My daughter has been prodding me to learn to draw and paint, and she’s invested time to coach me.
Am I improving?
It’s not just my hobbies where I practice and improve. When people learn about what I do, it isn’t that unusual for them to ask, “What do you like about working with Lutheran Bible Translators?” Well, one thing I really appreciate is the widespread desire to improve skills and do things well. Some people call it “best practices”. Others use the term “professionalism”. I just think of it as the balance between getting the job done well, and getting it done in a cost effective way.
Doing it right
It makes sense that we have a high standard for professionalism. We are, after all, translating the Word of God. We want to get it right.
Take Rev. Michael Megahan for example. He’s working on Old Testament translation in Botswana, and while doing that he recently completed extensive research on the concept of “joy” in the Old Testament. In fact, that study led to a second doctorate degree for him!
Or I think of Paul Federwitz who did graduate studies in information technology so he could help people apply computer technology to Bible translation. Paul went on to help a Ghanaian led organization, the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), build up a strong local staff that now manages and upgrades their own IT systems without the need for a foreign IT expert.
Our common desire
It makes me smile to see that this desire to do a good job isn’t isolated to translation or the mission field. It is reflected in how my colleagues here at the LBT service center treat partners, the way we choose our next software tool, the way my team examines our communications systems.
As for me, about six years ago I gained certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources so I could do my job better. Last year I shifted duties and have taken on more responsibility for communications and fundraising work, so I recently attended a conference for fundraising professionals. (I must admit, I was a little confused when I heard that the Lutheran fundraising conference was going to be held at a casino in Reno! But the place did have surprisingly good conference facilities.)
Not everything is perfect – no way. But we have great changes happening at LBT – changes based on quality thinking that are leading to better communication, better participation, and better service.