(Photo:First Baptist Church of Branson)
"2-Minute Pastor" Neil Franks needs just a little bit of a person's time to inject some biblical truth into them through a smartphone app that allows busy people to still get their daily dose of devotional.
Franks, of the rapidly growing First Baptist Church of Branson, in Branson, Mo., created the 2-Minute Pastor app as a devotional tool for busy folks to connect spiritually through iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Franks provides biblical teachings in 2-minute messages in three categories: videos, essential truths of the Bible and answers to common life questions. The videos are also available in devotional blog format and podcasts. In an already saturated Christian app market, Franks finds his to be one of a kind. "There are very few daily devotional apps that teach by video, all of them are text devotionals only," he told The Christian Post.
"Each devotional has an accompanying Bible verse and truth…everything from losing hope, success, love, motivation to obey God, and all kinds of areas," said Franks. "Essential truths will be Bible truths that you rarely hear a whole sermon on but are essential, such as, why do we trust the Bible and why baptism is important," he added.
The idea to launch the app began last year when along with his associate pastor Terry Brown, who worked over 20 years for Dr. Gary Smalley, a popular Christian marriage and family counselor, they did a search on apps that offered daily video devotionals in both Apple Store and Google Play. They noticed there weren't any and from then on, their idea was conceived. "We are an app-driven world," said Franks. "We realize the trend is that everyone is carrying their communication and information with them 24/7 and the need was clear that someone needed to create an app that connected people spiritually 24/7 as well," he added.
Along their search, they noticed most devotional apps linked users to an associated website with a half-hour video sermon. Their findings concluded that the average person will only watch about two minutes of content, unless it's humorous or creative. Both Franks and Brown designed the 2-minute video concept, which is filmed and edited to aptly suit the smartphone and tablet world.
With over 2,000 downloads in 30 countries, Franks remains busy by filming on his day off to make sure his new project doesn't conflict with the needs of leading and serving his church, which has tripled in attendance over the past six years. "We film at least 10 to 14 videos every Friday so we can stay two weeks ahead and then we load the new videos each Saturday," said Franks. He also added, "With three people working on the videos from writing, filming, editing and updating, the total time is about 30 hours per week."
So far, the response to his app has been positive and just last week he caught the attention of many during the Southern Baptist Convention in Houston, Texas, when he wore a shirt with the "2-Minute Pastor" logo. "I play '2-Minute Pastor' devotionals at the breakfast table and ask the question, 'So how do we apply that today?'" said Franks, recounting what a mother of two told him. In addition, a father told Franks he watches the devotionals "when I am sitting at my kid's track meet and I end up watching the ones I missed."
Franks also hopes his messages can expand beyond phones and tablets in the near future. "One goal is to get "2-Minute Pastor" spots on non-commercial radio stations and we plan to talk to television outlets about showing in their lineup as well," he said.