Step 1: Inspiration
For as long as I can remember, I have read a Bible Story or a prayer from a kids book before tucking my kids into bed. But by the time my firstborn was 5 years old, we had read every Bible story twice. So I looked for an alternative and I found these awesome kid’s devotions. Every day we read a Bible verse and a made-up story and answered questions about the story all while colouring in the picture at the end. She engaged with the devotion, learned the lesson and had fun at the same time.
In this particular book, on or near the first page, I noticed it had been written and created by a mum. An ordinary, every day Mum, just like me. So naturally I thought – I could do that.I began to write a kids’ book filled with questions and puzzles based on the nature and character of God – who is God? What is God like? It’s a topic I used to teach when I worked with YWAM (Youth With A Mission).
It was full of ideas and I made it look as good as I could with Microsoft clip-art pictures and a dodgy drawing of a cloud for Rü the narrator (I’ve never been good at art). Then I’d print and present it to my then 5 year old, Gabriella. She didn’t care about the ‘less than perfect’ art work and together we would complete the activity at story time, before bed. She loves being asked questions, she loves colouring and she loves puzzles. I managed to create about one activity a week but it wasn’t enough for her – she wanted to do one every night! It was a fun time.I began to ask others to test the material on their children and some loved it and gave me very helpful feedback. But when I printed some of the pages for a friend to do with her 6 year old boy, she struggled to engage him with the material. Perhaps the dodgy art put him off? Or perhaps he just found paper and pens too boring?
The idea had been brewing for months and now it was time to face it: I wasn’t writing a book. I was writing an app.
The gospel is not a new message and it’s not a boring message either – it is hope and salvation to those who receive it! – but every culture and generation since Pentecost receives it differently, depending on how it is presented. The most culturally relevant the context, the more readily it is received (ask me for examples – I have dozens from the Bible and recent history).
The best part was the ‘Research’. I finally bought an iPad, downloaded every Bible app for kids I could find then let my kids loose! Their feedback was inspirational and I reviewed some of them on my Pinterest board.Meet the wonderful team from Appt! When I met them I was a clueless mum with an idea and they turned my dreams into reality. They didn’t laugh at me or exchange sidelong glances as if I were crazy. Instead, they simply said ‘Go for it!’ That was all the encouragement I needed.
Along the way, God has brought many other individuals into my life, teaching me skills or introducing me to contacts I need to make the app a success. I haven’t gone out looking for them, God has brought them to me: the right people at the right time. Almost like it was planned.It was important to me that the Narrator, Rü, have a child’s voice. I believe God speaks to us in our own language – He speaks in ways we best relate to and understand. I also believe He speaks to children as well as adults.
As it turns out, my daughter Gabriella, has a great voice for radio! It was incredibly rewarding for me to see her be a part of this – after all, it is because of her that this app even exists.
She worked her little socks off recording what that was needed and earned a trip to the cinema, a meal out and a spending spree at our local church’s Nearly New Sale (you get so much more for your money there).The app has Four Adventures: God is Real plus the Trinity Adventures – God is Big, God is Jesus and God is Spirit. But only two of the adventures are ready to play.
God is Real is free and those who pay to unlock God is Big will be making sure the app is kept advert free – as a parent, I think ads in a kids app are not a good idea.
So what about the last 2 adventures? When will they be ready?
Watch this space!