Stacey and I are Bible translators for an organization called World Team. We have worked with World Team since 2012 and are extremely happy with our decision. So, here are four reasons why we chose World Team (and we have not been disappointed):
1. Church Planting and Bible Translation
If you have read our other FAQ: Why are you not with Wycliffe or the IMB? you have learned that with Wycliffe we were told we would not be involved in church planting and with the IMB we were told we would not be involved in Bible translation. Because our heart was to engage both of these tasks we sought out a missions agency that promoted both. World Team is a church planting organization, but they understand that to plant reproducing churches the people need access to God’s Word. Therefore, Stacey and I are here as church planters, but our main task in church planting is Bible translation. We have found there to be a great balance with World Team that we have not found elsewhere. World Team also sends out medical professionals, agricultural specialists, teachers, seminary professors, and many others to do various jobs that further the task of church planting.
2. Theology Matters
In courting another missions agency a recruiter told me “You cannot teach Africans systematic theology.” In another conversation, we were told that missionaries with that organization have the freedom to have a wide variety of beliefs in regards to: the exclusivity of Christ, contextualization, and open theism (to name a few issues). The overall message that we received from this organization was: theology does not matter. We could not disagree more. Now, this does not mean that we can only work with people who are 100% theologically the same as us (I have never met such a person). But, it does mean that we believe that theology does matter. For instance, with this same organization we came across an aspiring translator that did not believe that the Old Testament was historical. Do you think that might affect the way that she translates the Bible? In some languages they have a tag that they put at the beginning of fairy tales (“Once upon a time”-like thing). What if we were on a translation project with a translator that wanted to put this on the story of Adam and Eve? The truth is that everyone has theology, a way of looking at God and his word, and when it is left unexamined it usually just means it is bad theology.
We were so thankful when we found World Team because we found an agency that also believes that theology is important. World Team does allow for some variety of theology, and even on our field we have significant theological differences. But what we have found is that dialogue about these differences is encouraged. And when someone’s theology is found to be errant, it is dealt with instead of ignored. Theology has led to missionaries being sent home by World Team. You might think that would be intimidating for us, but we find it encouraging. We invite accountability, not only because we are sinners that need it, but because we want those we are working with to be held accountable as well. We have been delighted to find that World Team offers that kind of accountability.
3. Support Structure
I am very happy with the amount of support we get from the home office (Warrington, PA). Much of the financial paperwork is taken care of for us, so that we can spend more time doing direct ministry. They also help us in recruiting, logistics (visas, tutor training, etc.), support raising, and vetting missionary applicants. I cannot imagine trying to do all of these things for ourselves. World Team has been a huge blessing to us personally and to our ministry. For those interested in specifics, 14.5% of the funds that are raised are used for the Home Office. I have found this amount to be about average for missions agencies, and I think it is worth every dime.
4. Decision Making
In researching missions agencies we found that a complaint from some missionaries was that their agency was too “top-down.” That is to say that decisions were made by leaders that were not directly implicated in the ministry. This has not been our experience with World Team. As I said above, we do have accountability with World Team, and we want it. But when we go to our direct leadership regarding making decisions, they are missionaries here with us in Cameroon. Our team (right now it is just Stacey and me) make decisions together and are approved by others who are with us on the field. I cannot think of a better way of doing things.
If you are interested in finding out more about World Team, visit our website at: http://www.us.worldteam.org.
For those interested in pursuing World Team as a sending agency, fill out the form here: http://www.us.worldteam.org/get-started.