It Starts with 100 Million

Bobby Gruenewald | June 11, 2013

It’s a crazy time we live in, isn’t it?

You have more computing power on your mobile phone than what it took to send humans to the moon.

You have access to the most information ever amassed in human history, and it’s right at your fingertips.

Your words can span thousands of miles within milliseconds instead of days or weeks.

You don’t even have to stop and ask for directions anymore.

It’s phenomenal to think about where we are in the timeline of human history. More people are alive than ever before, and at the same time, we have this amazing technology that knits us together.

All of this isn’t an accident. God could have placed us here on earth at any time in history but he chose us to place us here, now. We’re here for a purpose and that purpose carries significant responsibility.

It was with this sense of urgency back in 2006 that I started thinking about the abundance of technology tools popping up everywhere. Facebook was in its infancy, YouTube and Flickr were creating completely new ways to share video and photos, and blogs were being started at the astonishing rate of nearly two per second.

So I wondered: if the printing press revolutionized our access to Scripture, what could happen now that everyone had their own printing press? Could we leverage this technology to transform the way our generation engaged with God’s Word?

That question was the beginning of a journey we never could have envisioned. We went from the modest beginning of the YouVersion.com website (introduced at Catalyst 2007, by the way) to a mobile app that has been installed on 96 million mobile devices in hundreds of languages around the world. YouVersion has grown to become a coalition of publishers, partners, pastors, churches, and Bible societies who have joined forces to help this world engage with God’s Word.

Today, we sit on the cusp of a significant milestone. The Bible App has the potential to reach 100 million installs by our fifth anniversary on July 10 (which also happens to be the fifth anniversary of Apple’s App Store). But it’s going to take an extraordinary effort to make this happen, so we’re calling on all of our friends and community to be part. You can help the Bible App reach 100 million by sharing it with the people in your life.

And while 100 million sounds like a lot, we know it’s nowhere close to what’s possible. In fact, we like to say it starts with 100 million. Our faith has expanded to believe that Bible engagement could be transformed not only for this generation, but generations to come.

YouVersion is just a picture of what God is doing through the capital C Church. We hear story after story of God at work, and we know He is just getting started.

So let’s contrast this with all the data pointing to an increasingly secular world. We continue to hear of new research that reveals declining numbers of millenials calling themselves Christians or going to church …and yet, I’m actually more encouraged than ever.

It’s not wild idealism. When hope seems to be in short supply, it’s the best time for God to show himself as the true source of hope.

If everyone in the world were a Christ follower, then why would we need these new tools? God knew this time was coming, and He put us here so He could work through us. Not so we can be the heroes, but so He can.

I don’t think it’s any accident that a church in Oklahoma City is where God chose YouVersion to come from. It wasn’t in Silicon Valley at a well-funded startup, but in an unlikely place with unqualified people. It only makes sense with God.

People didn’t expect the Savior of the world to be born in such humble surroundings. God loves these contrasts because they always point to Him.

What kinds of only-with-God things could come about through your life and your ministry? Each of us in this unique time in history has been given gifts, resources, and relationships that we must use for His glory.

We can’t look at our potential through the lens of what we can do on our own power. That’s not how the truly big things happen.

The big things happen when God steps in. He stands ready to do more in us and through us than we can ask or imagine.

He’s just getting started.

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