Available now on the App Store ($0.99/£0.69/€0,79)
Last year I attended the Oxygen conference in Sydney for ministry workers. During one of John Piper’s talks, he got to a point where he realized he had been talking about ‘the gospel’ as foundational to the Christian life without ever telling us what he thought that gospel was. So he told us he was about to outline ‘John Piper’s gospel’, which had six points to it.
Muffled chuckles echoed around the large auditorium. Dr Piper looked a little startled; he hadn’t intended to make a joke. Perhaps he thought it might have been some American-Australian translation issue. In fact, I think Matthias Media was the culprit. I estimate about a third to half of the attendees were at that moment wondering if his next words were going to be, “The first point of the Christian message is that God is in charge of the world”.
(They weren’t. But his outline was still good.)
By far and away the most popular Matthias Media resource is the Two Ways to Live tract. If you’ve never come across it before, this little gospel outline explains the good news of Jesus within the context of the unfolding story of the Bible. The tract introduces a non-Christian reader (or hearer) to all the background information they need in order to grasp the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
You may well have used this outline for sharing the gospel with others. I certainly have. The six boxes have for many years formed a really helpful framework in my head for talking about Jesus with others. Even though I rarely draw the six boxes or talk through the entire gospel outline from beginning to end, its structure is an incredibly useful tool for making sense of a conversation: What are the underlying questions of my conversation partner? What presuppositions do we not share? How can I get from the topic of the moment to Jesus, using the logic of the gospel outline as a guide? This simple, memorable outline has stuck with me in a way that few other things have.
So at Matthias Media we want to build on what we already have, and give you another option for sharing the gospel. It’s not a different tract as such—just a different delivery method. These days, there are an astonishing number of iPhones, iPods and iPads around. If you’re not convinced, catch a peak-hour train or bus in your closest major city and you’ll see what I mean: eyes glued to smartphones, and white earbuds everywhere. Apple has done a remarkable job of convincing us how much we ‘need’ to have one of these iOS devices—last financial year Apple sold well over 100 million new units. (100 million is really a very large number.)
So we’ve made Two Ways to Live into an app for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. It’s the same clear, challenging outline of the Christian gospel that we’ve been producing for years, but in this case you can whip your phone out and step through the presentation with a friend, filling in the explanation yourself, or you can give it to someone else for them to explore. There’s extra text that explains each of the points in more detail, and an audio version voiced by Kel Richards. It’s even available in a few different languages, selectable from within the app itself (currently English, Japanese, French, Spanish, and (simplified) Chinese; we’ll add more as we’re able).
Like any other iOS app, you can ‘gift’ it—that is, you can give it away as an electronic evangelistic tract to someone else (either via email or by printing out a gift card). We’ve made it especially easy to do this by including a link within the app itself (or click here to give it away right now). And at the point of working out the consequences of the choice at the end of the presentation, there’s also a link to a free download of The Essential Jesus from within the app to iBooks or another e-reader.
We’d like to port it to Android devices (or Windows Phone or other mobile platforms if there’s demand), but we’re still working out if it’s going to be viable to do so. If you have experience in doing this sort of thing and you’re able to help us work that through, please get in touch.
This app is available exclusively on the App Store as of now. It requires iOS 4.0, and will run on iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. We’ll follow up soon with an enhanced iPad version, including some Q&A videos and testimonies about how the gospel has changed people’s lives.