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From Action Teamer to app creator

A former BMS Action Teamer is set to release a new Bible-based App for children and their grown-ups this Lent


Joanne Gilchrist and her family will be wrapping up old message in a new way this Pancake Day, having created their own app.

Gilchristfamily2Called God for Kids, the app is designed for parents who want to use the lent period to teach their children more about God. Instead of telling a story, it looks at one Bible verse at a time to uncover a particular personality trait of God, answering such questions as ‘Where does God Live?’ and ‘How old is God?’ along the way.

'I’ve always loved studying the Word of God and teaching it to others,' explains 33-year-old Joanne, who spent six months in Belgium with the BMS Action Team programme in 2000-1 and has been an evangelist/missionary ever since.

'The character of God is so fascinating and I’ve loved coming up with creative ways to pass what I’ve discovered onto my children.

'They love being quizzed, doing puzzles and they love the iPad. So what started as a book evolved into a kids’ app and on Pancake day the idea will become reality!'

Gilchrist familyIndeed, the whole family, members of the Anglican/Baptist church St Thomas Crookes, Sheffield, have been involved in the app's creation. Gabriella, seven, was the main ‘tester’ of her mum’s first efforts and is now officially involved as the voice of the main character, Rü. You find out what the name means in the fourth and final adventure of the app.

Younger daughter Briony, five, tested the new content of the second adventure in the app, ‘God is Big’. She regularly asks her mum when she can do another ‘God for Kids’ before bedtime.

Dad Johnny, Programme Manager at The Oakes Holiday Centre in Norton, Sheffield, said 'It’s become part of our bedtime routine. Brush teeth, do a God for Kids activity, then stories and bed. We have always used this time to read a Bible story but they’ve read them all at least twice now. This is something new.'

The family moved to South Yorkshire from New Zealand in 2014, where they worked as missionaries with Youth With A Mission and the local church.

'As a family we have helped kids and parents all over the world learn more about God, through preschool music groups, Sunday schools and festivals,' added Joanne. 'My husband even published a children’s’ book in the Philippines once!'

Joanne is now writing a book, a blog and the content for the third and fourth adventures of God for Kids app.

The app will be released in the App Store on Pancake Day (9 February). The Android version will be released on 15 May. For more information, and for Joanne's blog, see www.GodforKidsapp.com or facebook.com/GodforKidsapp.

Baptist Times, 05/02/2016
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