When we tell people that Dave is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and that we are Bible translators, they automatically assume that we are either with the Southern Baptist organization, IMB, or the largest Bible translation organisation, Wycliffe. But when we tell them that we are with an agency called World Team we often get asked "Why aren't you with Wycliffe or IMB?" So here are our brief responses:
1. Why are you not with Wycliffe?
This is a good one. I mean, Wycliffe is the major organization doing Bible Translation in the world. And as such, they were one of the first organizations we thought of. One big hurtle with them however, is that they are not involved in church planting at all. We sent an email to one of their recruiters and their response to the question of church planting was that Wycliffe members "do not serve as clergy overseas and do not perform marriages, baptisms, and other such rights." Further, after reading what we are hoping to do in missions (i.e. Bible Translation + Church Planting) the recruiter said that he thought we might fit better with a different organization. Sort of a, "it's not you it's me" moment. We took the hint and set off to find an organization that fit our desires better.
2. Why are you not with IMB?
This is another great question. Stacey and I are indeed graduates of THE Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Further, we are members at a Southern Baptist Church (Immanuel Baptist Church). However, this one is fairly easy...the IMB does not formally do Bible Translation. Yes, there are some exceptions, well one that I know of. But this is not an emphasis of the IMB and it does not look to become an emphasis for quite a while. So if we were to pursue the IMB we would be pursuing it without promise that we would be doing Bible Translation, something we long for and have prepared for. It seemed extremely wise to us to go with an organization that has been doing Bible Translation for years and could provide us with needed oversight.
In sum, we desire to do BOTH Bible translation and church planting and with both of the above organizations, we felt like we had to choose between the two. We are thankful that with our agency, World Team, we have the freedom to be involved in both.