Press Release: June 29, 2023

Prayer Partners & the More Than Words Campaign

A message from our CEO, Rev. Dr. Rich Rudowske – 

Greetings from the International Offices of Luther Bible Translators. I’m excited to share our vision for the next season, which is critical for achieving our mission. As I begin serving as CEO, I think it’s important to stress two things.

  1. First, the global translation movement is poised to reach every language community by 2033.
  2. Second, we have reached this point due to bold leaders before us who move the mission forward faithfully each and every year.

So what’s ahead of us? 

Over 3,500 language communities lack access to the Bible and the language they understand best. We firmly believe that Scripture offers More Than Words. It brings light into the darkness of our lives. It brings hope, life, and transformation. In this next season, our organization must shift its attention to going wide, addressing the incredible need of millions who still do not have any part of God’s word.

To that end, the More Than Words campaign has now entered the public phase. During the silent phase of the campaign, nearly 70% of the financial goal has been met. The More Than Words campaign prioritizes three impact areas: capacity building, deepening scripture engagement, and driving translation forward.

We serve a God who is able to do far more than we can ask or imagine. To drive translation forward, to deepen engagement with Scripture, we must increase capacity. We must go wide with our efforts and radically broaden involvement in ministry through global coordination alongside ten fellow translation agencies.

I believe we can finish translation work in this generation. Our shared goal is that within ten years, 2033, most of the world’s population will have access to Scripture and be in position to support deeper engagement with God’s word. So, let’s ask and imagine together what would change in 10 years if every community around the world could deeply engage with God’s Word?

  • Imagine local leaders equipped for sustained impact, enabled to launch translation projects for their community and neighboring communities. 
  • Imagine communities with God’s word in their hands, drawn into Scripture, engaging deeply with the gospel message. 
  • Imagine the impact.

This could happen. Here’s what excites me about where we stand today.

God is bringing together the people and the resources to make this happen. We are seeing a near-perfect confluence of technology, data availability, and the right people to guide the mission forward. In addition to the faithful work already being done, God has already gone before us and prepared the way for innovation when it comes to capacity building.

Right now, leaders around the world are waiting to start translation projects; local leaders who know the language culture and have the ability to go into regions not always open to international partners.

Leaders like Pastor Oscar in Tanzania, whose diocese is ready to launch into multiple language communities as part of their vision and outreach strategy.

Leaders like Steven, a church leader in Papua New Guinea [who is] ready to launch Bible translation movements in the neighboring language communities so that they can know Jesus and have peace. 

Leaders like Tshwari in Botswana, who has hard-earned experience in translating the New Testament in her own language and is ready to help the church in neighboring language communities.

What are they waiting for?

Capacity has yet to catch up with the demand.

Capacity building can happen in several ways.

  • Training for these local leaders
  • New partnerships
  • Global coordination of translation agencies
  • Infrastructure investments: new buildings, new technology and software.

Our wide focus leans into the ministry approach of translation advisors, positioned to oversee several regional projects. Advisors, as a group, can equip hundreds of local leaders to launch and complete translation projects. And, here’s how we’re doing so far through the More Than Words campaign. We set out to double the number of languages we’re working in from 72 to 144.

Over five years, we’ve made significant progress, with over 130 languages underway in less than three [years]. This pace is astounding as more people step up in support of translation and share the ministry with new people – the pace can accelerate. Please pray for wisdom as we endeavor to scale to new capacities made possible through your support.

What’s next for your involvement?

Today, I’m asking you to become an official prayer partner with Lutheran Bible translators. I believe prayer will be tantamount to accomplishing the work God has for us to do. In the coming months and years, prayer is crucial for the acceleration of the translation movement, expansion of capacity, and deepened engagement in Scripture.

Our goal is to see everyone have access to the Bible, and we want that to be accomplished in this generation. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to this mission, to sharing God’s Word. Scripture offers so much more than words. It brings life, hope, and transformation. Together, let’s ensure that the world’s population has access to the Bible, and let’s make a significant impact in this generation. 

Thank you.

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