From humble beginnings to 350 downloads on smartphone apps per dayBookmark this
Verse By Verse Ministry International
In 2003, Stephen Armstrong invited some office buddies to begin a Bible study. Now almost 16 years later, people from all over the U.S. and 200 other countries join his studies – in person, via smartphone apps, and website videos.
How did this happen? Participants in early years loved the little study and Stephen’s deep, verse-by-verse approach. They realized that finally, someone was showing them answers to the hard questions about their lives – based on the Scriptures. They felt freedom flowing into their hearts and relationships.
Along the way, someone suggested that he start a podcast. This led to free podcasts – then free online videos and notes. Curiosity seekers would try a few lessons and they were hooked. Ministry leaders, believers and unbelievers asked for more.
“People have started to feel a hunger and a thirst for the meat of scripture,” says Kathryn Bashaw, Operations Director of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). Spiritually related teaching in our culture, she says, has tended toward feel-good messages which lead people into searching for deeper insights.
Kathryn recalls, “He was doing this because he’s passionate and gifted in his teaching. Then he began getting checks in the mail.” The 501(c)(3) status followed shortly after.
In 2013, Verse By Verse Ministry was rebranded to add “International” to the name. They also added social media. The Facebook following alone is now over 75,000, says Kathryn.
Half of the Facebook followers live outside the United States. This is thanks to Stephen’s wide travel (60,000-plus miles in 2018 alone) and thanks to teams who help worldwide where Stephen has brought his teaching to them.
“Tony Lee is our director in Asia,” says Kathryn. “He goes from Singapore to the Philippines to Taiwan. He runs all of the Asia operations, mobilizing his volunteers to get the word out.”
“Fede Acuña is our Director of Central America,” adds Kathryn. He translates the resources into Spanish for his audience. When Stephen comes to speak in Costa Rica, Fede is the translator.
Ottar Graasvoll, based in Norway, is the Director of Europe. “Stephen often travels to Norway and teaches church members and leaders how to study the Bible – and how to teach the Bible,” says Kathryn.
The ministry’s leadership in New Zealand has a fascinating history. “Stephen went to New Zealand to do a big Bible teaching seminar. He met a gentleman named Tom Carey who said, ‘I used the Verse By Verse Ministry International's iPhone app and found a way to make it even better.’ So Tom just created his own app and showed it to us! We were like, ‘Wow! That’s amazing. We would love for you to remake our app.’ Now he contracts as our software development director.” Now the app is uniquely nimble for on-the-go use and tracks each user’s Bible study progress.
The ministry even reaches into the remotest parts of the world, where Bible teaching is often non-existent. VBVMI resources are being taught in Arab countries, where new converts crave God’s truth.
The small beginnings and loyal following in San Antonio led to the birth of an allied ministry, Verse By Verse Fellowship, in January 2018. It meets on the corner of Nakoma and Highway 281. Its membership has exploded, going from zero to 250 members in one year. Stephen Armstrong is the senior pastor. He spends 20-30 hours a week reading and studying the Bible because, as he says, “That’s what it takes to know the Word of God.”
“I was amazed at how much I have learned about judgment, redemption, the Suffering Servant and God’s ultimate love for us. Your study has unlocked one of the Bible’s greatest mysteries.”
– Richard, VBVMI reviewer, regarding the book of Isaiah
Taking time to know the Word of God has yielded powerful results. Viewers worldwide absorb more than 1.5 million minutes of VBVMI teaching each year. Thus far, Stephen has taught more than 45% of the Bible. Their message reaches churches, homes and communities, teaching books of the Bible verse by verse – along with topics like “End Times,” “Creation” and “How to Study the Bible.”
Stephen also answers individual questions from people who wonder about difficult Bible passages or life’s dilemmas. With the approach of Easter Sunday, April 21, some questioners say it seems odd that Christians worship Someone whom they claim rose from the dead. Stephen insists: “This is not an ancillary issue. It is the issue – if Christ did not rise from the dead as He promised to do, then Christianity is a complete fraud.”
Why don’t you check it out for yourself this week? Visit VBVMI at www.versebyverseministry.org. In the search bar on the landing page, type: “Proofs for the Resurrection.” Learn of Jesus’ confirmed death on the cross, how the disciples couldn’t have hidden Him, and why the weight of historical evidence points to His resurrection. It might change your life, too.
Verse By Verse Ministry International
PO Box 702107 | San Antonio, TX 78270
Be A Light.
Try. Visit Verse By Verse Fellowship on a Saturday night at 5:30. Or start studying via www.versebyverseministry.org – your best choice for free in-depth Bible teaching at Tell. Tell ten others about your experience. Give. VBVMI ministries never solicit funds but many give after they’ve fallen in love with the studies. Donate to the ministry by accessing www.versebyverseministry.org/donate when you are convinced. Share. Ask Stephen to speak at your church to spread the blessing of the online resources.
Verse By Verse Fellowship is pleased to partner with VBVMI to make this story possible. Our vision is to create a community dedicated to growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, equipping one another to reach the world for Christ and living with eyes for an eternity with Christ.
Verse By Verse Fellowship (VBVF) is the result of a church planting effort by Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI), a non-denominational, Bible teaching ministry headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, featuring the in-depth Bible teaching of Pastor Stephen Armstrong, founder of VBVMI. The ministry is committed to providing compelling, verse-by-verse teaching of God’s word at no charge (2Cor 2:17), thus ensuring the whole counsel of God is proclaimed (Acts 20:27).
We believe that when the Bible is taught methodically and properly, good things happen: lives are changed, relationships are restored, marriages are strengthened, addictions are cured, ministries begin and souls are saved.
Verse By Verse Fellowship
551 E. Nakoma Drive | SAT 78216
Visit Verse By Verse Fellowship on Saturday nights at 5:30.