Strategic Planning

Publish early, publish small, publish often
Author: Eric Graham

"Prepare little, fill often, and expect users to engage with the content in small quantities (hopefully on frequent occasions) is the paradigm of the digital wineskin. The mode of operation for a Scripture translation project to consider becomes: Publish early, publish little and publish often – in various media formats, and for a range of digital delivery platforms."

This paper reviews features of digital publishing and associated technology that are transforming approaches to Scripture translation and publication in minority languages. Understanding and harnessing the potential of micro-content, the small units of material that make up digital media products, are key themes. The paper recommends that digital publication starts at an early stage in a translation project, making small units of Scripture available to the language community in audio and text formats as soon as each is completed and checked. It promotes the idea of incrementally publishing small units in various media formats. By gaining the attention of the audience with the small unit, there is potential for spiritual awakening that leads to an appetite for the big.  [more...]

Author: Bill Mitchell
Published by: Edinburgh 2010 Conference

"In UBS thinking Scripture Engagement is a concept that emphasises making the Bible discoverable, accessible and relevant, that includes both making the Bible recoverable and discoverable as Sacred Scripture, and making Scriptures accessible as a place of life enhancing and life transforming encounter."

Bill Mitchell describes some of the challenges faced by United Bible Societies in the twenty-first century.

Globalisation and new technology challenge churches and Bible Societies "to intentionally engage the new culture, to express the faith in new media forms. Making the Word of God accessible on the Internet, as opposed to making it possible to access the standard text of the Bible via the Internet, requires understanding and use of a new 'media language'."

Bible Society strategies have needed to change around the world, moving from "dealing with Bible needs to developing mission strategies", moving from "distribution targets to engagement and encounter, from biblical illiteracy to transformational change, and from sales strategies to shared communication."

The article concludes with five examples of Scripture engagement from Latin America and the UK, to "illustrate the creative implementation and localisation of global mission strategies".

This paper was presented at the Edinburgh 2010 Conference, celebrating 100 years since the landmark Edinburgh 1910 world missionary conference.  [more...]

Reducing the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement
Author: Richard Margetts

"If the food is ready and the people are hungry,
don’t put it in the freezer and tell them to come back later."

The title of this article sprang from a discussion we had during a training course for Scripture Engagement practitioners in Yaoundé, Cameroon. From their experience of working with Bible translation teams across francophone Africa, the participants knew that it could take a very long time before completed portions (such as individual Bible books) got from the translator’s desk and into the hands of the people. The ‘food’ would be ‘put in the freezer’ waiting for the day when it would finally be served to those hungry to receive it.

So why does this happen? If the people are hungry for God’s Word in their own language, why would a translation team take this spiritual food and store it away in the freezer for another day? What is causing the delay? Isn’t there something we can do to reduce the time from translation desk to Scripture engagement?  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

What kinds of resources and activities would be good for promoting Scripture Engagement in language communities around the world? This checklist was put together at a seminar in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2011.

I hope it will be useful as you work on planning and strategy issues in Scripture Engagement. Most communities would not expect to have all the items listed here but it is likely that they should be working on some in each category, with the aim of seeing people engage with God’s Word in their local language and culture.

The checklist includes 19 categories of activities and resources.  [more...]

Huit conditions pour l’utilisation des Écritures
Author: Wayne Dye

This is a 7-page summary in French of Wayne Dye's "Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement". The awareness of the contribution of each of these eight factors can help in developing strategies to promote the use of God's Word.

For a more in-depth discussion of the Eight Conditions (in English), see the author's article in the IJFM journal.  [more...]

Social and Cultural Factors Necessary for Vernacular Bible Translation to Achieve Maximum Effect
Author: T. Wayne Dye
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (26.2 Summer 2009)

The listing of these Eight Conditions or eight categories of factors used as a tool for evaluation can prevent surprises and help the church, missionaries, and Bible translators alike to focus on those activities that are likely to have maximum impact. It’s the great longing of my heart that the people groups of the world will not only have the Scriptures in their heart language, but that the Scriptures will have greatest spiritual effect.

Wayne Dye presents eight conditions affecting the use or non-use of the translated Scriptures:

  1. Appropriate Language, Dialect and Orthography
  2. Appropriate Translation
  3. Accessible Forms of Scripture
  4. Background Knowledge of the Hearer
  5. Availability
  6. Spiritual Hunger of Community Members
  7. Freedom to Commit to Christian Faith
  8. Partnership Between Translators and Other Stakeholders
  [more...]
Thoughts on the relationship between the financing of translation projects and the use of the scriptures in Burkina Faso
Author: Ed Lauber

We need to enlarge our thinking about the contribution of the church to the translation effort. Casting that contribution principally in terms of cash contributions to the translators’ salaries limits options and may even have a negative impact on the use of the translation. Adopting a more complex partnership approach to finances will result in better partnership and may, therefore, positively affect the use of the Scriptures.

Ed Lauber explores the relationship between funding of translation projects and the use of the Scriptures in Burkina Faso. He believes there is often a link, albeit sometimes weak. Where the link is strong, it is often complex and related to other factors.  [more...]

An integrated strategy for the total team
Author: Rick Brown

In the total team, the various agencies exercise complementary roles, as the Lord uses them to build up His local church.

A common strategy that is emerging to advance the Kingdom of God is culturally appropriate church planting movements. Rick Brown describes how different strategies have been used through missionary history (e.g. literature production, personal evangelism, church planting), but that these fail to reach full effectiveness if carried out in isolation. Now Great Commission organizations are working more towards a shared vision, a unified strategy. Using a farming analogy, he outlines key roles in the process of fostering church planting movements among unevangelized people groups. He goes on to summarize the benefits and obstacles to forming effective partnerships and lists core values held by many Great Commission agencies.  [more...]