This is an article from our quarterly newsletter. Click here to download the whole document as a pdf.

eVitabu

eVitabu app gives church leaders access to a whole library of resources.

The Yale professor and statistician W. Edwards Deming once famously said, “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” He probably meant this a little flippantly, but it’s true that good data is really important when managing any project or initiative.

Data comes in two main sorts. Quantitative data deals with numbers while qualitative data explores words.

In the Bible, we find both. In Acts 2, Luke gives us some quantitative data around the numbers of people coming to faith. In 1 Kings 19, we’re told that 7,000 Israelites remained faithful to God. But quantitative data only gets you so far. In Matthew 7, for example, Jesus makes it clear he’s interested in depth of relationship, not just numbers. This is qualitative data, information about qualities, information that can’t be so easily measured.

As church leaders use APF’s eVitabu to access the fantastic library of resources on the app, their activity automatically generates quantitative data covering things like the number of logs-in by each user and which resources are being downloaded. We call this sort of automatically generated data, analytics. The analytics tells us that since March there have been 19,671 individual content downloads and the most frequently downloaded resource from the whole of eVitabu are African language Bible extracts.

But analytics cannot tell us how pastors are using the resources they’ve downloaded from eVitabu, which resources they’ve found most helpful, how eVitabu has impacted their ministries or which new feature they’d most like to see in the next update. To answer these sorts of questions, we need qualitative data.

Cham leading SWOT analysis workshop

Cham leading SWOT analysis workshop

We approached getting this sort of information in two ways. Firstly, Revd Dr Kate Coleman and Revd Cham Kaur-Mann from APF partner Next Leadership gathered together the two largest cohorts of pastors using eVitabu for monitoring workshops. The pastors from the Baptist Union of Uganda (BUU) and Pastors Discipleship Network (PDN) met in Kampala, Uganda where Kate and Cham led them through detailed SWOT analysis to identify eVitabu’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Mentoring sessions with individual pastors helped them set their own objectives so they could get more out of eVitabu and use it to better support their own training and leadership objectives.

Secondly, APF’s Projects Manager, Geoff Holder, travelled the length and breadth of Uganda and Rwanda to discover how other pastors were making the most of the resources on eVitabu in the field. Travelling with his brother, Jon – an amateur filmmaker and from September, a curate at Christ Church W4 in Turnham Green, London – they filmed in-depth interviews with church leaders who described the impact eVitabu was already having on their ministries.

Geoff, Harriet and Alex in Morobi Camp

Geoff, Harriet and Alex in Morobi Camp

In Morobi Refugee Camp, they discovered how Pastor Alex Sokiri, inspired by resources on eVitabu from CPAS, had set up a camp football club for bored youths who had little to do and nowhere to go. At Atirir Bible School, the Principal, Revd Francis Esomu explained how theology books on eVitabu provided by Regnum were helping him equip untrained pastors to read the Bible with deeper insight. In northern Rwanda, Victor Turikumwe explained how Tearfund’s community development resources on eVitabu were helping him run a community garden project and teach parents about good nutritional health.

While data analytics and monitoring are great tools for understanding how things have been going and point us in the right direction, nothing beats a little prophetic insight! Please join us in praying that we would interpret all the data we’ve gathered with wisdom and hear God’s Spirit clearly as we trust in him for the development of eVitabu. Please pray for APF as we prepare to release eVitabu much more widely so many more church leaders can benefit.

This is an article from our quarterly newsletter. Click here to download the whole document as a pdf.