How teamwork makes the dream work in Bible translation

By November 15, 2022

International (MNN) — There’s much to be said about collaboration in the workplace. A 2018 business study found that when employees work as a team, 73 percent do better work, and 60 percent are more innovative.

The same principles apply to Bible translation. When everyone works together, more gets done. Andy Keener sees this firsthand as the Executive Vice President for Partnerships at Wycliffe USA.

“I get the privilege of working with churches and Bible agencies worldwide to help identify Bible translation needs, develop projects with local leaders and churches, and provide funding and monitoring,” Keener says.

Bible translation used to be done by the West for the rest. Now, the workforce and process are shifting. More about Bible translation trends here.

The Kaninuwa of Papua New Guinea see Bible translation as a primary way to shape, equip and revive the next generation.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Wycliffe USA)

“Over the last generation, the center of gravity of the Church has been moving south and east from traditional Europe and North America,” Keener says.

“It’s not that there are fewer Christians in North America and Europe. It’s just that the growth of the Church in South America, Africa, and Asia has been so phenomenal.”

Western organizations like Wycliffe USA still have an essential role to play. It’s just different from before.

“More Bible translation workers [come] from these local communities. These [local church] leaders are saying, ‘this (Bible translation) is the responsibility of the church,’” Keener says.

“But [they realize] it’s a very technical thing to deal with the Word of God and Bible translation. So, through a variety of networks, we connect with them; we say, ‘how can we support you?’ it’s really about meeting them where they are; bringing the tools, resources, and networks that we have; and connecting with needs on the ground.”

The Great Commission workforce may be shifting, but that doesn’t mean believers in the West get a free pass. Find your place in the story here.

“One of the things you can do immediately is to pray. Sign up for a monthly PDF file you can get through email; that will share specific prayer requests from communities around the world doing Bible translation,” Keener says.

You can also “find ways to give towards projects around the world,” he adds.



Header and story images courtesy of Wycliffe USA.

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