A couple of weeks ago, David Blake contacted me via Facebook to tell me the inspiring and encouraging story of how he is using God’s technology for God’s glory. I asked David to write his story and here it is.Since my ‘second conversion’ – the one from PC to Mac – I’ve been intrigued by the way that Apple are always breaking new ground. As a result I became a follower of all things Mac, and in particular their ‘apps’ for iPhone and iPads. So last October I set myself a challenge to write an app. Up until then I had never possessed an iPhone or iPad and I can honestly say that the mobile phone scene had passed me by. The number of text messages I had ever sent up until then could be counted on about half the fingers of my left hand and if you had asked me for my mobile phone number I could not have given it to you. Phones were for my emergency use only. So writing an app for an iPhone was a pretty tall challenge. Three weeks later I submitted my app to the Apple store for their approval and about 8 days later it was approved and went ‘live’. So what has all this got to do with serving the Lord? Well the first app I chose to develop was something akin to an ebook and since there are plenty of apps of books around I figured that this fitted well with my ideas. My first app was Psalm 1 with four accompanying commentaries. The user can read the Psalm, select any verse from the commentaries and additionally make their own notes. To this I added a link out to SermonAudio. About 4 or 5 days after it went live I happened to look at the downlaod statistics which Apple can track, along with country and city. I was amazed to see that in a few days, with no advertising or promotion of any kind, that this app had been downloaded nearly 75 times. As of today, some 9 weeks later, there have been more than 550 downloads from 51 countries and 299 cities – again with no promotion whatsoever. The app is free to download. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Japan, Ethiopia, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, India to name but a few as well as the US and many European countries. As soon as I began to see what was happening I decided to make the offer of 2 booklets free of charge – ‘How can I find God today? and ‘How can I become a real Christian?’. This has resulted in a steady stream of requests and I can use this opportunity to write to the user and send them the free literature. Having their contact details will also allow me to keep in touch with them if they so wish. One of the most encouraging requests was from a lady in the US who wanted to know if I could supply her with 50 copies each of these two booklets for her outreach work. Bulk orders! I have since created apps for Psalm 2 and 3 and these are attracting similar attention – please don’t ask what I will do with Psalm 119 – that will be a real challenge!! I have just completed an app specifically aimed at seekers, atheists, cults and Muslims and that should go live a few weeks time. It is linked to an established website and ministry here in the UK and includes video and audio material. The apps will run on iPhones and iPads and I have since converted them to run on the Android platform. Thus the complete smartphone and iPad market is covered. So what started out as a bit of a personal challenge has developed into a little outreach ministry and has opened my eyes the potential of how technology can be used for the spreading of the Word. It may be that many of the users are the Lord’s people, but that doesn’t matter, if it helps to build the Lord’s people up in their faith then that is a great goal to work for. However, since these booklets are being requested it leads me to think that there are seekers out there who are downloading it. I see this as no different to standing on the street corner handing out Christian literature, except that here the world is passing by and which one of would ever have the opportunity of reaching into some of the countries mentioned above. Plus, I capture their contact details, not the easiest thing to to do on the street corner. Needless to say I now have more ideas than I can possibly cope with. I would value any thoughts you may have on how this work could be developed and of course your prayers, especially that I would not be deflected from the work I have to do in my local church with outreach and among the young people. It is so easy to let technology become an idol as opposed to an effective tool in the service of our Lord.
The iphone/iPad download can be found here and the Android www.androlib.com/android.application.com-databeuro-psalm1-zjwnw.aspx” target=”_blank”>here. Searching in Google under Psalm 1 app will bring various store links up in the top 3 or 4David is a member of Westoning Baptist Church. He lives in the heart of Bunyan country – the oak tree he preached from is just a few yards along the road and he was arrested about a mile away. If you wish to contact him about this work his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org