Got a Question for God? There’s an app for that…

Hello World,

The temperature has finally gone down in the A…”from 96 degrees in the shade” to about 87 degrees in the rain, but I guess I won’t complain…

Anywho…Know what? Although I have a blog and a Facebook account, I am woefully behind on and insecure about emerging technology…I mean I am only on my second cell phone, and my parents bought my first one for me a few years back because they correctly deduced as a reporter I needed one…plus I was the only one  in our immediate family that did not have one…nearly unbelievable huh? but it’s true…

Thankfully, however, God has placed people (including my parents)  in my life who have made sure that I have slowly but surely acquainted myself with the latest technology – people like my friend Tess Gadwa who designed my beloved blog for instance…Well about two months ago at the Faith & Fiction Retreat in the A, I met someone who actually designed an iPhone application! Isn’t that impressive?! Who does that? Catherine Helzerman’s app is cleverly named, Ask God.  I knew she had to be featured on this blog…Read on for my exclusive interview!

1. For those who are not technologically savvy or current (me), what is an Iphone app?

An iPhone App is simply any application that is made specifically to run on Apple’s iPhone.

2. What is “Ask God?” Why did you develop the application? 

 Ask God is an application developed for iPhone that allows users to easily find Bible scripture on a variety of topics.  The application is designed to offer a fun introduction to those new to the Bible, as well as give Christians a quick way to get a Word on a topic, such as work, faith or marriage.  Favorite verses can be shared on popular social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. 

 I wrote Ask God because I wanted to give people a fun way to get relevant scripture from the Bible.  Too often, Bibles online can be intimidating or not interesting to the new or non-Christian.  My app has fun features such as shaking your phone for verses and sharing them with friends.  Many users who are sharing God’s Word through my app do not even consider themselves “religious.”

3. How did you develop this application? Please tell me all of the nitty-gritty “techy” details. How long did this process take?

 I’m not sure how long it took because I was working on it in my spare time, but the process was somewhat unique.  I felt drawn to develop an application for those needing quick access to Bible scripture.  With no experience in iPhone programming, I purchased a book called “Program for the iPhone in 24 hours,” and I was on my way.  Fortunately my husband and some friends helped with some of the more technical aspects of the program.

4. How does one get access to Ask God? How much does it cost? Have you made any money? Please describe as it think it would inspire people:)

Ask God can be purchased on your iPhone. Go to the App Store and search for Ask God or Bible verses or on iTunes.  You need to have an iPhone for it to work.  It will not run on Blackberry and other phones because the software is not compatible.

Right now, Ask God is free.  I’m working on an upgrade that will enable the application to work on iPad and also give it a new look and feel.  At some point I might charge 99 cents, but for now,  it is free to anyone who wants it.

For a while I did charge 99 cents.  It did not make a lot of money; however, I think part of the reason was that I was holding back on doing a lot of publicity until I got the software right where I wanted it to be.

5. How are you getting the word out about Ask God?  Have you gotten any feedback from “subscribers?” Is that the correct word for people who download the application?

Feedback from users has been great.  Some encourage me to add more technical features –and they’re right.  Much of this has already been done and is available in the version out now.  Many times I will post a scripture to Facebook and get a comment that the Word was “right on time” and what that person needed to hear.  I love moments like that.

Once I have the version out that works on both iPhone and iPad I will promote the software more to get the word out.  I’ll do this through a press release, Twitter, Facebook and targeted publications that cater to the Christian community.  I’ll also ask pastors to share the word about the application if they’re comfortable in informal settings such as weekly men’s and women’s groups, volunteer and outreach groups, etc.

Any thoughts?

Catherine Helzerman has worked in the high-tech industry since the early ’90s for companies including Gateway, IBM and her current company McAfee  In addition to her responsibilities as a communications director at McAfee, Catherine is active in her church Bible Way Christian Center in San Jose, California, particularly in homeless and low-income outreach.  Catherine also enjoys programming and is the co-founder of Snark Software.  Catherine is working on her first book, a Christian fiction novel that will explore how God orders our steps in a way that makes events that are seemingly unconnected and sometimes painful work toward our good.


~ by jackieholness on August 15, 2010.

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