Perseverance Powered by Grace

Time Posted on March 03, 2011 User Andy

We are going to take a short break from our usual good cheer to draw your attention to a sobering observation after two years of involvement with Memverse: it is not easy to maintain the discipline of bible memorization.

Some facts:

  • 75% of people who sign up on Memverse do not make it to the end of the first month.
  • Another 25% of those who remain have dropped out by the end of the second month.
  • Each month thereafter, another 10-12% of people do not keep up their memorizing. 
  • Even after a year of memorizing, the churn rate is still roughly 10% each month.

Of the ~400 people who signed up for Memverse in January 2011, there were less than 70 still active by the end of February. By the end of the year, there will likely be less than 30 of the original group of 400.

So why are we still optimistic? These numbers are not quite as dire as they seem at first blush and, in fact, are typical of free services which are easily tried and just as easily abandoned. We also realize that many of the 400 people who signed up in January never added their first verse. Over the next year, we are planning to make the 'first five minute' experience more engaging and less confusing. (If you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you, especially those of you who recently signed up and can still remember what it was like.)

One factor that surprised us: while we feel as though we've made fairly significant improvements over the past two years, the numbers are very consistent and predictable. Even once people have integrated Memverse into their daily lives, each month 10% of them just decide to stop using it. In my case, I've come to realize the danger of being "choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures" as I go on my way (Luke 8:14-15). Luke is correct, it requires perseverance to produce a crop.

Our conclusion: Memorizing God's word requires a mental commitment fully powered by the grace of the Spirit.

Find a friend to keep you accountable. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve. And pray. In all things. Continually.

We'll see you on March 1st, 2012 for our third birthday.

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Tag memorization, perseverance

13 responses to Perseverance Powered by Grace

Dakota Lynch

Wow. You're right: those statistics are very sobering and should remind all of us that, no matter how long we've been memorizing, none of us are exempt from falling into that 10%. Before memverse I had a very systematic (and complicated) method of memorizing Scripture that involved many many note cards, multiple containers to divide them up by how well I knew them, and a time-consuming review system. When I first joined memverse I did my best to do it both ways and maintain and updated collection of note cards, but I have long since abandoned them and rely on memverse entirely for my Scripture memorization. If it were not for this site, I have no doubt that I would have far fewer verses memorized if I was still memorizing at all.

Anyway, I love your suggestion to memorize with a friend. Knowing that you would be letting someone else down if you quit does wonders for your own personal commitment. I used to have a Scripture memory group with a couple of my cousins, but we unfortunately let it dwindle into nothing. I should probably see about getting another one together with my friends/family. Do any of you guys want to join me? Send me an e-mail at and let me know what you think.

Josiah DeGraaf

Those are sobering statistics; it is very reminiscent of the parable that Jesus told about the sower who sowed seed; some fell in rocky, thorny, or bare ground and sprouted for a time but soon dwindled to nothing; but the grain that fell on good soil produced ten and fifty and a hundred fold. May we be among those producing one hundred fold from what has been given us!

I also like the suggestion of memorizing with a friend to help to keep both of us accountable... I have a friend in mind (also a member of memverse)... Anyways, thanks for this post and the statistics!

Talia "StoryMaker"

Thank you for this post. It was a great reminder!

I also want to capitalize on something you said...Over the next year, we are planning to make the 'first five minute' experience more engaging and less confusing. Though I love MemVerse, I will admit that it can be slightly confusing at the start. I would love it if MemVerse just totally spelled things out for new users; like, when they first join, taking them straight to a descriptive, concise, and helpful tutorial which tells them everything they need to know to start.

I recently was trying to write an article on MemVerse for my homeschool co-op's newspaper; however, I realized that a fair portion of it was spent on telling you HOW to do MemVerse as opposed to WHY you should do MemVerse. I think that, the less confuisng and more engaging MemVerse becomes, the more people will join AND stick to it.

Again, MemVerse is a great site! But more people would enjoy it for a longer amount of time if it was slicker, more engaging, and more obvious.

Dakota Lynch

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Your conclusion is correct. Even the best first 5 minute experience will not keep some people hooked, because, unlike Facebook, memverse is ultimately about elevating God rather than self in one's life. Anyway, that aside, I do agree an easier first 5 minutes would assist people in continuing to use your site. (I'm pretty internet saavy, but I'm also fast paced and had my husband not showed me how to navigate, I might have just stuck with index cards on my refrigerator. Now that I'm using this though, I much prefer it!) Ideas for the 1st 5 minutes - a step by step list that is short and to the point. People love step by steps and lists that feed them the answers or show them exactly what to do. But, they don't want to spend a lot of time figuring it out. I'm a high school teacher and often say things like "first, do x. 2nd do y. 3rd do z." end of story. Instructions longer than that and you'll lose them. I think that concept exponentially magnifies on the internet. (think about how simple the first 5 minutes are on google and facebook...)

i.e. 1st, enter your name and email. 2nd, choose 10 of our most popular verses you want to memorize or choose your own (the "choose your own" part could have a link that opens in a separate window so they don't loose the step by step list). 3rd start memorizing. (again, another link that opens into a window and goes straight to the memory practice where they show you the first letter from every word.) Once they start, they'll figure out the rest (you could even have a separate page at the top that says something along the lines of "detailed tutorial" or something.) In general, I think if the only option for starting something is a tutorial, however, people will run the other way :)

sorry so lengthy - hope it helps!

River La Belle

I like the step-by-step idea very much.…


Yes, you are all right. Like of the 1,601 Bible Bee-ers, less then 100 are still active, upon my last observation. At least I am still here, rank #41!! ;)

Josiah DeGraaf

lol Zach; actually the 1601 Bible Bee-ers is a mess up in the system, according to Andy on the Get Satisfaction site... there really isn't supposed to be 1,601 Bible Bee-ers (although that would be awesome if there actually were!)

I also like the step-by-step idea.

Constance Keating

I think the video tutorial will make it a TON easier for newbies. It took me about 3 weeks to figure out everything Dakota said in that video!

Also, I know it's not about the looks, but it probably wouldn't hurt to change some things around (Generic font at the top of the page, beige colors, etc.)

Josiah DeGraaf

I think that Andy has said before that he is working to make a new design for the website, but we probably won't see it for a while.


Hmm...Then I'm royally confused! ;)

Donald S.

We're going in the right direction though! ;)
If it is any encouragement, the same is true for small businesses: 50% don't last the first year, then another 50% don't last the next five years etc. The test is for faithfulness and I agree that God's grace is what keeps the few, the humble, the faithful on track. I also agree that streamlining things for newcomers would work.
One reason I can use MemVerse regularly is because it fits in with my objective of memorizing a book, a few verses at a time every week, no matter what. Having the most popular verses available might be good but you also want people to see their own goal being reached: memorizing a chapter, a favorite book, or a large number of verses related to one topic of particular interest.
Our younger friends might be less goal-oriented but that doesn't mean it's to soon for them to learn too, if there is some way we can help them on that.
Way to go team!


I remember first signing up for Memverse and when I first logged in, I had no clue what to do next. Some of the things didn't make sense to me. I just had to look around for a while. It took me a while, but I am so glad that I figured it out. I <3 Memverse!!!!!! I think it will really help me with the Bible Bee this summer!