Strategic Planning

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Construire des ponts à travers l’interaction avec la Bible et le discipolat
Author: Bettina Gottschlich-Modibale

"Bible translation and Scripture engagement play a role in liberating a people to understand their value, role, and destiny according to the Word of God and to embrace it to glorify God, to transform nations and make disciples."

In this article, written in French, Bettina Gottschlich-Modibale describes an unexpected voyage of discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking to build bridges between the translation of the Bible and everyday life.

Seeing that there was often a disconnect between Bible translation in local languages and people's lives, she describes how Scripture engagement and discipleship are bridging the gap. Four initiatives are presented:

(1) The Transformation Series, BELT, of Youth With A Mission
(2) A discipleship guide: "May Your Kingdom Come"
(3) God's Story - Our Story
(4) Planning Bible translation programmes together with churches.  [more...]

Author: Michelle Petersen (2020)

"By using Participatory Methods, my students have seen all eight conditions for Scripture engagement strengthened, and Kingdom Goals met, working with various communities around the world. Both literate and oral-preference communicators have become more actively involved in creating with and learning from their local language Scripture."

This paper outlines the application of participatory methods to the “Eight Conditions for Scripture Engagement.”

Using the new “Appreciative Inquiry for Scripture Engagement” facilitation tool, translation teams and local leaders explore existing strengths and future hopes for each condition. Together, they prioritize their goals, and make an action plan to achieve them. The eight conditions provide an analytic framework for participants to evaluate strengths and overcome obstacles to their community’s interaction with Scripture.

Following appreciative inquiry, the new “Use of Our Arts in Ministry” tool allows teams to expand Scripture use to further artistic domains in ways that strengthen each weak condition. Participatory methods facilitation leads a team to engage their community with their translation in life-changing ways. Script outlines in appendices 1 and 2 explain how to use the two participatory methods discussed.  [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...]
Evaluating the conditions for Scripture Engagement
Author: David Gray (2019)

This questionnaire takes you through each of Wayne Dye's Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement, asking questions to help you evaluate a particular context.

It is available to download as Word documents in both English and French.

The process of filling in the questionnaire will help Bible translation teams, local organisations and Scripture Engagement specialists to identify the areas on which to concentrate in order to facilitate the use of the Scriptures.  [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...]