Finding Faith in the Cloud
For a majority of history, God's Word was only available on paper within the bounds of two leather covers. In recent decades, however, with the explosion in popularity of tablet and mobile devices and smartphones, digital versions of Scripture have been jumping into cyberspace. Pastors approach pulpits toting iPads instead of Bibles, and the need for power outlets at spiritual retreats have increased in necessity.
As church attendance and religious affiliation has decreased, smartphone and tablet use has increased exponentially. To date, more than 100 million people have installed the YouVersion Bible application on their smartphones and tablets worldwide. The emerging $25 billion app industry hosts thousands of topical Bible plans, and YouVersion leads users through studies including "Compassion and Justice," "Stepping Out In Faith," "Joy," and more, to studies hosted by Bible teachers and musicians including Joyce Meyer, Darlene Zschech, the Newsboys, and more.
Though many of these are studies tailored to individual participation, a group of women launched a community-focused YouVersion study called "She Reads Truth" in May 2012.
"The Christian life is personal, but it's not private," She Reads Truth's co-founder Raechel Myers says. "True gospel transformation is going to take place when we share our struggles and what God is doing in our lives."
The study is tailored to women seeking accountability in digital communities worldwide, and rotates through a variety of topical studies throughout the year based on user request and demand. More than 20,000 women have engaged with She Reads Truth's studies including the Book of Hosea, "Songs of Ascent," "Prayer in the Bible," and more.
"The reading plans have been great to get me into a daily habit of spending time in God's Word," stay-at-home-mom Elizabeth Piasecki says. "Now it's more something I look forward to, and not something I do 'because I should.'"
In addition to providing a downloadable YouVersion app, "She Reads Truth" offers users a daily blog written by one of several contributors as well as active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She Reads Truth also sells merchandise: personalized journals and pens.
"I found their study on YouVersion and am obsessed with the content, layout, and how close it's bringing me to Christ," 20-something user Bridgette Wells says. "It's laced with conviction and teaching all at once."
Allison J. Althoff is Today's Christian Woman's online editor. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.