YouVersion community is doing. Tweet. Post status updates to Facebook. Write about it on your blog.
Help friends and family install the Bible App on their mobile devices.
Invite people you influence to join the revolution to discover (or rediscover) God’s Word.
Up for a serious challenge? Consider signing up for the Bible in 90 Days. Did you even know you could read the entire Bible in just three months? You can!
We can’t think of a better way to kick off 2011 than to devote ourselves to sharing the Bible, a book we love, with as many people as we can.
2010 was crazy here at YouVersion. God did some astounding things. At the beginning of January, the Bible App™ had been installed on slightly more than 3.1 million unique devices. As 2010 draws to a close, it will have been installed on almost 13 million!
Another number we watch closely is total minutes spent reading the Bible using the Bible App. At the end of December 2009, our users had read just over one billion minutes. While that’s pretty amazing, as of the time of this writing, users have spent just over 4 billion minutes reading with the Bible App. We’ve even invited our users to join us in January 2011 as we try to reach 1 billion minutes in just one month!
2010 saw a more rapid pace of development at YouVersion than we’ve ever experienced before. Here are just 12 snapshots from the year, in chronological order:
January: As YouVersion added almost half a million new mobile users with the Bible App right at the end of 2009, we stumbled out of the gate in early 2010. Our core infrastructure simply couldn’t keep up—especially during peak times on Sundays. Throughout the month of January, we added capacity and scaled up our architecture to lay a firm foundation for sustained growth.
February: For literally hundreds of millions of Java-enabled devices (not necessarily smartphones), YouVersion offered the Bible App for Java-enabled devices. And just as the update of webOS was being bolstered by the Pre and the Pixi, we announced the Bible App for webOS.
April: Although no one even had an iPad yet, we wanted to ensure we’d be able to offerthe Bible App for iPad the first day it was in stores.
July: YouVersion passed the milestone of 2 billion minutes read using the Bible App. Reaching this position midyear would lay the foundation for us to hit more than 4 billion minutes by year’s end.
August: YouVersion began formally offering “Free Bible” pages for those organizations who request them. We wanted to offer partners a way to add value to their existing efforts, while at the same time sharing YouVersion and the Bible App with more people than we could reach on our own.
October: As YouVersion’s Android user base continued to grow, we began offering offline Bible versions for Android users, the result of many publishers kindly making their Bible versions available for download, including HCSB, RVR60, ESV, GNT, CEV, Czech Bible21, and NLT. Anticipating that Windows Phone 7 would represent another large user community, we also formally debuted the Bible App for Windows Phone 7.
Early November: The film The Social Network arrived in theaters, Facebook announced they had passed 500 million users, and YouVersion released the Bible App for Facebook. We continue to develop this app into a richer user experience right inside Facebook.
Mid November: YouVersion hosted a major, live webcast to share some big news: reaching the 10+ million installsmilestone and announcingNotes for YouVersion.com. Our viewers generated so much interest that the webcast even became a Twitter trending topic in the U.S. Shortly after, Notes came to BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Android.
Late November: Because we rolled out new versions on new platforms over time, different requirements for each led to our logo becoming inconsistent. In late November, we consolidated the Bible App logo everywhere to limit confusion among our users.
Mid December: In Apple’s 2010 Rewind, the Bible App™ by YouVersion appeared in iTunes’ Top 10 Free Apps in the Reference category. At one point, the Bible App climbed as high as the number 7 overall free app, passing even the free version of Angry Birds!
As you can see, the end of the year saw a disproportionate spike in news and events, as YouVersion and the Bible App gained momentum on the way into 2011. We’re excited about all the things God is doing, and we can’t wait to see where He takes us together next! We’re happy to offer you the opportunity to take part, whether it’s through the billion-minute challenge, participating in Reading Plans, or in our many volunteer opportunities. Thank you for being a part of YouVersion’s success in 2010!