Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT), now in Aurora, Ill., some 40 miles southwest of Chicago, plans to relocate to Concordia, Mo., by September.
The new LBT service center will be located on the campus of Saint Paul Lutheran High School, a coed, residential high school in Concordia, which is about 60 miles east of Kansas City, Mo.
The relocation decision was made after extensive collaboration with partners and executive staff, and was affirmed by the LBT board of directors, according to LBT Executive Director Dr. Mike Rodewald.
Rodewald said he’s excited about the new partnership with Saint Paul, and expects “low operational costs through shared facilities and great support from a surrounding community passionate about reaching the ends of the earth with God’s Word in the languages in which they can hear it.”
Virginia Von Seggern, chairwoman of the LBT board and a former president of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, said LBT’s service center, “the heart” of the worldwide organization, can “be located anywhere in this day and age of global communications — and LBT’s is on the move.”
Both LBT and Saint Paul are independent Lutheran, Christian entities serving the international Lutheran community as LCMS Recognized Service Organizations.
Set on a former college campus, the high school serves students and families from Argentina, China, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Liberia Madagascar, Nicaragua, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as the United States.
LBT’s current 85 programs of language development along with Scripture translation and “engagement” programs involve more than 50 language groups in 15 countries.
Incorporated in 1964, LBT was originally based in Orange, Calif., before moving to Aurora. Both have been great homes for LBT in support of its missionaries over the past 50 years, according to Rodewald.
“The support and fellowship our missionaries have had from staff and community in our service-center locations has been humbling,” he said. “The result has been 40 New Testaments and four complete Bibles dedicated — with an impact-audience of almost 8 million people who would never have the chance to hear God’s Word and come to faith in any other way.”
While “translation and Scripture-engagement needs remain, the paradigm of foreign mission is changing more quickly than at any time in the past and presents new challenges for implementation,” Rodewald said. Nevertheless, he added, Lutheran Bible Translators “looks forward to the next 50 years of LBT missionaries and mission partners carrying the Gospel to others in their own languages.”
Posted May 14, 2015