Two Ways to Live app

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.

22 thoughts on “Two Ways to Live app

  1. Pingback: Two Ways To Live iPhone App | mgpcpastor's blog

    • Hi Jeff, I’ll take that as a statement of desire and thanks for the encouragement. But please see second last paragraph from Sam.

      Speaking as a MM Board member whose responisbility for financial prudence needs to see MM earning income to continue its ministry, the answer is not unless we can see it paying somehow, or being really cheap enough in production to subsidise it. There is no promise of one at all, let alone a time target.

      I am a total amateur on this, but does anyone really make a living out of Android apps? Are there many that people are paying for Android apps in any substantial way at all? Mac users as a class are much more willing to pay a bit. And we need the lots of little bits (less than $1) to add up!

      So speak up and tell Sam if you know ministry minded people who can help on Android.

      • I am an Android developer and would be happy to port it for free. If you take a look at mobile system market share you will see Android is actually double the market share of apple. For every iPhone user there is two Android users.

        If I develope and donate the entire source code to you for free would it be possible not to charge for this resource?

        • Gary,

          Most ‘free’ Android apps include ads that the ‘paid’ version has removed.

          I’ve just had an amusing mental picture of a gospel presentation with the ‘free’ app, and the Christian gets to the question ‘which way represents the way you want to live?’ and the friend says (pointing to the ad) ‘I’d love one of those!’

          • As entertaining as your scenario is, that will need not happen.

            A developer has complete control as to where ad’s appear. And obviously ad’s should not appear during the final slide of the presentation. If anything what I was pushing for is, no ads completely!

            There is no ongoing cost in the Android market and no distribution cost, no matter how many times the app is downloaded. There is only an initial cost of $25, which I will even be happy to pay out of pocket.

            The only other cost will be developing the application, which I have also offered to do for free.

            I understand income and revenue are of great concern to Matthias at the moment. And if monetising the app is essential, I would suggest a more suitable pricing model.

            For example a trial version with time limit and activiation for a $1 would be much more suitable than outright paying. Especially since the 2WTL is targetted at non-Christians. How can we expect a non-Christian to pay for a Christian app? I understand the idea of gifting, but you cut the main source of downloads which is people who browse or recommeneded via the app store itself.

            Imagine this scenario. Lets say only 5% of people are willing to pay the $1 after activation. So for every 20 downloads you will earn $1. But the gospel will reach 20 people and much more likely to be non-beleivers. This is officially supported by the Android Market –

            On the other hand in the current model you will charge $1 and only one person will be reached and most likely a Christian.

            Now if money is the concern then:

            Total Income Scenario A:
            #free-downloads x 5% x $1

            Whereas in Scenario B:
            #paid-downloads x $1

            So if you factor it out the real question is will
            (#free-downloads x 5%) > #paid-downloads

            Which means if free-downloads is anything greater than 20 times the number of paid downloads you will be making exactly the same amount of money but reaching 20 times more people!

            5% is roughly a guess, but I think it is a conservative guess, do a survey of people and see if they would think they are 20 times more likely to download it if it is free.

            There is plenty of literature as to how to price apps.

            Just my 2c

    • Thanks Sam and hey Gary – go for it!! I think the down under folks don’t know what the Android market is like up north. I would push it like crazy.


  2. Hey this is great! Praying for the opportunity to use this! (sharing the gospel is more exciting than the app though). One suggestion why don’t you make this free with a donations option. More uptake and similar revenue, double win?
    Thanking God for all your hard work!

    • Hi Alan,

      One reason is that Apple make this very difficult, if not impossible to do. (The main reason for this is it cuts them out of the revenue loop, so I can understand their position.)


  3. Very excited about this app, but there does seem to be one key problem – unless I’m missing something, you can’t access the verses themselves unless you play the audio and wait until they appear onscreen. The audio is great – but if you’re talking through the presentation yourself, or reading the information in a quiet place, there is no way to see the verses (you don’t even know they exist until you listen to the audio). Seems like they should be included in the “read more” drop down – or a link that causes the verse to pop up.

    • Not sure if they updated it, or if I just completely missed it in the first place (more likely), but the verses do appear quite easily if you just click through the outline text on each screen. My mistake, probably. Very glad for this app!

  4. A related request…

    I’ve often thought a video clip version of TW2L would be great, and I’m surprised there isn’t one available. Something a few minutes long, with visuals, animated text, images, etc, spoken words.

    When I search Youtube for ‘Two ways to live’ I’m flooded with results for Joyce Meyer.

  5. Pingback: Two Ways To Live App | SCBC BLOG

  6. I have been waiting for this! I love the app except that it doesn’t have the scriptures.

    • Found it. When you get to the bottom of the paragraph the button appears for the scripture.

  7. Great app!

    I do agree with Gary’s comments (above) that this should be freely available. I’m more than happy to ‘gift’ it to people I know, but how much better for it to be freely available to all (i.e. the billions of people who might not have it gifted to them by a Christian friend). How many people would you need to donate, say, 10GBP to cover the cost of the app, and so be able to make it free? Must be doable…


  8. Hi all. Thanks for the feedback.

    I just thought I’d quickly respond a couple of points raised by people here (and also through other channels).

    We’re in final stages of an Android version, which will be out soon at the same price point (i.e. about a dollar). So for everyone waiting for that… watch this space, we’ll have news very soon.

    Regarding the fact that we charge a nominal fee for the tract: I think that’s pretty standard. The printed tract isn’t free either—although many people have assumed that’s the case since a church or other organisation has handed them out for free. They’ve simply bought a whole stack of them, and have chosen to put that money to work in that particular form of ministry.

    It’d be great to offer the app for free, but there’s a few reasons why that’s not the case. Matthias Media is not the publishing arm of a church ministry (despite the name), and is not backed by any such organisation. So we look a little different to a group such as Desiring God, for example. MM is a stand-alone business, and needs to stay in business. We’re obviously not in it to get filthy rich, but we do need to cover our costs (which, in the development world, are probably bigger than you realise).

    None of this is to say that you can’t treat the electronic form just like the printed form. I know of one guy in New Zealand who during O-Week volunteered to give the app to students on a university campus. If people gave their email, he sent them a redemption coupon. I think that’s a neat use of new technology.

    • I don’t have any problem with MM charging for resources. I can’t wait for the Android version to come out — thanks for making this happen!

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