Apps (small digital programs you run on your phone or digital tablet) have grown hugely in the last couple of years, and there are increasing numbers out there aimed at Christians.
Here are some we've come across in recent times:
Moses the Great Leader: this is a charming interactive storybook app for children by Eira and Nick Goldsworthy. Eira (www.eiragoldsworthy.com) will be familar to many for her work as a children's illustrator and author over 30 years, specialising in watercolours across more than 85 titles. She's teamed up with her nephew Nick to produce a fun and educational retelling of the story of Moses that works well for 4-8 year-olds. The story, which has an optional voiceover in English and Hebrew, mixes fun animation with a simple and clear version of the story. Available for iPad, iPhone and Android phones. You can also watch a promotional video here:
YouVersion : the leading Bible app bar none. This free app has grown and developed into a superb resource offering free versions of the Bible, reading plans, access to commentaries and study tools, plus the ability to make notes, discuss your readings with others and more. Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and Android, it's a must-have.
Worshipcentral : a great resource for worship leaders, musicians and songwriters, this video-led app will help you learn new songs, pick up tips on worship leading from people like Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and Nikki Fletcher, read challenging blogs, listen to podcasts and more. Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Rend Collective Experiment : RCE have been blazing a trail in the Christian worship sphere for the last couple of years, and their simple but nicely put together app mixes videos, tutorials on how to play their songs, blogs, tour news, links to the RCE community and more. This free app (pictured right) is usable on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices.
iPray : a straightforward, easy to use devotional aid for lovers of the Book of Common Prayer, providing readings, prayers, liturgy and worship structure through the year, with content for morning, midday, evening and compline acts of worship. It won't win any design awards, but for prayer book devotees it will surely prove invaluable. Costs £1.49 and is available for the iPhone, with an Android version in the pipeline.
Also out is Liberate Eden by Greg Fromholz, and published by Matthews & Owen Press. Less a book and more of an 'App-Book' particularly aimed at the iPad, Liberate Eden is described by author, artist and communicator Fromholz as about "what it is to be human, scarred and in the pursuit of hope". Beautifully designed, it is ideally suited to the iPad and mixes text, video, music and art in a way that is meant to encourage the 'reader' to engage with the author's journey, challenge to the Church and questioning approach to his faith.
It's a pioneering attempt to fuse creative technology with theology, but I did find myself struggling to stay with it at times. Some of the video didn't seem to do much more than give a dramatized reading of parts of the text, and I wasn't sure where parts of it were going. But it stimulated the senses, got me thinking and is a groundbreaking attempt to engage today's visual generations in a way mere words may not.
Finally, a silly family game to finish with: Fruit Blast. It's daft, very colourful, suitable for all ages and at 69p is a silly, all action app that delivers (so it claims) "juicy graphics, engaging motion control and First-Person Survival".
Essentially, a manic monkey is throwing pieces of fruit at you and you have to fight him off with a range of handy weapons. The further you get in the game, you can unlock more stages, weapons and powerups. It's a daft platform game, but it will keep the kids busy in the back of the car.
And there's a nice family story behind it: father and son team Mark and Parker Lewis developed the game with MEDL Mobile, but the game flopped in the App Store. Undeterred, the pair completely rebuilt it thanks to input from family, friends and the MEDL team, and Fruit Blast 2.0 has become a ripe and juicy hit.
Russ Bravo, Editor
Found good apps for a Christian audience? Let us know and they might feature in our next round-up!
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