Three weeks ago I stood at my mother’s graveside. During the few days between her death and her memorial service I searched my memory for ways to understand life from her perspective. For the first time in my life I realized that she was just 8 years old when World War II began. She was 14 when World War II ended. She graduated from high school in 1950, the year the Korean War began. The next year the U.S. began requiring men between 18-26 years of age to register for military service. My parents married in the midst of that war.
“There is little doubt that the Bible is the worlds best-selling and most widely distributed book.” (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/)
I don’t know when I first heard this statement. I assume it was decades ago. Until recently I would have found it to be quite encouraging. But now, not so much.
The business of selling Bibles tragically keeps God’s Word out of reach for hundreds of millions of people.
How in the world is that possible? Here’s how.
“We give everything away,” could be our slogan. It’s been a hallmark of Wycliffe Associates for forty nine years.
You might think that this is required for nonprofit organizations, but it’s not. Many nonprofit ministries give a portion away, but also charge for some goods and services for a variety of reasons. We choose not to charge. We choose to give. Over the years we’ve given away hundreds of buildings, properties, equipment and assets to partners advancing Bible translation worldwide. None of these appear on our balance sheet. Wycliffe Associates volunteers also give away, hundreds of thousands of hours of service every year.
Innovation. It simply means to do something new. You know, in a way that is different than other ways. Innovation is not essentially a criticism of other ways. It is merely another way. But it is, by definition, unconventional. Innovation defies convention, and that very defiance is a threat to the status quo.
Pressures to conform to the crowd surround us. Crowd behavior is synonymous with popularity. Outstanding choices stand out, often uncomfortably for everyone involved. Innovation is always unpopular - at first.