NEWS RELEASE – VANCOUVER, CANADA – SEPTEMBER 9, 2022
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ELO is pleased to announce that Bobby Gruenewald, Pastor and Innovation Leader, Life.Church, Oklahoma, USA, will speak at the ELO Forum in Vancouver on November 15th, 2022. Bobby is the founder and CEO of the YouVersion Bible App. As one of the leading voices in the church on innovation and the use of technology, he has been featured in The New York Times, TechCrunch, CNN, and more. He received the ELO "Entrepreneurial Leaders Award" at the Forum Toronto in November 2015.
Many people have the YouVersion Bible App on one of their electronic devices—but few people know the fascinating story behind it. Bobby learned valuable lessons along the way with respect to growth and expansion, innovation and creativity, calling and faithfulness. Bobby will speak at the ELO Forum in Vancouver this year on “YouVersion Growth Story Lessons from Launch to 500 Million Downloads.”
The YouVersion Bible App was first launched in 2008, along with Apple's first set of apps. Fast forward to today and the YouVersion Bible App has been downloaded over 500 million times and is growing at 4 million per month. Over the past 17 years a lot of work has been done to build out the app. The app has 2,400 versions of the Bible in 1,800 languages. In English alone there are 60 versions available. Further, many of the languages come with an audio version. Despite all these resources, the app is free (although users have the option to donate). There are no advertisements. There is no premium service or upgrade. As Bobby explains, “their heart has been to stay non commercial.”
The YouVersion Bible App now has a whopping 150 million registered users. Bobby says that he, along with his team, respect individuals’ privacy. “We know their names and their email address—these are people who have opted in.” They try to steward the opportunity carefully. They want to use the data to make the user experience more personal and better. For YouVersion, there is a missional rather than commercial purpose. As Bobby explains, “The role of innovation is to look at how to take the new things we need to do to achieve our mission and look at how to overcome present obstacles.” The need for innovation is the same as in a business, but for a different purpose.
In short, the YouVersion Bible App is a great example of innovation in action within a church context, integrating marketplace leaders and their skills, utilizing collaboration, and focusing clearly on a missional purpose.