Makers of YouVersion Plan to Engage Bible-Reading Community

With more than 25,000 users per minute of every day opening up their YouVersion Bible app on their mobile devices, it’s hard to imagine an online community more engaged.

However, a more socially connected group of online Scripture-reading fans is exactly what the app’s co-founders said they want, during a live webcast at Wednesday.

As “#YouVersion” trended worldwide on Twitter during the webcast, pastors and YouVersion co-founders Bobby Gruenewald and Terry Storch released some astounding statistics.

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YouVersion, which began exclusively as an online Bible in September of 2007, is installed as a new application on 52 mobile devices per minute. The number of installations translates to nearly one a second and more than 2 million per month.

“Today we seeing astronomical growth,” Storch said during the webcast. “We are nearing 35 million installs. We are at 34 million today.”

Last year, YouVersion, which also includes Bible reading plans, was available in 22 languages. Storch announced that the Bible on the app is now available in 61 languages. The number of different Bible versions went from 48 to 187 in the last year.

“One of the things that I’m passionate about is our reading plans. It’s kept me on track and we hear from all over the world that people during lunch or waking up in the morning [are] reading God’s word and using our reading plans,” Storch said. “We have over 200 reading plans and are planning on more and more by the end of the year as well.”

The reading plans are powered by 52 partners, he said.

“YouVersion exists because we have great publishing partners and content providers that generously made their Bible text, their reading plans, and devotional content available for all us to be able to use for free on these mobile devices,” Gruenewald said.

YouVersion also released an infographic Wednesday that details YouVersion related statistics, all of which happens as an average inside a minute’s time.

“Our goal is how can we take today’s and tomorrow’s technology and use it to help people really engage with the Bible in a part of their everyday life,” Gruenewald said. “Our focus and emphasis has been on how do we make it easier for people to do what they want to do (with the app). We want people to read the Bible, so how do we make it part of our everyday life.”

Through YouVersion, passages of the Bible are shared on Facebook and Twitter at the rate of 21 times per minute. More than 100 passages are highlighted and 80 are bookmarked per minute.

“It’s absolutely amazing when you think about the amount of engagement that people have with God’s word,” Gruenewald said.

The co-founders also announced a new YouVersion website that is yet to be fully operational that will have a “much more integrated feel” and at the same time stay simple.

“You will be able to connect with other people and be part of a growing community,” Storch said. “Community engagement is the focus that begins now with more that will roll out next year.”

YouVersion plans to help facilitate more of a sense of community by adding a personal profile feature to the application. The launch date for the profile feature has yet to be announced.

“We have hundreds of thousands of people that are actually using YouVersion as a tool to share it with their friends and their social networks,” Gruenewald said. “What’s beginning to happen is there is conversation that is taking place where people will hear a passage and share it on Facebook (for example).”, based in Edmond, Okla., is known for taking unconventional approaches to ministry by developing technology and leveraging Web-based tools to share the Gospel. Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of the church that was launched in 1996.

The church meets in more than a dozen locations around the United States and globally online.

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