OneHope President Rob Hoskins on Technology as a Tremendous Tool
Rob Hoskins is president of OneHope. This blog represents the opinion of OneHope, Barna’s research partner for the Guiding Children study. You can purchase the full report now.
The impact of technology is pervasive among younger generations. Our challenge as digital transplants is meeting kids where they already are… which for most, is online.
Knowing this, we connected with Barna to do a joint study on the main factors guiding children in their faith journey. This study takes a deeper look into the faith formation of children, considering our ever-changing cultural and technological landscape.
This study revealed that even though tech is pervasive, most parents and churches aren’t leveraging it for Bible engagement. This is clearly seen in our findings that show a substantial dip in Bible engagement for 10–12-year-olds. Right as they enter an age where they are ready for more, we’re giving them less.
Despite young people’s heavy tech use, insights from the Guiding Children report revealed that 75 percent of engaged Christian parents do not use digital resources to encourage scripture engagement for their tweens and teens.
Our mission at OneHope is to share God’s Word with every child. We feel called to reach children wherever they are. If they are in the digital realm, then tech is where we are going to meet them.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”
We’ve seen this to be true as we launched the Bible App for Kids in partnership with YouVersion in 2013. As we started talking about developing a digital scripture engagement tool, these critical goals started to form. We knew:
- We needed a digital tool to boost scripture engagement
- There was a gap in scripture engagement for younger children
- We wanted to be able to take God’s Word to places it had never gone before—the corners of cyberspace or across borders into countries where physical copies of the Bible were not allowed
Since launching the app, we have seen:
- More than 35 million installs
- More than 790,000 installs in World Watch List countries in 2018
- OneHope’s 1.5 billionth child encountered God’s Word by installing the Bible App for Kids in a Middle Eastern country in February 2019
- Bible App for Kids available in the languages spoken in 50 of the 68 countries in the 10/40 Window
The Bible App for Kids is now available in 50 languages and has been downloaded in every country in the world—every country! We could never have expected that app usage would surge like this among kids ages 1-6 around the world. We’re so grateful that the digital platform has been a powerful tool to spread the Gospel on a global scale, and we don’t plan to stop exploring the potential of digital initiatives in ministry anytime soon.
Even though the world and technology will continue to change, the biblical mandate to shepherd our children will not. Let’s recommit ourselves to using whatever means necessary to develop spiritual formation and faith development tools to feed our kids from the richness of God’s Word. Leaning into digital resources is not only a win for your family, it’s also a win for global missions.
It’s up to us to reclaim the digital space. Technology is merely a tool to be harnessed and used for good. It has no purpose or power on its own, only what we assign it.
We have been given generational and geographic favor to live in this exciting time. It’s our job to leverage the tools we have been given to be useful for growing the Kingdom.
“Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV). It’s time to go into all the world, both physical and digital, and bring the good news to all creation, wherever they are.
To learn more, visit robhoskins.com.
Feature image by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash