Sending, Serving, Reaching: Pioneer Bible Translators

By Jennifer Taylor

Pioneer Bible Translators
(Founded 1976)
7255 West Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, TX 75236
www.pioneerbible.org
Greg Pruett, President

Pioneer Bible Translators does not exist just to translate the Bible. Instead, its mission is “discipling the Bible-less,” a holistic approach that includes working with native people groups, developing literacy, investing in the community, and planting churches.

A missionary with Pioneer Bible Translators shares Scripture in West Africa.

“The end goal is not just translated Scripture, but churches using Scripture,” says President Greg Pruett. “We consider a project completed only when we have helped to create networks of growing believers and multiplying churches.”

The ministry began with a vision to combine the genius of Cameron Townsend (founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators) with that of Donald McGavran (a leader in the church growth movement). Today more than 300 team members live out these ideas in Asia, Africa, the South Pacific, and other areas.

The organization’s leaders are also discovering gaps in the availability of Scripture and developing “pioneering” strategies to meet these needs.

“About 900 minority languages have no written Scripture and very few churches,” Pruett says. “International church planters often work in gateway cities and urban centers with more common languages, and translation ministries often want to empower local churches to complete the work themselves. These are both great strategies—but who will reach the rural areas or the places without established churches?”

To meet these needs, PBT is developing multidisciplinary teams with elements of translation, literacy, church planting, and community development. Incarnational ministry is a core value for the ministry, and these teams will focus not only on developing translations but also developing relationships with the local people.

Pioneer Bible also offers the Pioneer Mission Institute, a weeklong intensive event to help people encounter God, learn more about what he’s doing in the world, and discover how they might be able to partner with PBT. As interest has grown, PBT has developed similar regional events. College campuses host these “Discovery Intensive Seminars” where students and others can learn about Bible translation theory, spiritual warfare, and many other aspects of serving as a Pioneer Bible team member. The ministry offers two monthlong internships and recruits short-term workers for terms of six months to two years.

Although the ministry is planning for the future, Pruett says unified prayer is the key.

“We have seen miraculous growth and a great movement of the Holy Spirit since we increased our commitment to prayer,” he says. “We focus on praying the prayers Jesus promised he would answer—prayers that are consistent with his character and plan of salvation for the world. Prayer is the fuel for anything that happens at Pioneer Bible Translators.”

Jennifer Taylor, one of CHRISTIAN STANDARD’s contributing editors, lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Read her blog at www.seejenwrite.com.

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