Page 1 | March 2016




Steve Hewitt





Crystina Lindoerfer

200 Million Installs Later To reach people you’ve never reached, you’ve got to do things you’ve never done.” That passion for evangelism and willingness to explore and leverage technology led Life.Church to create one of the most downloaded and used Bible apps ever. By Russ McGuire


Yvon Prehn Beka Johnson Russ McGuire Jonathan Smith Steven Sundermeier Kevin Purcell COPY EDITOR

Rachael Mitchell OUTREACH INC.

5550 Tech Center Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (800) 991-6011





At the end of the day, God knows more about you than your phone does.


Bobby Gruenewald shares the story of YouVersion.

10 THE APPLE AND THE FALL Apple and the FBI—What you need to know.

What’s the Best Communication Channel In the Church Today?

5 Great iPhone and iPad Bible Apps You’ve Never Heard Of.




You know the stat—20% of the people in your church do 80% of the giving. Here’s how Sojourn Heights Church in Houston, TX got 90% of their church giving

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EDITOR Technology, Privacy and the Church It seems everyone is chiming in with an opinion about the conflict between Apple and the FBI breaking into a phone that belonged to a terrorist. The FBI wants to know who the terrorist talked to, what pictures he might have on his phone, as well as other data that might help them in their investigation. Social Media giants such as Facebook and Twitter side with Apple, while technology founders like Bill Gates side with the FBI. The most important thing to remember in this debate is that only God knows more about you than your smart phone. Your smart phone IS a reflection of your entire life. What do you do with your time? Who do you connect with? Where do you go, and how long were you there? What do you search for on the Internet, and what sites do you visit? Law enforcement has used the information on smart phones to convict people of crimes. And, in many cases, law enforcement and government agencies have used ping tower data to devise a person’s location even without obtaining the actual phone. Apps and games offer services and entertainment for free, because they can track you and sell the data and make more money than they could from the sale of the actual app! With invasion of privacy taking place at this scale, isn’t it amazing that no one has come up with an app, or a service, that church members would voluntarily use to allow their church to track their attendance. As you attend church you wouldn’t need to “check in” or take attendance, your presence (or at least that of your smart phone) would provide a record of your attendance. Such information is incredibly powerful, as churches would note when an active member had gone inactive. Yet, such a product has never been created because as the church, we don’t want to invade anyone’s privacy. Everyone else in the world has done so at this point. It seems the good guys come in last again. Together We Serve Him,

Steve Hewitt


4 | March 2016


STARTUP By Russ McGuire


n this article series, we’ve defined a Christian entrepreneur as: a person, driven to glorify God in all he does, and ruled by the Word of God, who starts a new venture and is willing to risk a loss in order to achieve the success of the venture. Each month I’ve been introducing you to specific Christian startups and entrepreneurs, some of which may be helpful to your church, ministry, business, or family, but my main intent is to encourage and inspire you to be entrepreneurial in your ministry and career. One of the most successful church-based entrepreneurial efforts has been the YouVersion Bible App developed by Life.Church, which recently celebrated having been installed 200 million times! I recently caught up with Bobby Gruenewald, Innovation Leader at Life.Church, and I hope you’ll find our discussion informative and inspiring. | March 2016

MinistryTech: Bobby, before you joined the Life.Church team, you were already an entrepreneur. Tell me briefly about those previous startups. Do you think your faith had an impact on how you built and ran those companies or how you interacted with other entrepreneurs? Bobby Gruenewald My first startup was a web hosting company I started in college. With customers in 33 countries, it provided a huge learning curve of what it meant to be an international company, all while operating from a dorm room. After selling that company, a business partner and I acquired the largest professional wrestling website. It was during a time when Wall Street and others were valuing niche content. Our goal was to grow it rapidly and sell it, which we did in late 1999. I probably could have done more to bring my faith into those companies, but I was very young and didn’t have a good sense for how to make that con-

nection. I did do my best to lead with integrity and honor Christ. But those companies definitely had an impact on my faith. God used those experiences to grow and develop me as a leader, and also helped me see firsthand the power of online community. Later on, as I started getting more involved in leading at our church, I wondered how we could leverage that same technology to help people build online relationships with Christ at the center. That was the seed for what eventually became Church Online. I’m thankful I get to spend my days applying what I learned in the business world to what we do here in the church.


I was serving at Life.Church during my startup years, and eventually began helping with our technology needs. After a while, I realized my passion for the Church had eclipsed my passion for business. I knew God was calling me into ministry and I was blessed to have a chance to join the staff in 2001. And as much as I find the work of the Church even more exciting than technology startups, it isn’t about being where the most fun or excitement is. It’s about being where God has called you. I know with confidence that this is where God has placed me.

MT Why would you walk away from the exciting world of technology startups to become part of a church leadership team?

MT Tell me how innovation at the church evolved after you joined. What were the first technology innovation ideas that you introduced to the church leadership team and how did they respond?

BG When I started studying business in college, no one thought I would end up in ministry, including me. But

BG There was actually quite a bit of innovation already happening, just not much in the way of technology. We like

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6 | March 2016

to say that we’ll do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ. And to reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing. That evangelistic passion and willingness to try new things has been in place from our earliest days as a church. When I joined the team, my initial responsibilities covered the technology basics. From there, my role pretty quickly broadened to include our web presence. It was the early 2000s, and churches were still figuring out what to do online. We decided to make all of our message content available via video streaming. Then we began to experiment with adding interactive elements—giving people a way to follow along with notes and fill in blanks, similar to what you’d do in a physical environment. Around that same time, I was helping with our efforts to go multi-site. Much of my focus was on how we leveraged technology to make it work, things like getting a satellite established and distributing our video feed over a network. MT How do you think God has specifically used your entrepreneurial nature and startup experiences to advance the Gospel and impact the world for His glory? BG The key is the “who”…how has God used my background to advance the Gospel. I look back on those eclectic experiences and realize they’ve all been part of a strategic journey God has had me on. He doesn’t waste any of our past—he’ll leverage every bit of it. Church Online, YouVersion, and other initiatives were inspired by ideas and connections from my past entrepreneurial experiences. Even the speed at which I got used to operating in those startups has influenced the way I approach projects here at the church. I take no credit for it—it’s all the way God has used me. MT What is different between launching a technology startup outside the church and launching innovative startup ministries inside the church?

BG Not a lot. Some of the variables are different: how you measure the ROI [Return On Investment] and your business model for what economic sustainability looks like. But for the most part, a lot of principles you’d see in a tech startup apply in the church as well. You still have to create a great experience for your audience and they still have to connect with what you’re offering. Moving quickly, applying strategy, be-

ing responsive…those concepts apply inside or outside of the church. MT Many of our readers are technology leaders at their church, but very few have had startup experiences. What advice would you have for them if they have an innovative idea that they want to implement within the typical constraints of a church - limited resources (including funding), well established

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traditions, and often risk averse church leadership? BG My advice is if someone is trying to start something… 1. Depending on their role and position of leadership, it’s important that the idea fits within the vision of the church. If it’s outside the vision and passion of their leaders, it’ll be a challenge. It has to be consistent with the vision, or at least has to have the blessing of leadership. That’s been our approach with innovation efforts at Life.Church, and that’s why it’s been sustainable and healthy for us to pursue them. 2. Constraints can drive great innovation. God will bring His resource to His vision. You have to step into it in faith. You might not be able to see how you’ll get from point A to point Z, but if you have enough resources to get to point B, you have to trust that God will provide the right ideas to continue when you get there. 3. Don’t hold it tightly. If God’s given you this idea, it’s His, not yours. If it doesn’t work or connect, that’s okay. Sometimes that will lead you to a place God hasn’t shown you yet and sometimes it will fail. You have to be willing to fail and be willing for it to not work out. MT YouVersion has been an amazing success. When you first started working on it, did you imagine that it could have the kind of global impact that it has? BG God has done infinitely more with YouVersion than we could have ever imagined. Most people think of YouVersion as an app, and what most people don’t realize is that it started as a website. And the reason no one knows that is because hardly anyone used that website…so much so that we were about ready to shut it down. It didn’t seem like it was worth keeping it going. But as a last ditch effort, we decided to make a few changes to the site so we could view it on our phones. And when we did, we noticed we were engaging

in the Bible more because it was on a device we had with us everywhere we went. We naturally began to read and engage in the Bible so much more. At that same time, Apple announced that they were opening up the App Store. We wondered, “What if we could have the Bible be among the very first apps in the App Store?” And that’s exactly what happened in July 2008. The Bible App was one of the first 200 apps in the App Store, and what we saw after that was amazing. In three short days, we saw 83,000 people install the app on their iPhone. And as much as our jaws dropped then, we had no idea what God had in store. The Bible App has now been installed on over 200 million devices in every single country on the planet. MT Did it take much in terms of resources to launch and was it a tough internal sale? BG We had scraped together a small amount of money to hire contractors to build the initial website. At best, it was enough to get a proof of concept together. We started with a fixed, very small amount. When we started YouVersion, we had a track record of creating some technology tools that had worked, so we had a reasonable amount of equity. It was all done with the blessing of our leadership team MT Did you use LEAN methods in launching YouVersion? If so, can you share some of the key elements of that? (Getting out of the building, MVP, hypotheses in business model canvas boxes that went through significant


iterations/pivots, etc.) BG Not on purpose :-) Yes, some of those methods were used, but not because we read about them or studied them. It was more a matter of necessity and experience as we figured out what worked and what didn’t work. For example, we probably used an MVP approach not because we knew what we were doing, but because it was all we could do at the time. Today we have a more experienced team and more sophisticated processes, but back then we were flying by the seat of our pants and didn’t have the opportunity to set up formal processes. MT Other than YouVersion, are there any “startups” within Life.Church of which you are particularly proud? BG I’m proud of all of our teams. Of those with a tech nature, Church Online is one. It’s amazing to see the reach we’re able to have as we minister to people across the globe. Another one is what we call our Church to Church team, which creates multiple products to serve other churches, all for free. They operate much like a startup. Their products tend to have less visibility than some of our other efforts because they serve a smaller market. But they’re incredibly significant because of their impact and what they do to serve the Kingdom. MT Thanks Bobby for giving us a great example of innovation and entrepreneurship within a church. It’s my hope and prayer that God will use your example to inspire our readers to impact the world for the glory of God, just as Life.Church continues to do.

Russ McGuire is a trusted advisor with proven strategic insights. He has been blessed by God in many ways including serving as a corporate executive, co-founding technology startups, and writing a technology/business book. More importantly, he’s a husband and father who cares about people, and he’s a committed Christian who seeks to honor God in all that he does. His newest venture is as Entrepreneur in Residence at Oklahoma Christian University.

8 | March 2016

By Beka Johnson


ojourn Heights in Houston, TX is just a small neighborhood church, but they’re making a big impact on the world.

At Pushpay, we hear stories all the time about how our giving platform is changing lives and helping to build and grow churches throughout the world. Some stories are just too good not to share. This story about Sojourn Houston is no exception. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Drew Knowles of Sojourn, a family of neighborhood churches in Houston, Texas, and I asked him to tell me a little bit about their churches, their work, and how their transition to Pushpay has impacted their ministry. I was blown away by what I heard. About Sojourn Heights Sojourn Houston, which is part of the Acts 29 Network, planted their first neighborhood church, Sojourn Heights, in 2010. Since then, they’ve planted one more neighborhood church in Houston, Sojourn Montrose, and they’ll launch Sojourn Galleria in October. Their philosophy mirrors a growing trend in the church planting world, which is to establish smaller neighborhood churches around the city rather than investing in one big megachurch. They do this to meet the specific needs of each neighborhood and because

this low-to-the ground method doesn’t require a lot of overhead or staffing. That means a good portion of giving can actually go right back into church planting in the Houston area and beyond. Transitioning to Pushpay A few years ago, Sojourn switched over to MAG Bookkeeping, because they needed a bookkeeping solution that could grow with them. And MAG, in turn, recommended Pushpay as a mobile giving solution they could trust. Sojourn Heights, their first church, made the switch to Pushpay in November of 2014, just in time for the year-end giving push. And in 2014, with the help of Pushpay, they ended up surpassing their year-end goal. And in 2015, nearly every month their giving has increased $20K-$40K over their 2014 numbers. Of course, what’s really important to note is this giving increase came with no significant rise in church attendance. According to Drew, “It’s not like the church exploded. It was really the same number of people, but giving increased by that much.” Just goes to show how important it can be to have a tool in place that simplifies the giving process. | March 2016 Secret to Success When I asked Drew what he thought made this transition successful for them, he immediately mentioned both the church’s commitment to church planting and the opportunity to easily set up recurring giving. A Predictable Budget At Sojourn Heights, one of the primary goals is church planting both locally and around the world. Currently the church gives 15% of its annual budget to support the establishment of local churches as well as a group of churches in Italy. The congregation is committed to supporting this important work, and one of the best ways they realized they could plan ahead and be good stewards as a church was by setting up a very consistent and predictable budget through recurring giving. As a young, urban church, switch-

ing to mobile giving was easy. Currently, 90% of the congregation is giving, and 97% of givers are giving through the Pushpay app; a significant percentage of the congregation has also set up recurring giving. This is a huge deal considering we live in an era where 20% of the church generally does 80% of the giving. 90% participation? That’s amazing, right? An Extra 10% The addition of this predictable monthly budget has allowed the church to set aside not just 15% but 25% of their annual budget for church planting in 2016, and they’re so excited about being able to pour this additional 10% into building the kingdom. Final Thoughts When I asked him for any final words, this is what he told me, I love the startup vibe I get from Pushpay and the commitment


they make to software updates. They’re really listening to customers and doing what they ask. In the internet age that’s what you’re looking for in any sort of online solution, but especially online giving. If Pushpay isn’t going to adapt to the times, it’s not a platform worth having a decade from now. What I love about Pushpay is that I’m confident it will. That is what I love about Pushpay, too. About Beka Johnson Beka is the Inbound Marketing Coordinator at Pushpay and eChurch Giving. In her spare time, you can find her reading, writing, crafting, creating, and thinking up ways to make good things better.

10 | March 2016

The Apple and the Fall By Jonathan Smith


he recent developments with the FBI demanding that Apple help them gain access to the iPhone of a terrorist has really gotten a lot of people thinking. Terrorists are deplorable and we should do all we can to capture them and prevent acts of terrorism from occurring. But what does it mean to do all we can to prevent all acts of terrorism from occurring? While everyone agrees terrorists must be stopped there is great debate over how we stop them. Do the ends justify the means? I see both sides of this issue. On the one hand Apple (and other tech companies) have done their best as of late to convince their customers that their data is safe – thank you Mr. Snowden. They have worked hard to make sure when we use their devices that our personal information, our private communications, and everything else that makes up our data is secure and only accessible to the owner of the data. In the analog world this would be the safety deposit box in a steal vault at the bank. It is designed to keep everyone out except those who have access privileges. On the other hand, the government is charged with keeping the people safe and wants to do everything possible to prosecute acts of terrorism and prevent future acts from occurring. To do that, they have the ability to obtain warrants and gain access to personal

property and information to help solve and prevent crime. In the analog days this would be getting a warrant and forcing the bank to open steel vault and then open the safety deposit box. But what happens when all of this becomes digital? What happens when the steel vault is an encryption algorithm and the safety deposit box is an iPhone and the individual holding the key is deceased after committing a horrible crime impacting many innocent lives? In the analog world, we could easily figure out a way to get into the vault and safety deposit box. It might take a while but it can be done – as evidenced by several recent high profile thefts from thieves breaking into super secure vaults to steal money and jewelry. In the digital world though, it isn’t as easy. We can’t just drill | March 2016

through yards of concrete or blow the door off. There is no concrete and there is no door. Because of the divide between the digital world and analog world the government is now asking, through the FBI, that Apple provide a way into the phone. Apple is refusing. The government needs Apple because the tools of the analog world won’t work here. They need the creator of the device to help them access it. If this situation has done nothing else, it has pointed out that our laws and legal system are far too outdated to handle these situations. The law the government is using as their reason why Apple should help them is the All Writs Act from 1789, signed into law by George Washington. While this law was amended in 1948 and 1949 (still well before the digital age) there is a great deal of question as to its application based on a Supreme Court case in 1977 where the government wanted help tracing phone calls. The amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about this event is amazing. While on the surface the request may appear simple enough, the consequences are tremendous. Should Apple, or any tech company for that matter, have to create and then secure a backdoor into their software? I know many are debating the semantics of the request but the bottom line is they are asking for something that doesn’t exists and would have to be destroyed or protected after it was created.

This reminds me of another time in our history when the US government needed technology and science to help them bring a World War to an end. The Manhattan Project ran from 19421946 and was tasked with creating a super weapon to help end World War II. The weapon did not exist but was possible in theory. If they succeeded the consequences would change the path of the planet but success came with a price. Yes, the war was brought to a quick conclusion without having to invade Japan, simultaneously saving thousands of lives and putting millions more in jeopardy. As a result, the US and its allies have spent every day since trying to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands. The world would also come to the brink of nuclear destruction as a result of the Cold War that followed. Apple is being asked to create special access to bypass the security on an iPhone that doesn’t exist today. If they create it, and it leaks out then what? Those “bad actors” would certainly get in line to get access to the ability to gain access to phones around the world. Just like the Manhattan Project the results of creating such a tool could change the course of the planet. But what does all of this mean to us? The nation is clearly divided on this issue and I find myself agreeing with people I rarely agree with and on the opposite side from those with which I would typically align. First, the solution to terrorism

Jonathan Smith is the Director of Technology at Faith Ministries in Lafayette, IN. You can reach Jonathan at jsmith@faithlafayette. org and also follow him on Twitter @ JonathanESmith.


is not hacking an iPhone, the solution is Jesus Christ. Only by believing and trusting in Him can people change and “bad actors” can become citizens of heaven. Second, Romans 13:1-7 provides a view of how Christians should relate to their government. Does that mean if this case reaches the Supreme Court and a ruling is rendered that we must abide by it? Third, God calls all of us to participate in our government and to be good citizens. That includes voting, paying taxes, and taking part in discussion with our government officials – including discussions about balancing our security with our privacy. Ben Franklin said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” While this quote has been ripped out of context I think the principle he is referring to applies to what we are facing now. Each one of us has to decide. I know many who would happily give up some privacy in order to be more secure. I know many who abhor that idea. Whatever you believe, I hope that you will take this opportunity to get involved. Our government is going to have to figure this out and they will need our help to do it. Politicians are not software engineers or encryption specialists and engineers and encryption specialists are not politicians. Pray for our elected officials and participate in the privilege that is our democracy.

For more information on The Church IT Network please visit, follow on Twitter @CITRT and join the conversation using the hashtag #CITRT.

12 | March 2016

Ministry Communication By Yvon Prehn

What’s the Best Communication Channel In the Church Today? | March 2016



Ministry Communication

e have so many choices today when it comes to church communication—the web, email, social media, podcasting, and of course print. People constantly ask and debate in church staff meetings, which is the BEST one? When overwhelmed with channel choices, it is natural to want to narrow it down to one or two that will be effective, but unfortunately that is impossible. Today, to be an effective church communicator, you have to use every channel available to you. Here’s why. . . It is the time of both/and, not either /or No one channel will work for everyone because people aren’t any more alike in their communication preferences and uses than they are in other areas of likes and dislikes. Some folks love to go online; others don’t have a computer, or use it rarely. Some love words; others prefer

images and videos. Some love to listen to podcasts; others don’t have any idea what a podcast is. Some text continuously on their mobile phones, some think texting is incredibly rude and a sign of the breakdown of social interaction. Some are addicted to the latest social media; some won’t read anything that isn’t on paper. What makes this incredibly challenging is that ALL of

14 | March 2016

Ministry Communication the people just mentioned go to your church and are part of the body of Christ. We can’t simply pick out one way to communicate because the Lord has put us into a body of wonderfully diverse people and outreach opportunities and it is our responsibility to create communications that are useful for all of them. We can’t just pick one channel. We can’t say print is better, or the web is better, or that social media is either an abomination or the best thing that ever happened to church communications because what is best for one person or group isn’t the best for everyone—and these preferences are not always age-related. Boomers invented the Internet and some younger people can’t type on a keyboard. It’s a time of both/and—we can’t do away with any channel, we must keep adding channels to continue to serve all the people God has given us. We are called to serve, not to be served There is a human tendency to always forget that we are servants, called to imitate a master who washed feet, touched lepers, and ultimately died for his followers.

It’s a given that church communicators are overworked, underpaid, stressed out and can’t begin to do all that needs to be done. At the same time, we must always be careful that our attitude is one of humble service and thinking of the needs of others first. Yes, it can be a huge amount of additional work to create a printed newsletter, label it and mail it out to a handful of people in the church who are home-bound and don’t go online, but we serve a Savior who went after one little sheep and to whom the widows and the poor (perhaps technologically poor) are a big concern. I believe the Lord is pleased when we take the time to remember to communicate in a way that serves “the least of these” in the church. We are living in a time of great communication transition We need to keep this transition time in mind as we consider the various channels of church communication. A few hundred years from now, things may settle down a bit and everyone will perhaps receive messages beamed wirelessly into their brain stem in a way that can be

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Ministry Communication turned on and off with the blink of an eye, but right now we are in the midst of the biggest communication revolution in the history of humanity and this revolution floods us with communication options of every kind. Here are two practical suggestions to keep in mind as you live through it: 1. Track your responses to changes in communication channels Your opinion as to what is best in communication channels is simply that—your opinion. You have no idea how a particular communication channel will work in your church until you test it WITH YOUR PEOPLE. What works with your people, may or may not be what works in other churches. You don’t know unless you TRACK RESPONSE. Don’t just ask people what they like, track to see if a new method or channel actually gets people to respond. Be objective. Record the numbers of what you communicated, how many times and through what channel. Then record response. No matter how incredible your new idea is if attendance drops significantly at an event or ministry, your new communication isn’t successful. That doesn’t mean you quit doing it—but don’t rely on it alone or quit doing what you’ve done in the past. 2. Don’t take yourself or your decisions too seriously Have fun as you try new channels. Experiment, see how people respond, and ask them to join you in the experiment of new communication methods. Never belittle, make fun of, or look down on people who don’t use or prefer the same communication channels you do—that is not loving nor is it worthy of a servant of Jesus. If people don’t know how to use a social media channel you prefer at church, have some teaching or demonstration sessions; educate people as to why you are trying this ( for outreach or other reasons) and invite their involvement. Finally. . . Remember, at any time Jesus could raise up the stones in the parking lot to praise him and communicate far better than we can ever imagine. Communicating in the church today is a demanding, tiring task, but never forget, eternal destinies will be changed because of the work you do. Whatever channel

or channels bring people to know Jesus as Savior and grow to mature discipleship—always look for what helps bring those results and you’ll find the best communication channels for your church. For more from Yvon Prehn on Effective Church Communications that helps your church fully fulfill the Great Commission, go to: http://www.

16 | March 2016


By Nick Nicholaou

By Kevin Purcell


ost iPhone and iPad users know all about popular Bible apps, like the most popular Bible app of all from YouVersion/LifeChurch, or other bigname Bible apps from Logos, Olive Tree, Accordance and PocketBible. Search the iTunes App Store for “Bible” and you’ll find thousands of apps. | March 2016


HIGHER POWER We’ve got 5 great iPhone or iPad Bible-related apps that you may not know about. These don’t always show you the text of the Bible, while some do. They offer features that benefit digital Bible students and believers. Most of the iPad and iPhone apps that show up under a search for “Bible” do little more than show the text of public domain Bibles or one or two popular modern translations. Few of them look attractive. So we waded through the cruft to find the gems and here’s the list of 5 apps you should check out. Most of them come free or have a freemium model (download the app and then pay for in-app purchased content).

about It runs on the iPad and iPhone and offers over 100 Bible maps from various Biblical Kingdoms to Paul’s missionary journeys. Go to the company’s website to see some of them and even download the maps to your computer.

Manna Bible Maps Most Bible apps come with some nice maps. However, Manna Bible Maps gives the user a little more because that’s the focus of the app. Learn more The maps look better than most of the maps included


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18 | March 2016

HIGHER POWER in popular Bible apps. The app costs nothing to download and try, but to get the full collection of maps you’ll pay $5.99 in the app or you can just buy a smaller collection for a buck or two. That’s a bargain for the number and quality of these maps. Get the app in the store at com/us/app/bible-maps-plus/ id669051292?ls=1&mt=8. Tap the Info button in the upper right corner of the app to get information about the displayed map. The Save button lets users send it via email or save it to the camera roll. After that you can import it into a presentation or mark it up for teaching or personal edification.

The app also includes The Jesus Film, plus bookmarks, notes and highlights that sync with their servers so you can keep them on both an iPad and iPhone. Bible.IS also produces two more apps. The first is one for kids ( com/us/app/ id890527353?mt=8). The kids Bible has illustrated stories, audio Bibles focused on kids, and some games. Finally, the Bible. IS Deaf Bible (https://itunes. id567788508?ls=1&mt=8) shows the Bible in text and sign language The iPhone and iPad app includes with videos of people signing the over 600 languages of the Bible for Bible passages instead of reading reading. In English we get audio them out loud. Bibles in both dramatized reading Daily Bible Inspirations and non-dramatized reading form. The Daily Bible Inspirations app In other words the reader puts by Joyverse comes free with a feeling into the dramatized form, Bible.IS $1.99 in-app purchase to remove but the non-dramatized form is the unobtrusive ads. The app Bible.IS displays the biblical somewhat wooden. text of multiple translations in a Open the app and pick your puts an inspirational verse on top huge selection of languages from language and then in English pick of a beautiful image that users can enjoy themselves or share around the world. It also reads the the audio form you prefer. You with others using the iOS sharing translation in a natural language can change this at a later date. In feature. Just slide from right to left recording with either dramatized English they’ve got ESV, KJV, NAB, to scroll horizontally through the versions or more wooden non- NIV (Anglicized), 1986 NLV and verses. A reminder will ask the user to see a daily verse and image. dramatized versions instead WEB audio Bibles. of using a computer generated voice. Learn more about the app at It comes with apps on most platforms including iPhone and iPad. Roku and Amazon Fire TV users can even get one. Bible.IS is a ministry of Faith Comes By Hearing (https://www. | March 2016


HIGHER POWER Unfortunately, the app only offers the KJV, WEB and a few international language versions. I wish they’d let me buy my favorite modern translation. The app also offers a Sunday devotional. It’s only on Sunday as a trial for now. If it becomes popular Joyverse hopes to add devotions more often. Tap the Favorites button (the star in the lower right corner) to save that verse/image. The share button lets users send the image and verse to things like Facebook or Twitter or to save it to their phone or iPad storage. The app follows the Southern Baptist Hymnal produced by Glo Bible The Glo Bible is primarily a Bible reader app with great notes and book intros, but it offers more than typical Bible readers. It’s not an advanced research tool, but focuses on the average Bible reader.

The multimedia content sets Glo Bible apart. The app offers four sections starting with the Bible. It includes beautiful maps in the Atlas section. There’s a lot of great content in the Media section including photos of sites in the Holy Land or other Biblical sites. Virtual tours of the temple bring the pages of the Pentateuch to life. Users can follow steps of Jesus in the video section with videos about the Birth and Crucifixion. Glo looks beautiful while showing off some great visual content. It also syncs users notes, bookmarks and journals seen in the Me section. The in-app store offers some other content, like study Bibles. People who own the desktop app can log into the app and get a lot of the premium content unlocked on the app. Baptist Hymnal Don’t let the “Baptist” part bother you. This great digital hymnal holds a large database of wonderful Christian hymns. It includes over 200 hymns in PDF form for free plus 674 more for a $9.99.

Lifeway Christian Resources (, but Methodists, Presbyterians or other Christians can use it as well. Create a Setlist of hymns for your service. Find hymns by title, writer, lyric, topic and more. Sort the hymn by Title alphabetically or by their Baptist Hymnal number. The app doesn’t allow built-in exporting of the hymns, but I was able to put my iPad in portrait mode and show most of the hymn page on the screen and take a screen shot by holding down the home button and the iPad’s power button at the same time. This saves the screen shot to the iPad’s Photos so you can print it or share it.

20 | March 2016

Protected With


By Steven Sundermeier

Is Free REALLY Free?


his week my family and I had an opportunity to attend a Cleveland Cavaliers (Cavs) game at Quicken Loans Arena. Given our family of five (and the $40 parking!), attending a Cavs game is a huge treat for our family. And while I do enjoy watching our NBA Eastern Conference-leading Cavs and its All-Star roster (LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, etc.), one of my family’s favorite aspects of being at the game was all of the promotional activities and giveaways- whether it is balls being thrown out by the Cavs dance team or Moondog, our mascot, firing shirts by cannon into the stands. At one point Ohio lottery tickets even came parachuting down from the rafters! However, we were most excited by, and cheered loudest for all of the corporate sponsored, incentivebased giveaways. For our game it included a free McDonald’s Quarter Pounder (if 25 points or more are scored by the Cavs in the 1st quarter), a free fountain soda at Giant Eagle Get Go (if 100 points or more are scored by the Cavs) and of course, the Dunkin Donut

Iced Coffee (if the Cavs win at home). Now that is a win! There has always been a great appeal for “free” stuff, and I shared the above to let you know that I too am on board sometimes in the hopes of getting something for “free”. And while my example dealt with physical items (i.e. t-shirts or coffee), as a recognized security | March 2016


Protected With


expert, I know that there is also a huge appeal for programs and apps online (or anywhere!) offering to perform functionalities free of charge. However, there is a question that must be seriously considered, “Is free really free?” One such (recent) example is a free “File Opener” program that opens archived files (ZIP, RAR, ARC, etc.). The lure of this type of program is providing a free program that consolidates other file opening programs (ie. WinZip, WinRAR, etc.) instead of purchasing multiple, individual programs that perform similar tasks. Our Thirtyseven4 Virus Labs traced this particular program back to being actively downloaded at a high rate among faculty and staff members within school districts Nationwide. After analyzing the program, we (the Thiryseven4 Research Labs) found that upon the installation of this file opener program, the free software did perform the described functions (so no immediate red flag raised!). However, behind the scenes, as is so often the case-it also installs a Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) setup file. (A PUA is defined as an unwanted program downloaded in conjunction with the program that the user actually wanted.) The PUA associated here will then begin displaying unwanted advertisements and redirects to different websites. Next, in order to “spread” in a sense, it also tries to automatically connect to the users various email and social media accounts, to share the following message/post:

Luckily for our customers, Thirtyseven4 already had detection for the PUA as “PUA.Friedcooki.Gen”. But, in cross referencing the additional downloaded PUA against other leading antivirus scanners, most did not yet offer detection. It is important to understand that most free applications are getting reimbursed or funded by some outside means, and many are not in our (the users) best interest (ie. They are paid for by advertisers/spammers who pay these publishers in exchange for your contact information when you sign up/register for the free utility, etc.). Have you ever questioned how popular “free” to play apps/programs can afford development and employee costs or how they can afford the multi-million dollar commercial spot on the Superbowl? Again, the question that must be seriously considered, “Is free really free?” To get a better feel for Potentially Unwanted Programs, let’s take a close look at a couple other detections, PUA.Clientconn.Gen and PUA.Softonicin.Gen. PUA.Clientconn.Gen is a generic classification of Potentially Unwanted Programs that support Adware publishers. These types of applications lead to an excessive amount of pop-up displays degrading the overall system performance, they modify default browser homepages specifically to promote their own search engines and also highly recommend other downloads from malicious websites. PUA.Softonicin. Gen is our generic detection for those Potentially Unwanted Programs that download malicious installer setup files (i.e. disguised as Voice Over packages, PC Performance Boosting software, Instant

It is important to understand that most free applications are getting reimbursed or funded by some outside means, and many are not in our best interest.

“I just downloaded this desktop app, which is totally free, and easily opens any archived file (ZIP, RAR, ARC, etc.) This is an absolutely essential tool for your PC, it’s free and makes opening files a breeze. Check it out here - filename.” Please note: I modified the above website to avoid accidental opening.

Messaging programs, games, etc.). It’s important to understand that PUA’s are “smart” (in a malicious sense) as they aren’t developed to simply display any banner but are intently crafted to gain access to search results, visited websites and cookies so that they can display advertisements that appeal to the user. They also can take more of a malicious direction

22 | March 2016 Protected With


and download Trojans that utilize backdoor techniques remotely exposing a system to a 3rd party attacker that can use this security hole to steal confidential information. Very few things are actually free, with no strings attached. Did my family receive a “free” Quarter Pounder, a free Soda and a free coffee (see paragraph 1) per ticket because the Cavs won the game we were attending? Yes, but to experience that win (and “free items”), we had to purchase tickets to the game, pay (outlandish!) parking fees and buy some hot dogs and nachos and a soda. There was a cost, but we perceived the burger, soda and coffee to be “free”, even though there were decisions made and money paid for us to be at the game, where we in-turn received the “free stuff ”. If an online app or a generalized email from a “friend” winks at you and tells you that you can get something for nothing, don’t fall for it. There’s a catch, and these cyber-villains are getting very savvy at disguising the catch. You don’t want to be their catch-of-the-day. I actually pray that through our little monthly chats in these columns, you are more and more informed and less gullible online. When you see the attractive claim for X,Y,Z pop up in your inbox or online, common sense nudges you and reminds you that very few things are actually free. You will pay something— your time, even your information. My favorite saying comes from a seasoned technology coordinator who told me that the free apps and antivirus products are not a free drink—they are a free puppy. They may come to you easily enough and looking harmless, but the time and energy that you will need to invest can become exhausting. And let’s be honest, time is something none of us seem to have enough of. Let’s be wise about how we invest it! And “Go Cavs!”.

Ministry Tech Magazine - March 2016  

March 2016 Ministry Tech Issue

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